… and a Farmer, and a Pilot, and a Scuba Diver, and a fly fisherman, and a Conservationist, and a Ham Radio Operator, and an Athlete, and an Oceanographer, and a Wall Street Stock Trader, and a Sailor, and a Cowboy.
Yes, I’ve just described a few things that add up to my Miracle Man. Because it is our anniversary today, I just have to tell y’all the story of us.
Exactly 9 years and 2 weeks ago, Miracle Man and I had a blind date. It was a Friday night, and the first night of May. But, before I get into all the romantic details about our first date, I have to tell y’all how we got there.
It all happened because of my great friend of 25 years, Joan, who lives in Dallas. At the time I was living in the Los Angeles area; I’ll never forget the day she called and said, “I’m going to set you up on a date with this new friend of T’s (her brother-in-law). When are you going to be back in Dallas? He’s THE ONE, he LOVES dogs (she knew this would reel me in), and even T agrees the two of you need to meet.” So, of course I said, “if he’s so great why is he single?” She ignored that and went on to say: “T’s been ropin’ with this new guy, you just have to meet him, he’s got your name written ALL OVER HIM, and he’s real tall, I mean real, real tall." (Joan is 5 feet nothing when she sucks in her gut and holds her head up high, shoulders back and wears high heels; so everyone is real, real tall to her). She went on, “He’s a Texan, I know you’re going to think he’s not a Texan because he spent a long time on the East Coast and worked in New York, and went to school up there somewhere, too; I think T said it had something to do with the Navy or something, but now he’s livin’ in Dallas, and he’s just so glad to be back in Texas, because, you know - he's Texan, and he got tired of livin’ up there in all that cold weather with all those women that wear those pant suits and little inky dinky jewelry, my God, why don’t they get some style, you know, get in touch with their inner flair?” (Joan is from Dallas; so she is - you know, Dallas-y.) When I could finally get a word in, I asked her what he was doing in Dallas. She said, “he owns his own company, he transferred here with some Wall Street outfit, but now he’s ventured out on his own, you know, seen the light after being up there with all those people drivin’ those little bitty cars and honkin’ at each other all the time”.
Okay, I’m just going to have to stop here and get to the blind date story. Joan is a whole entire book with several sequels. So, I’ll skip straight to the blind date story and do my best to not get distracted with Joan’s sidebars.
Several weeks went by after Joan enlightened me of the guy who has my name written all over him. During this period in my career I was in Dallas quite a bit. I lived in the L.A. area, but my corporate office was just outside of Philadelphia. I was flying back in forth from L.A. to Philly a lot; the frequent time zone changes were wreaking havoc on my already sleep deprived life. It was draining to fly out of L.A. for Philly on Sunday to be at the corporate office for an 8:00 a.m. meeting Monday morning. The 3-hour time loss was brutal. So, I got to where I would fly to Dallas on Friday, stay the weekend with friends, and then fly to Philly Sunday evening out of Dallas. This allowed me to acclimate a bit better with the three time zones I would buzz through. Plus, the best part of all, I got to see my girlfriends and laugh all weekend in Dallas.
I actually went through Dallas a few more times before Miracle Man and I had that first date. Each time Joan would tell me I really needed to meet this guy. I just never saw the point in making the effort when I lived thousands of miles from Dallas. What was the point? Plus, whenever I was in Dallas, I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends. My time with them always felt so limited as it was, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend my Dallas weekend on another miserable blind date. I had sworn off blind dates after my 465th bad blind date about 6 months earlier. Oh, the stories I could write on blind dates!
After weeks of Joan driving me crazy about the guy with my name written all over him, I finally said, “okay, if he’s so great, tell him to call me and ask me out on a date like a normal person”. He called the next day.
I was so intrigued with his voice. It was deep and sexy, but also intellectually nerdy. A little bit Marlboro Man, a little bit chemistry high school teacher. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. Every day for a couple of weeks before I had my next trip to Dallas, we talked. How could I have so much to say to someone I’ve never met? It was weird.
Even though we seemed to really hit it off on the phone, I was very specific with him about how BUSY I would be while in Dallas the weekend we would have our first date. I had to have my out. After all, why would this date be any different from the other 465 bad blind dates? I was very specific that we could go out on Friday night, but I had plans for ALL DAY Saturday, and there was just NO WAY I would have any time available to see him the rest of the weekend...
