Our cat, Trouble, spends much of his time solving mysteries, but he also helps move along a romance or two. I wonder what Trouble would think of my first date with my husband, which happened on Valentine’s Day back in 1985. That was a long time ago and I think Trouble would have wanted to help my poor husband out, though he did manage to get me to marry him, so there is that.
I met Mike around Thanksgiving in 1984. We were both eighteen and just out of high school. Ah, young and stupid! His best friend was dating my best friend and Mike was madly in love with my best friend, so you know, we just kind of always ended up together. But we didn’t like each other much and were just friends.
Fast forward to late January, early February where I had a party, didn’t invite Mike, but he showed, with a pizza. For three weeks, he was like that pesky stray cat that just wouldn’t go away and eventually you’d have to take him in, LOL! So, on February 14, 1985, Mike and I were just hanging out, neither one of us had a date or anything to do, so he says: “go home and put on your best dress, I’m taking you out.”
Okay, I’m thinking fancy dinner, romantic…well, I live in Western, NY, so no romantic walks outside in the freezing cold, but something romantic, right? I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day!
At the time, Mike drove a 1966 Buick Special (the year we were born) and it looked like someone took a sledge hammer to it. It also didn’t hold more than five dollars worth of gas due to a hole in the tank. But the worst part was that when you stopped the car, the heat no longer worked and just pushed out freezing cold air.
Now, we’re young and who didn’t have a shit car back in the day, so no biggie. I’m all dressed up and he’s taking me to Oak Hill Country Club! Now, for those golfers out there, this is a top one hundred golf course and kind of a big deal since they have hosted the Ryder Cup, the PGA, the US Open, etc. We pull up to the main doors for valet parking. Oh, I’m like, wow, this is cool, until my date hands the guy his keys and says: “Park this some place good, the last time I was here all this shit happened.”
OMG? Did he really just say that. Oh, by the way, that is a quote from the movie Beverly Hills Cop.
We sit down and he proceeds to give me a lesson in what utensil to use when. Huh? Okay, so I honestly didn’t know. The guys I dated before took me to KFC or if they really wanted to splurge, Friendly’s, so this was all new to me. Dinner goes… okay. A little awkward for me, since I’d never set foot inside a country club before. I grew up on a lake where doing the Red Neck Yacht club was an actual thing. But we get though it and Mike says: “Let’s go to the movies.”
I’m all about movies and Mike knows that. We both loved to watch movies. It was one of the things we did when hanging out as friends. AND, I wouldn’t have to talk, since it was, so far, the weirdest date ever.
We get to the theater and he buys the tickets. OMG. THE KILLING FIELDS! ON VALENTINE’S DAY. Who takes a date to that movie?
And the entire time he’s trying to kiss me. Years later, his excuse for this movie, which is something he told my boys when they got to dating age: “Take a chick to a scary movie so they will hug you the entire time. Unless they are like your mother, then good luck ever getting them to neck in a movie theater.”
Mike dropped me off at home. I closed the door after a short kiss and said to my mother: “I’m never going out with him again.”
I went out with him the next night. I have no idea why. I can’t explain it. It makes no sense, but on December 12, 1987, Mike finally got it right. He calls me at work and says let’s go see Dirty Dancing tonight. I knew the second that came out of his mouth, by morning I’d be engaged. And thankfully, he didn’t try to neck with me and we watched the movie. Still one of my all-time favorite movies. Mike still hates it, would rather go see the Killing Fields.
This August, we will be celebrating 30 years of marriage all because I took in a stray cat…I mean boy!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jen Talty is an award-winning author of Romantic Suspense. Dark Water hit #10 in Barnes and Noble and her books have been in the top 50 on Amazon. Jennifer grew up in Rochester, New York. She recently retired from being a full-time hockey mom as her children hung up their skates. She and her husband still live in Rochester while her children travel the globe. Jen was the co-founder of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer. For more information about Jen Talty please visit: jentalty.com.