It didn’t seem like that big of a decision.
Sitting around with a couple of dudes in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL, during my original senior year in 1986, I decided it was about time I went to Jacksonville to enjoy my first Florida-Georgia football game.
I wanted to enjoy the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party* and see if a football game did, indeed, break out as had been rumored.**
Besides, I’d had a good time the night before at a fraternity social with the ladies of Kappa Alpha Theta, met some nice gals and laughed a lot.
So my brothers and I headed out to Jacksonville. We got there and decided to hit a bar, have some fun, drink some beer and get into the mood of the party.
Which would have been a good idea if anyone in my group had ever been to Jacksonville before while also also being sober. We got lost. Really, really lost. Which meant we had to drive around for a long time (this was before cell phones) before finally arriving at the bar near closing time.
While there, I ran into one of the ladies I met the night before. She was cute. She was funny. She knew how to have fun. And she wanted to hang out with me. She asked me to go with her to a Theta social in a couple of weeks. I said yes. We agreed to talk more in the meantime and then parted.
Over the course of the weekend, we accidentally saw each other two more times. The second time, we ended up walking on the beach for the night, enjoying the sunrise together. She then put her head in my lap and fell deeply asleep, snoring loud enough to wake the others passed out on the other couches.
We met nearly three decades ago, but today is the day we celebrate our 24th year of marriage. There are times when it seems like 24 seconds and times when it seems like 24 centuries.
A series of coincidences, a nudge from the universe here and there, a helpful bit of directions from a nosy friend and. . . twenty-eight years later, I’m still hearing that snoring every single night. Still seeing that smile. Still hearing that laugh. Still feeling the love.
Today is a good day and I plan on enjoying it.
Footnotes & Eratta
* That’s the unofficial nickname for the game and it’s one that both school administrations hate because they are (putting on serious stentorian voice) “serious research institutions.” (voice off) I say unofficial because most of the students don’t call it that. They call it “blargaherhiiaen chiehlhauile.” Apropos of nothing, did you know drinking a lot of alcohol inhibits your ability to enunciate properly?
** It did. Florida won 31-19, but I had no idea. I had to look it up, mostly because more important stuff happened. Not that I was too drunk to remember.