He came to pick me up at Joan’s on Friday, May 1st, 1998, at 7:00 p.m. I was still upstairs when I heard the doorbell ring. Joan’s boys, who were two and three at the time, ran to the door. I could hear Joan say, “Well, Hiiii! Come on in”. About this time her 2 boys (whom I adore, by the way), immediately get down on all fours at his feet and start petting his size 13 boots! They’re touching, and patting, and talking to his ostrich boots like they’re long lost pets. Then Joan looks down at the boys petting the boots and says, “Oh, are they Lucchese? I just LOVE Lucchese! My husband has a pair of Lucchese’s and he looks SO HOT in his Lucchese’s, he’s so lucky I saved him and showed him the way, before he met me he didn’t even know that Lucchese existed, can you believe it, no idea!” At a complete loss on what to say, and standing very still because if he moved one inch he was going to step on a kid, my future Miracle Man politely answered, “yes, they’re Lucchese”.
The boys are still petting his boots when I come down the stairs. I’m wearing a pair of little black skinny pants, because at the time y’all, I could wear little black skinny pants, plus they were all the rage then, with a real cute dressy bomber jacket kind of thing, and real, real cute stiletto heels. I’m coming down the stairs, Miracle Man looks up at me, and he blushes y’all! You could see this red flush that started on the top of his head that slowly seeped down to his forehead, to his face, and down to his neck. Then he smiled at me. I melted. I fell in love right that very second.
The entire drive to the restaurant I was thinking to myself, “this is so weird, I’m in the car talking to the man I’m going to marry. I have finally found him. There really is a lid for every pot!”
As we pull up to the restaurant there are limos all over the place waiting for the valet. My first thought is, “wow, this must be the fanciest restaurant in Dallas!” Then I start seeing all these girls wearing gorgeous gowns stepping out of the limos. I’m beginning to get nervous, thinking I might be under-dressed for this establishment. Have I been in L.A. too long? Have I forgotten my Texas roots and how to do it up big, especially when I'm in Dallas where everything is BIG? I’m wearing a casual California guy gittin’ outfit, not a Dallas debutante do you know how much I paid for this outfit. As we get closer, we realize the occasion: It’s prom night! We had the most fun watching these kids and reminiscing and sharing stories about our own proms.
As we laughed and talked while having cocktails before dinner, I began realizing that this was the only night I was going to get to see him! I had boxed myself in with my firm stories about how busy I would be the rest of the weekend. I had no choice but to start backstroking: “Oh, did I tell you how disappointed I am about my plans for Saturday kind of falling apart? Gosh, I was so looking forward to my plans with my friends, but, well, it turns out that everything has been postponed. Looks like I’ll just be hanging out at Joan’s all day. Yep, all day… just sitting around”. He didn’t take the hook, so I continued, “Yeah, I guess Joan’s husband might have his boss in town, they might have to go out to dinner or something.” Miracle Man just listened, didn’t say a word, except, “I have a lot going on tomorrow”. Now I’m panicking. Is his “having a lot to do” sincere, or does he not like me, and dishing out the “oh, I’m just so busy” line to me? Is he going to ditch me? Am I already getting the dogbone? This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. I’m the only one that can use the “I’m just so busy” line. What am I going to do? Then he went on to tell me about a pool party he’s going to on Saturday. Pool party? What if he goes to this pool party with all these beautiful Dallas women and finds the Dallas Barbie of his dreams? Oh my gosh, he’s going to spend an entire day with girls in bikinis, Dallas girls in bikinis, what am I going to do? How in the world am I going to get myself out of this dilemma?
He let me squirm and backstroke all night long y’all! He never gave an inch! For a total of 3 hours we stayed in that restaurant having pre-dinner and after-dinner drinks. That whole time I was backstroking and he never backed down from his ‘pool party’ story. When we finally closed the place down and had no choice but to leave, we were waiting outside for the valet to bring up the car, and out of the blue he tilted his head down and gave me a kiss! Then he laughed and said with a grin on his face, “Why don’t we hook up for some lunch tomorrow?”
Now we begin our 9th year of marriage. In so many ways it seems like our wedding was just yesterday, but in other ways, it’s hard for me to remember what my life was like without him. This, I know for sure: Nine years ago, I would have never in a million years thought we would be living on a lavender farm. So much has happened. We both moved, Jack from Dallas, and me from California. Jack started a business in San Antonio, we built a house, sold it, closed a business, bought a farm in the Hill Country, had a health crisis, started construction on another house, figured out (actually we’re still figuring out) how to farm lavender and distill essential oil, developed a bath and body line, and had many, many bumps in the road, but here we are, living right down the road from the LBJ Ranch and Lady Bird’s home. Something I dreamed and wished for 25 years earlier. Again, another story. (you can read about it here.)
Here’s to my Miracle Man, and all our wonderful memories, and the many more to come. He makes me laugh, spoils me rotten, puts up with all my quirks, loves animals, and likes how I look with no makeup! This is true love y’all!