It was a Saturday ... I was 21, he was 28.
I spent most of the day trying to decide what to wear ...
and trying to calm my nerves.
Strangely, I don't really remember the conversation when he asked and I accepted the invitation for a date. But, I know it happened and the rest, as they say, is history.
We had actually met a couple of months earlier, in September, through mutual friends at the Baptist Student Union. Then, at the Mississippi College/Delta State football game, we ran into each other again ... I had been visiting with a friend of a friend on the MC side; he was over showing a little support for his alma mater and when I left, he decided to walk back around to the DSU side with me.
I don't have any idea what we talked about ... my school or his work, maybe ... or maybe we just talked about how the football season was going for the Fighting Okra ... I can't remember. But, our friend (or his girlfriend) saw us talking and decided to give us a little push in the right direction by inviting us both over for lunch at his mom's house after church on Sunday. And before I knew it, I had agreed to go out with him on the following Saturday, just a few days before I would be heading home for Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, he picked me up from my dorm and took me to one of the best restaurants in Cleveland (keep in mind there were only 2 or 3 really nice places to eat ... or 4 if you count both the Mexican place and the Western Sizzlin'). This is Ronnie's favorite part of our first date story ... he took me to a place that specialized in steak and I ordered grilled chicken, because my Mama always told me not to order the most expensive thing on the menu. On top of that, I ordered a baked potato for my side, not realizing that the chicken was served with rice pilaf. In my defense, I grew up in a large family ... we didn't eat out much, there were just too many of us. In other words, I had very little experience ordering from a menu that wasn't printed on the wall ... not that I hadn't done it before, but this night my nerves got the better of me and I ended up feeling a little bit like a doofus.
After dinner, we went to the little movie theater in town and watched the James Bond movie GoldenEye. I have never been a huge movie-goer, but there isn't much to do in Cleveland if there isn't a DSU sporting event to watch ... which is exactly where we would spend a large part of our dates over the next couple of years.
Oddly, I don't remember many of the details of the date. Odd because I have friends who marvel at the details I can remember from our childhood. But, for this one, I couldn't even begin to tell you what we talked about, but I do remember that he was incredibly polite and did all the things that he was supposed to do (but that many guys don't do) like opening my car door ... which he would continue doing for the entire time we dated, and still does when we aren't trying to herd three kids into the
This date would prove to be the beginning of a beautiful thing. Our second date came on the following Tuesday night before I left to go home for Thanksgiving, and by Christmas we were introducing each other to our families. Again, the rest is history, and I am incredibly thankful for that history. In a world where marriage is so fragile, I know how blessed we are to still be together and I hope to never take for granted the gift we have been given.