There haven’t been many unfinished meals in my life. Exactly twenty years ago tonight there was one I’ll never forget.
As I was still a little nervous about Becky backing out of our date I was sure to check in part way through the week to make sure we were still on. All systems were go so I headed down to La Crosse right after work in Minneapolis on Friday.
As luck would have it I took the slow way there via Hwy 61 which put my arrival a little later than expected. I’m pretty sure the Big Dude Upstairs may have been questioning this date as well as my parents’ 1979 Chevy pick up was stopped in its tracks with a flat tire. The old truck didn’t have the best of jacks and I was only armed with a pager (📟) as this was the dark period before cellphones. Even my eternally optimistic spirit was starting to feel the crushing weight of reality squish my dream.
I must’ve been quite the pitiful sight as I was cranking away on the jack and seeing the truck raise only millimeters every few seconds. The Big Dude Upstairs pretty much had two options as near as I can tell. Throw me a lifeline or put me out of my misery via a distracted driver (most likely changing out cds as there were no cell phones to look at 😉).
Mercy was the option and my lifeline came in the form of a super nice middle aged dude who had an industrial car jack in the trunk of his four door car. The working jack made short work of the tire change and I was back on the road. Thank you so much Random Good Samaritan Dude!!!
For safety’s sake Becky had a couple of friends and one of their boyfriends waiting at her apartment for me. By the time I was able to call her from a pay phone at the Kwik Trip in Lake City they’d already gone or left shortly thereafter. I’m pretty sure it’s because they knew I was obviously good people. I mean c’mon, I’m the guy who pursued and wooed her for hours while she was drinking until I got her to say yes to a date using some supremely excellent pick up lines. For reals, they could trust me, I’m an Eagle Scout (yup, that was one of my lines!). Stand back ladies, I’m all Becky’s! 🤣
Once I finally arrived at Becky’s apartment well over an hour and a half late riding my rusty steed that was older than Becky I reeked of exhaust. Pretty sure there was another minor miracle performed in holding the rest of the truck together for that long drive!
We saddled up and headed out to the most glorious first date location we could think of, Chi-Chi’s. It was only a matter of minutes into the conversation that I realized she was even more awesome than I’d picked up on at the wedding. Our conversation was awesome and we both felt pretty nervous. My nervousness was most focused on making sure I didn’t screw this up. Hers? I’m not sure if she was feeling like an exit wasn’t close enough or if she was nervous about having to let me down after the quest I’d just been on to get there. Who knows, you’ll have to ask her yourself.
For reals, it was amazing. In just a few minutes it was like everything in the world faded away, it was just the two of us, and it was perfect. I wasn’t planning ahead or seeing a perfect future, I was focused on enjoying the perfect present we were sharing. It was amazing. Period.
By the time we left there was still about half a meal in my plate. I was so caught up in getting to know her and spending time with her that I couldn’t focus on eating if I would’ve tried.
Here we are, 20 years later, and I still remember that i fishies meal. More importantly, I still remember that wonderful feeling of everything being perfect in that moment.