Monday, August 28, 2006
I was on the road this week, so an anniversary of sorts for Miss Brenda and I passed without celebration. To be honest, it has passed with barely a mention for the past 30 years. But there once was a time when the date was occasion for significant ceremony and remembrance.
On August 21, 1971, in the halcyon days of the summer before we started the 10th grade, I took Miss Brenda on our first official date. Amazingly, it was the last date either of us ever had with anyone other than each other. That's right, I have only dated one woman since I was 15 years old--and I wouldn't want it any other way. Now, before you write me off as a pathetic, unpopular high school loser, know this: I went on a date or "went steady" with innumerable girls, changing my feminine target as often as I changed my socks. Until I met Miss Brenda. For me at least, as corny as it is, it was love at first sight. And second sight. And third sight. From the moment she drew my attention, she kept it.
My children and brother Marines will find this hard to believe, but when I was in high school I had, if I may say so myself, a marvelous head of fine blond hair that consumed literally hours of my time comb-in-hand/face-in-mirror. I'll admit it, if you look in the 1972 edition of your Funk and Wagnel you will find my picture (comb in hand) next to the definition for narcissist. My comb was my most prized possession, next to my pen knife. After Brenda and I had dated for 2 or three months, I began keeping track of the occurrence of the 21st of each month by carving a small v-shaped notch on the spine of my black plastic comb. Even after I was required to cut my hair short enough (not to mention the ravages of male-pattern balding) to obviate the need for it, I continued to carry the comb and added a monthly notch right up until the 31st of July 1976, after which marriage vows eliminated dating and the joy of marking the anniversary of our first date.
Where did we go on our first date? To the Howard Air Force Base movie theater to see that romantic film, "Lawrence of Arabia."