One Really Great Thing that Happened in 1979
My lovely wife and I climbed Old Rag together! Photo by Maggie Stein.
Today I celebrate the anniversary of my first date with the most amazing and lovely human being that I know. I first met Pam at the little church we both attended in Charlottesville. We became friends largely through the ministry of Louise Via, a woman who loved to encourage young people and had a potluck supper in her home. Little did we know that G-d was to use Mrs. Via as a matchmaker for several couples... including us!
In fact, some of us guys found our inner chivalrous selves around Louise and the beautiful young women she befriended. One evening I found myself shovelling snow from Mrs. Via's steps for the sheer joy of service! I had no idea what the LORD was up to. Ulterior motives?, Nah, I was ready to head for Alaska. Maybe working in an oil camp or some adventure was what my restless soul needed.
Our friends Coy and Nancy were already engaged (Louise's magic at work). He was in school in Atlanta now and she was working at UVA medical center. One evening Nancy's car wouldn't start. I went to see if I could start it with Nancy and Pam. Coy was coming in for the weekend so when he showed up later that evening... I was taking my future bride home.
Now, dear reader, I must take issue with anyone who would deny that G-d is a romantic of the strongest type! As both of us conversed about our past unrequited loves, a spark of out-of-the box Divine Epiphany took hold. I asked her out!
We went to dinner at Sal's Italian Restaurant in Shopper's World on 29 North. Imagine us at Maria's or Scotto's. Emilio's would be way too fancy compared to Sal's. We went to see Norma Rae with Sally Field... a movie that begins with beautiful shots of mill interiors and chronicles the early attempts to unionize Southern America's now largely defunct textile industry.
What started out as a nice evening shared with a beautiful friend has gone on for 32 years now. I asked her to go hiking with me. We walked from Milam Gap to Hoover Camp and ate sandwiches that I made for the occasion. I really enjoyed being in the woods with her.
I brought her daffodils. She accused me of stealing them out of someone's yard! We started spending a lot of time together. Alaska would just have to wait.
Our friends Coy and Nancy needed to move her furniture to Atlanta. We packed it into the back of my large black Ford pickup and Pam and I drove it to Georgia.
I wanted to show Pam Stone Mountain. My college friends and I had visited this granite mountain a number of times. We rode the tram to the top and walked down.
We got caught in the rain... a sudden storm drenched us. We were laughing and walking down the trail when I said to her: "I want you to be my wife!" She replied: "I want you to be my husband!" Then she asked: "Does this mean we're engaged?" I assured her that it did... I didn't have a ring yet; this was totally a Divinely inspired moment.
We were married on May 24, 1980.