I didn’t date much before I met Tommy. I had better things to do with my time. I didn’t know the concept of “dating to marry” but that’s pretty much how I approached my dating life. I wanted to be married and if the guy wasn’t someone I would marry then I didn’t go out with him. There were a few bozo exceptions but we won’t talk about them.
I could approach this post from various angles but I thought I’d share with you five of my most memorable dates. Let’s go… I’m sure our kids are going to love this. Haha!
First Real Date With Tommy
Tommy and I spent a lot of time together before we dated. Hanging out at my parent’s house, going to the Western clothing store to shop for his favorite Wrangler 13mwz Cowboy Cut 32×34 jeans. They used to be all he wore. With his cowboy boots. I’m not kidding when I say, ALL he wore. He wore shirts, of course, usually t-shirts, but no other kinds of pants and no other kinds of shoes. In fact, while we were dating, we went together to buy him a brand new pair of 13mwz’s for my sister’s wedding. Anyway, we hung out a lot before we went on our first date so we knew each other pretty well. I tell you this to make sure you know I’m not a sleazeball when I tell you we kissed on our first date.
Now about that date… We went to a movie in our little hometown. Of course, I don’t remember the movie, remember I said we were kissing??? I do remember that we were the only ones in the theater. Anyway, I was SO incredibly nervous to be on a real date with a guy that I thought I might be marriage material that I didn’t want to embarrass myself by having to spit out my gum before we kissed so I tried to swallow it, yes, while we were kissing. I choked. I gagged. I was horrified. My attempt to not embarrass myself failed miserably! He laughed hard and then we both laughed and then I think we kissed some more.
For our 25th anniversary, we took a trip to Colorado. We spent some time in Golden and Denver, but we spent most of our time in Estes Park. Then on our way home, we went to Vail for a couple of nights. Tommy did some research online ahead of time and found a restaurant that seemed 25th anniversary worthy and made reservations for us. Vail was breathtakingly gorgeous but we were so out of our element. We are not rich folk. We don’t even know how to act like rich folk. Anyway, this restaurant, though…. the food… It was the first meal of our entire lives where every single bite was savored and followed by an “!”. Holy Sweet Basil, Batman, my truffle asparagus soup (and I KNOW it wasn’t truffle oil because it wasn’t cheap!) and coffee crusted hunk of beef and our two bottles of New Zealand Pinot (we were there a while)… it was ridiculously fabulous. It has set the bar for both of us and, so far, nothing else has been able to reach it. But don’t think we won’t keep trying.
Date From Hell
I didn’t say the dates would all be good but that they were memorable. Well, this one was very memorable! It was our 18th anniversary weekend in a beautiful cabin in a beautiful part of Arkansas. It was a during a particularly hard season for us in our marriage with some hard transitions and we were not getting along. We expected. We miscommunicated. We fought. I cried. It was horrid.
I guess the thing I’m most thankful for in this date and a few others like it that would come in future years, is that we still went. We still dated. I remember sitting on the balcony and noticing what a beautiful place it was – even through the heartache and tears.
Stay At Home Date
We were in one of those tight budget seasons. We’ve had several of those.I felt so blessed in those days of young family years that we rarely had to hire a babysitter. Both of our parents lived within a mile or two of us so someone was always able to keep our kids for us. In this particular season of zero spare pennies we had to get creative with our dates. We set up our room with a big blanket on the floor, lit candles and I think threw down some fake rose petals. I cooked a nice dinner for us, put a movie on for the kids downstairs and probably chunked chicken nuggets in front of them and told them not to disturb us unless the house was on fire. Don’t judge. The older two would have been around 11 and 13 so they got it. Our youngest was in kindergarten. I remember this well because she went to her kindergarten teacher the next day, who happened to be a member of our church that we both worked for, and excitedly told her that “Mommy and Daddy put a big blanket on their floor with candles and stuff and had a date in their room.” Lovely…
We went to Nashville for a marriage conference weekend with RefineUs.org. The schedule for the conference left Saturday afternoon open for a date. Tommy, being the researcher he is, googled “what to do on a date near Nashville on May 2”. A Tennessee Farm Dinner popped up first and it sounded interesting so he tried to book two spots for us. It wouldn’t let him book so he emailed and the organizer responded that they were booked up. He asked if they had two spots come available could she let him know because we were coming from Texas and wanted to experience this. She replied back a little later that they had opened up two spots for us. YAY!!
Saturday afternoon came and we went to meet the charter bus that would take us out to a rural farm with cows and poop and flies and outhouses. This farm would also have beautifully decorated tables with hanging white lights and a cool barn with charcuterie and an open bar that would have a live band and dancing later in the evening. We would walk around with our glasses of amazing wine and say hi to the cows and watch the sunset.
We would randomly choose our seats and end up across from an older gentleman and his grown son and have the best conversations. We would talk about Singapore (because the son had been there) and marriage and harvesting honey and our lives in general. They would tell us how cool it was that we were there because of a google search and how we didn’t look old enough to be grandparents. And we would eat a phenomenal meal. They would serve us as if we were wealthy like the others there. They had no idea. We played along.
We discovered that it was a fundraiser for the Tennessee Land Trust and that most of the folks there were well to do farmers, high-profilers in the farming community, winemakers and distillery owners (who donated to the open bar). Two chefs from a local Nashville’s Porter Road Butcher provided and made the meal. They even made the ‘nilla wafers from scratch that were used in the banana puddin’ topped with bacon! It was a crazy good meal and we had a crazy good time.
If we’d had expectations (which we didn’t because we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into), it exceeded them in spades.
What I have learned from our dating years, about 30 of them now, is:
1. Keep dating. Keep going. Even when it’s hard.
2. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or anything.
3. It tastes WAY better when it costs a lot.
4. Take pictures because one day you’ll be old and need a reminder.
5. Spit out your gum before the movie.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15
My friend, Kelly Smith, at Mrs. Disciple, hosts a Friday link up and the theme for this go ’round is “Date Night”. I’m linking this post up with hers and a variety of other great posts along the same theme. I hope you’ll jump over there and find something that enlightens and encourages you.