This week’s spin cycle, brought to us by Sprite’s Keeper at www.spriteskeeper.com is about being thankful.
I have a little framed sign on my dresser, that a friend gave me many years ago. It says, “Let us be thankful, not only for what we have, but for what we have escaped.” Today is my anniversary. I’ve been married for eight years now to my wonderful husband, Jeff. We got married in 2000, the day after Thanksgiving. And I’m real thankful to have the life I have now, with him.
Before I met Jeff, I had been legally separated for four years. During that time, I was “looking for Mr. Right” and let me tell ya, when you’re a single woman, in your forties, the pickins are mighty slim, y’all. I had some real interestin’ “dates” during those years. I dated old men, weird men, rich men, poor men, bald men, fat men, thin men, alcoholics, cheapskates, stalkers, men with big feet, men with huge varicose veins, and, one summer, a whole slew of “Bobs”. Seriously, every man I dated that summer was named Bob.
The worst dates are the ones where you sit there in awkward silence the whole time. You know, you ask him questions, tryin’ to act all interested in his stupid car, or job, or dog and you get “yep” or “I dunno” or he stares at your boobs the whole time. One man I “dated”, a builder, took me for an agonizingly silent afternoon ride in his Corvette. I think he might have said ten words to me the whole time, y’all. We were supposed to do “whatever I wanted”. Well, it was between lunch time and dinnertime, so a meal was out of the question, I figured. So, I suggested we get an ice cream.
Now I LOVE ice cream. Ice cream parlors, or the Dairy Queen, or even little ice cream stands that you walk up to at the beach. Any decent fishin’ pier around here would have ice cream cones of some description. Well, guess where “Mr. Big Spender I Own a Corvette” took me? A gas station. Seriously, yall. A gas station. He asked me if I liked Klondike bars (using up five of the ten words he said all afternoon.) Well, yeah, I reckon, I said. So we drove around for a while, and he finally pulled up in front of a gas station. I really thought he was goin’ in to get some gas, but he came back out with a Klondike Bar.
Bein’ southern and all, I said thanks, but I wasn’t real drippy gracious about it. Shoot, I didn’t even get a dang coke to wash it down with. He said his wife had left him for a man she met on the internet and had run off to California to be with her new love. Well, geez, I wonder why in the Sam Hill she’d leave him?
Jeff and I met at work on his first day at Corning. I had a friend named Tom, who was assigned to train the group of new hires that started that day. Tom and I had spent many a night at work, sittin’ around in front of our machines, discussin’ our lives. Tom was always quite amused at all my “dating disaster” stories. He said I was too picky and I needed to quit “throwin’ every fish I caught back into the water.” Every time we had a few days off, he’d ask me if I was “goin’ fishin'”.
Tom marched the new hires through my work center that day. There were ten of ’em, all men, and I was shamelessly checking them out. Like I said, y’all, the pickins were slim, so a gal my age couldn’t afford to sit back and wait. I had to be pro-active. I noticed that one of them seemed a lot more confident than the rest. He had a look in his eye, and a certain jut to his jaw, that said “This is going to be a piece of cake!” All the other new hires had that scared, deer-in-the-headlights look that said, “What the hell? I’ve gotta learn how to do THIS?!”
Later that day, Tom came over to me and he announced, “I’ve got one on the hook for ya. All you’ve gotta do is reel him in!” Imagine how delighted I was to find out that the fish he had hooked for me was Jeff! But, I told Tom, there was no way that a man as attractive and confident looking as Jeff was, could possibly be single.
“Oh yes,” said Tom. “Trust me. He’s very single.” (Jeff had been filling Tom in on his own sad story. He had been through a nasty divorce in New York, and had just moved/escaped to North Carolina.)
“Well,” I sighed, “if he’s single, then I guarantee there’s something wrong with him.” To which Tom, who was gettin’ a lil exasperated with me, said, “Well, do you want to meet him or not?” (Of course I said OK, the pickens bein’ slim and all.)
The first words out of Jeff’s mouth, that he ever uttered to me, were so typical of him – sarcastic and Yankee. “So. Tom says you think somethings wrong with me.” (Thanks, Tom.)
Jeff wanted to take me out to dinner, but I wasn’t takin’ any chances of repeatin’ my mistake of spending a whole two hours of silence with someone new. So, I had developed a little escape route, in case I ever got in that situation again. I suggested we go out for just a drink, after work on Sunday night. I told him I’d take him to one of my favorite places, The Fish House, which has lovely out door seating with views of a Marina and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Our drink date went pretty well. We wound up orderin’ dinner and since we were sitting outside, the restaurant closed down and left us sitting there talking until around midnight. We talked and talked and I was so glad that he was, not only attractive, and funny, and self confident, but we had no moments of awkward silence.
The next day, Monday, was our day off. He said he wanted to take me to his favorite restaurant that night. We had a delicious meal and we were talking so much over our first drinks, that when the waiter came by to take our order, I told him to make a few more loops around the room and come back later, because we were not even close to bein’ ready to place an order. Afterwards, we went to Jeff’s mom’s house and sat on her front porch, eatin’ watermelon and spittin’ seeds over the railings.
On Tuesday night, we went back to work. Jeff stopped by the liquor store on his way, bought a $30 bottle of Chivas Scotch, and presented it to my friend, Tom.
“Tom,” he said, “this is to thank you for introducing me to Ginger.”
Tom, a little suprised, said,”Well, I just want to sit at the big table and have the biggest piece of cake at the wedding.”
To which Jeff replied, “I don’t know anybody down here, Tom, so you’ll just have to be my best man!”
Seven months later, on November 25, 2000, we were married in a little chapel and Tom was in our wedding. And I have spent the last eight years bein’ thankful every single day….not only for what I have….which is a wonderful, generous, funny, capable, smart, hardworking Yankee husband, who treats me like a queen and just happens to be my best friend….but also for what I have escaped.