Our Date that Massacred Valentine’s Day

We were dating while going to college, and both of us worked. That made scheduling difficult, and weeknight dates all but impossible, but my then boyfriend (now husband), has always been romantic and wanted to take me out for a fancy Valentine’s Dinner.

The first obstacle was scheduling. Finding replacements was not possible, so we decided to have a late date, after we finished work. Unfortunately we couldn’t get reservations for dinner, so, okay fine, change the plan and pack a picnic and go to the desert and enjoy the stars. Not fancy, but secluded and romantic.

I got off work, and raced home to change into jeans and a red lacy shirt. I spent a moment in the mirror, repairing the damage of the day. As I finished brushing my hair the doorbell rang. I grabbed my jacket and purse and greeted Bob who stood on the porch with a vase of red roses.

“I know we wanted to go to a fancy dinner, but thank you for being satisfied with a picnic,” Bob recited after giving me a kiss, and handing me the flowers. I cheerfully dropped my belongings to the ottoman to take the beautiful flowers. “Are you ready?” “I’ll put the flowers on the counter and be right back.” Returning to the front room, I discovered my purse had spilled the contents across the floor. I scrabbled about gathering up the minutiae from my purse, and we walked to his cute yellow Volkswagen.

Bob had gone to a deli when he got off work and chose an assortment of meat and cheese and olives and salads, a wonderful dinner, and I couldn’t wait to get to our destination the river. Fortunately it was a short drive on a country road through the cotton fields. Bob turned off on a two lane track that followed the river bed. We didn’t have far to go, just past the first big bend was “our spot”. Bob pulled the bug off the track as far as safe, taking care to stay on the grass because the deep sand was easy to get stuck in. As the engine noise died away, Bob leaned over and kissed me, “Happy Valentine’s Day, let’s eat!” We reached into the back seat and grabbed the bags of groceries and a blanket, and made our way to the sandy shore of the river. It was a full moon so seeing was no problem, although it would obscure some of the stupendous stars.

After the blanket was spread out I reached into a bag to arrange the food. Unfortunately the clerk at the deli must not have gotten a lid on tightly, and as I started pulling containers out of the bag I found a soggy lump of cabbage squishing around in the bag. “Um, the coleslaw seems to have spilled.” I said, “are there napkins?” “Sure I saw her put in a big pile of napkins.” “Yes she did, unfortunately she put them in the bag with the unsealed coleslaw, so they were a soggy mess, and no help at all. I shook the dressing and cabbage off my fingers into the grass and the rest of dinner passed pleasantly. After we ate I laid on the blanket and watch the stars dance in the heavens. It was romantic and relaxing to listen to the water whisper past, and savor the flavors left from our repast.

All too soon it was time to go home. . We packed everything up and stowed the remains in the VW. All was well until Bob started the three point turn around on the narrow track. A back tire oozed into the deep sand on the edge of the road and refused to budge. All attempts to drive out buried the tire deeper in the loose sand, and it pulled the car sideways, and the other tire into the loose sand. Bob being a desert boy knew what to do, and went looking for a couple pieces of board to put under the lowest tire, to give a firmer foundation and perhaps some friction. We crept forward by inches moving a board, creeping forward onto the second, moving a board creeping forward repositioning the first board. Slow but sure we made it to firm ground, and then the road back to the house.

Which was when I discovered that in my haste to pick up the belongings of my purse I had overlooked my house key. I searched through my purse repeatedly, knowing my key was laying on the floor in the front room. We sat in the driveway talking and dozing waiting for my roommate to return home.

Fortunately she returned within the hour, and when she opened the door the first thing I spied was my key ring laying in plain sight at the side of the ottoman, four feet from the door. Bob and I kissed good night, he went on his way and I went to bed, I think we were both glad the date was over.

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