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17 years ago today I met my husband on a blind date at Chili's. We sat down over two beers, he held my hand and said that he didn't expect me to be that pretty. That was the start of our relationship and all because of a dare to answer his newspaper personal ad. This was back before internet dating sites, when people would put ads in the paper. It was fate really, if you believe in that sort of thing.
As the story goes, I was girl talking with one of my friends and we were lamenting about our current relationship status, or lack thereof. She grabbed the newspaper and said, "Let's find you a real man!" A headline caught her eye, one that read "Tennessee Boy." My friend was from Tennessee herself and dared me to answer the ad. At first we called the number giggling many times listening to his voicemail and talking about his sweet southern accent. Eventually I finally got up the nerve to leave a message. He called back that evening and we spent hours talking and made a date to meet at Chili's the next night, October 16, 1995.
I fell hard that night, and that night he made sure as many of my future evenings were taken up with him as he could. He said he knew a sweet girl when he saw one and wasn't letting go. Flattery was getting him everywhere. Two weeks later he moved in with me, 4 years later we were married.
I still have that personal ad. It's in a baggie in a kitchen cabinet. It has been there for years and years. I don't know why I keep it there particularly; it just always has been there so I know where to find it. When people ask me how I met my husband I used to always say "I found him in the paper, he was free to a good home."
His ad wasn't supposed to run that week, he had canceled it. He said he had been meeting a ton of whack jobs and wasn't going to answer anymore, but had decided to call me back. Yes, perhaps it was fate.
Each year following on this date Steve would remind me about our first date "Remember how I held your hand and told you I didn't think you'd be that pretty? Well, I think you're prettier now then you were then." Each year, without fail. Through weight gain, wrinkles, stretch marks, you name it, he always said that. Today is the first year I'm not hearing those sweet words.
I'm not overly sad today, just melancholy. Remembering. I can see that shit eating grin of his and him saying "Do you know what today is?" He always liked this day, October 16th, so I refuse to make it a sad day. There is an emptiness and twinge in my heart, but today represents one of those crossroads in my life. A new direction I took in my path of life 17 years ago. So tonight I will celebrate Steve, I will sit with his picture and drink a beer with him. I will listen and let him tell me I am pretty and I will look into his eyes and be flattered and I will remember how he made me feel every October 16th, like the prettiest wife in the whole world!