True story coming. (I need to put this down while I can still remember it.)
Forty one years ago I was asked by a co-worker if I would go with her to a college basketball game. She had a reason for asking me, and the reason wasn't me. It seems she needed to get a message to a guy who had recently taken her out that she was "broadening her dating horizon", so to speak. People (mostly him) would see her with me at the game and get the point. More fish in the sea,or something like that.
So, really, I was being used. But I didn't mind.
We had met just a couple months earlier when I got a job in the shoe department at J.C. Penney. I knew who she was since she had been a cheerleader at the college. She didn't know I existed. But we became friends as we sold shoes.
She came by my home to pick me up (it was her invitation to go out). I'm certain I introduced her to my parents. Then I drove her VW bug out to Jefferson Forest High School where our small college without a gym (or campus) of our own played its home games. Sitting in the bleachers we chatted as we watched the game. I remember the lady sitting behind us complimenting her on her hair.
After the game I suggested we go and get some pizza. It was raining hard and we got so wet getting from the car to the restaurant that she used the hand dryer in the rest room to dry her hair. I remember "Take It To the Limit" playing on the restaurant juke box. This was in the days before "classic rock" was classic, mind you.
We ate, talked and she took me home. That date was 41 years ago January 26.
I'm not sure when, whether that night or soon after - maybe at work - I decided to ask her out for another date. And to my great pleasure she said yes. And the rest is, as they say, history. Almost ancient.
Interestingly, we never have commemorated that first "date" as many couples do, simply because neither of us knew the date. But, with the help of the internet you can figure out almost anything. So, last year I was curious...when was that?
I knew three facts: (1) There was a home basketball game; (2) It was in January; and (3) It rained. From there it was pretty simple. Find a home game in January, 1976 on a rainy night in Lynchburg, Virginia. Only one game qualified, and it was on January 26.
So, for the first time in 41 years we're going out for pizza to celebrate that first date. No basketball game, but we hope to catch our nephew's wrestling match.
I was just a decoy. But I wound up the winner, didn't I? I think so, too.