Friday, August 10, 2007

17 Years Ago Today

Seventeen years ago I was a soldier in his early 20's stationed at Ft. Bragg. I had recently re-enlisted and was preparing to leave for Germany and my next assignment. Unfortunately, a little something called the Invasion of Kuwait interrupted my travel plans and I was sitting at Ft. Bragg, waiting to leave for Saudi Arabia.

I had a friend-of-a-friend who was becoming a personal friend named Keith also at Bragg. On this day he called me up and we had the following conversation.

"Hi, [Aquinas]! My fiancee is in town!"
"Oh. That's pretty cool."
"Yeah, and her best friend drove down with her."
"Ooooo-kaaaaaay. Uh, I, uh..."
"So we'll be over soon to pick you up and go to dinner. You are really going to like her!"
"So, you set me up on a blind date?
"I sure did! See ya', [Aquinas]!"

I then had the following conversation with my neighbor in the next room,

"Yeah, [Aquinas]?"
"Keith set me up on a blind date with his fiancee's best friend?"
"Dude! I'll get the car!"
"Let me shower and we'll get out of here"

And I hit the shower, rushing to get out of there before a blind date arrived.

I finished quickly (I thought) and was just pulling on some jeans when there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see... Keith, a really short red-head I recognized from picture's as Keith's fiancee, and a girl standing mostly in shadows.

I invited them in, put on my glasses, turned around, and feel in love.

That's right - right then, the minute I could actually see her. Love at first (clear) sight.

We ended up going to a cheap Mexican place for dinner. She was brilliant, beautiful, charming, and a Smithie. We had a nice time and we had a chance to meet one more time over the weekend.

After she left i asked Keith to get me her address. I left for the War just 4 days later and never got the address from Keith. She, however, did get my address. We ended up writing to each other throughout the war and she surprised me by meeting me on the tarmac when my plane home landed - Keith was there and we have a picture of our first kiss!

Wow. Seventeen years; more than 15 years of marriage; four kids. Hard to believe that I might have missed it all if I had simply not taken a shower!