Sometime in the 20th year of my life, in between dancing my big gold belt buckle off at the Waterhole and working as an EMT, I saw a girl one morning. It was around the time that I had been up doing CPR on someone in a Fiat in a snowstorm on the side of the interstate with 4 barking dogs rudely interrupting my efficient chest compressions.
I was at the nursing station, probably smoking a Marlboro light 100 because back then…we could. ( I quit smoking a few years later).
And there she was, innocently strolling down the hall and straight into my life.
Coming towards me was this incredibly cute brunette girl carrying a white lab tray directly in front of herself.
Our minds collect moments, I reckon in cells rather than on film or now an SD card. Most of these moments are deleted. But, occasionally, some of these caught moments permanently etch themselves into our lives.
Moments such as our children’s mouths open laughing and jumping and yelling ‘daddy’s home’ when we get home from an 18-hour shift at the hospital we’ll never forget.
Moments such as the genuine smile of a dear friend or family member that has gone on. Their smiles are precious moments in our minds like souvenirs they’ve left us.
But this particular moment I remember as much as I remember which side of my underwear goes in the back.
This cute little brunette girl perfectly dressed in white scrubs that fit sufficiently, with a tie around a tiny waist, to show off her perfect figure strolled into my life that day.
Sacheting by me that morning, I spoke to her when she went by and I pivoted to watch her walk back into the lab door down the hall.
I inquired to my nursing friends at the desk just who was the new girl? They told me that they thought her name was Sharon.
After my shift was over, I went home with this happy smiling girl still on my mind. She had me enamored sufficiently that even though I had been up all night in the ambulance, I sloshed over in my brown padded leather-sided waterbed and rotary-dialed the hospital and asked for the lab.
I asked for Sharon and she picked up the phone.
‘Hello, umm.. this is Mark, I work at the ambulance service and I saw you in the hall this morning’.
‘I know who you are’ she said.
I smiled because it wasn’t what she said but HOW she had said it that I liked.
We chit chatted for a few minutes. Then I asked her if she wanted to go to the drive-inn with me and she agreed. I can’t recall the exact movie at the drive-inn but I do recall laughing a lot with her. And she laughed at my stupid sense of humor. I remember her being so incredibly sweet and innocent, unlike any girl I’d ever met.
I was surely smitten with the shapely brunette lab girl in the white scrubs.
We dated. We danced. We laughed. We disagreed a bit but not too much. We got along well. We had a lot in common. She was quiet. I was the mouth. That was a well-known fact and still is. Although she’s learned to speak up a little bit more nowadays out of necessity. 😉
We didn’t have this ‘OMG, I can’t live without you so let’s pick out our wedding fonts today ?’ thing that so many young people have today.
We got along well.
We were both creative.
We loved to travel and new places.
We had fun.
We laughed a lot.
And we were very young and we were in love.
The potential of our 20-year-old lives in the 1980s, what we’d do, where we’d go, lay in front of our younger selves like a hot buffet to the hungry. We were ready to be adults and have adult lives.
So, one day in the EMS building on a shift, I asked her ‘so..umm…you wanna get married?’
And she said ‘sure!’.
It was just that simple.
A few months later, on September 2nd, 1983 surrounded by friends and family in a small country church, with nothing but wedding mints and nuts, red punch and my blue Toyota 4WD, the cute little brunette accepted the cute tiny little ring that I could afford back then.
Thusly, on that night, we became one.
Life then proceeded quickly with moving to Murfreesboro, residing in apartments, living check to check, paying bills, nursing school, then move back home, buying our first house, struggling through infertility, then later having our first perfect child and then another perfect child, hospital work and schedules, her quitting work and staying home to raise our perfect kids, then she went back to work.
Now our two kids are grown with lives of their own.
Our granddaughter has surely inherited the same sweet smile and mannerisms of her grandmother.
Fast forward to 36 years very brief later,
we still get along well.
We still are both creative.
We still love travel and new places
We still have fun.
We still laugh a lot.
And despite a few hurdles like the great banana pudding fight of 1987,
and ignoring the advice of some of the nosely old women at the hospital to the lab girl that I was no good for her,
we are still very much in love.
As life is supposed to happen, much of our ‘potential’ has now transitioned to ‘actual’ and we are living out the life that we could only imagine in the beautiful freshness and excitedness of our smooth-skinned youth.
My hope remains firm that the last thing that I’ll ever forget is the snapshot in my aging mind from that morning at the then Henderson County Hospital;
the sight of the shapely, smiling, happy brunette young girl dressed in white scrubs walking down the hall towards me.
And into my life.
Happy 36th-anniversary, baby.