So, it all started the weekend my boyfriend and I had a big fight. We’d been going together for over a year, and normally, I wouldn’t have been tempted to stray, but when I got the phone call, I was still aching from the cuts of certain harsh words…
“Hi.” It was the deep voice of a stranger. “It’s Walter,” you said.
“Walter?” I pummeled my brain—obviously I must know him from somewhere, but where? I’ve never been all that good with names…
“You met me at Candle Lake a couple of weeks ago, remember?”
“Vaguely...” There’d been a tall, handsome guy from a neighboring community who’d been part of the group I’d met at a friend’s cabin. Now that I thought about it, his name had been Walter.
“I was wondering if you’d like to go out for a drink.”
“You mean alcohol?”
“Yeah, I was thinking a nice mellow Merlot...”
“I don’t drink.” Might as well get that clear right up front.
“Well, how about a coffee?”
I don’t drink coffee either, but by now I was intrigued by your persistence. “Sure,” I said. Why not? It wasn’t as if I had anything else going on except studying this lazy summer Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend wouldn’t be calling me…
You picked me up in your four door Mercury Montcalm, and took me down to the local coffee shop. We found a booth, and I slid in on the yellow and brown plaid bench seat and you sat across from me. I ordered tea and a muffin, and you got a large coffee with two creams and three sugars.
“So,” you said. “You’re a law student, right?”
“So, I guess you’re likely a feminist...”
“That’s what’s wrong with women today,” you told me. “They don’t know their place…”
And with that auspicious start, we were off to the races. It turned out that you were a farm boy; a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist. And you felt, for some reason, that it was your job to straighten me out. How fun; a discussion with a real, honest-to-God, unreformed, red-necked male chauvinist pig.
The discussion over the next two hours ranged from politics to feminism and women’s rights to capital punishment, and was both vigorous and heated. We were on the opposite side of every single issue.
Finally, you took me home.
By the time we reached the car, I was fed to the teeth with your hillbilly values and rhetoric. We drove in white-knuckled silence back to my parents’ front yard. You pulled up, turned off the car, and turned towards me. “Well,” you said. “All I can say is I pity the poor man who marries you.”
I bit my lip, to stop myself from blurting out what I was thinking – Well, you don’t have to worry, Bub! But an instant of something struck me; ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if…?’
I stormed up the walk, and met my mother at the front door.
“Well?” she asked.
“If I never see him again,” I told her, “I won’t cry.”
That should have been the end of that; the worst first date in the history of the world, and the end of any possibility of a relationship before it even started. But sometimes life surprises us.
We kept running into each other the whole summer. At our next meeting, you told me you’d been thinking about our discussion, and you realized some of my arguments made a lot of sense.
Imagine that! I thought. He’s teachable…
You told me later that you thought I was cute, even if I had a big mouth and some bizarre ideas.
One thing led to another. We’re celebrating our forty-fifth anniversary in June.