I was not very good at dating. First dates weren't very common. Second dates were rare. But third dates were almost completely unheard of. I was 40 years old, and up to that point I think I had only been on a third date with the same girl twice, and in both of those cases it was because I was either desperate or delusional. (Or both.)
This was different. I was neither desperate nor delusional. I was interested in her, and it felt like she was interested in me. Things were going to happen on this third date! (I previously wrote here about our first date, and our second date.)
For the date, we planned to go to the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. We were going to go to the planetarium and watch one of their movies. On our first date, my Not-Yet-Wife had placed her hand perilously close to my knee, as if offering it up for some hand holding. I wasn't ready for it then, but as I got ready for this third date, I was a bit giddy in the anticipation that I was going to get to hold her hand. (Remember, there is a reason they call me "Slow Joe.")
So, we met up and went to the planetarium. I don't remember what the movie was, just that it was something about space and that it was narrated by Harrison Ford. What I do remember is that the Not-Yet-Wife once again put her hand perilously close to my knee, but this time I reached down with my own hand and soon we had interlocking fingers resting on our legs. As Han Solo told us about the possibility of life on other planets, I was finally discovering life on this planet!
|We're holding hands!!!|
I was a bit giddy. Walking hand in hand, I turned to her and said, "So, does this mean I have a girlfriend?" She replied, "I don't know. Do you want a girlfriend?"
"Yes. Yes, I do."
We walked to Applebee's, because nothing says romance like Applebee's. I successfully made it through dinner without burping, farting, or spilling much of my orange chicken on my shirt. (Don't underestimate how improbable that was.)
Then, it was time to go back to my place. Since we lived about 45 miles away from each other, she had driven up and met me at my house for the start of our evening. So, that's where we were headed now. But, on the way I drove her past an old apartment of mine, and while there I pointed out an apartment complex across the street that had a big sign on the side of it that said, "The Harvey." (I did this as a bit of a test, because if she didn't laugh at the fact that there was an apartment complex named "The Harvey," I would highly question her sense of humor.)
When we got to my house it was time for some dessert. It had been an enjoyable date to this point, so I got the good stuff out of the freezer; she was worthy of the Haagen-Dazs. The ice cream I had was a limited-time flavor called "Sticky Toffee Pudding." It was the best ice cream I have ever eaten! (In the years since, every time I walk down the ice cream aisle at the store I glance at the Haagen-Dazs section in hopes that they bring that flavor back. No luck yet.)
As we were eating our ice cream we started to hear some explosions in the distance. At the time I lived about a half a mile away from the Olympic speed skating oval in the Salt Lake suburb of Kearns. Every August, Kearns has a community celebration called "Fire, Water, and Ice Days." It just so happened that our third date coincided with the fireworks show.
We left our ice cream and went outside into my backyard. From there we had a pretty good view of the fireworks. It was quite a scene. We held hands, and then there were fireworks! I even got so bold as to take things beyond hand-holding: I put my arm around her shoulder!
We stood there in my back yard, shoulder to shoulder, watching fireworks explode in the night sky. If I had had any brains or guts or whatever other innards most people have, I would have kissed her right there and then. But, alas, I am Slow Joe for a reason. I was still too giddy from holding hands and having my arm around her to think of anything beyond that.
|We held hands, and there were fireworks!|
Still, it was a glorious and wonderful night! And, even to this day, whenever I hear the voice of Harrison Ford I want to hold hands with my honey. And whenever I see fireworks I want to put my arm around her. (And maybe even be so bold as to kiss her!)