October 27, 1977.
Abilene, Texas. Mid-afternoon, I get a call from my sister who is working for a local radio station. She’s got two extra tickets for the Doobie Brothers concert at Taylor County Coliseum that night. Would I like them? Sure, I say, sounds fun. The girl I was semi-dating at the time was nowhere to be found, and at dinner, in “The Bean” at Abilene Christian University, I saw a freshman girl that I didn’t know very well, but that I’d thought about a bit, mostly because she had an electric smile. So gathering up my courage, I made my way over to the table, knelt down and told her the story of the tickets and asked if she wanted to go to the concert. She thought about it, flashed that smile and said, sure.
If I remember correctly (and I may be making this up), it was blustery night, maybe a bit of rain, and I have an image in my head of us running through the parking lot, heading for “Will Call.” The tickets were there under my sister’s name, and we went in. Details escape me, but I remember us talking easily about things, wandering around the coliseum, at one point ending up behind the band, constantly changing perspectives. We even ran into her brother, who was at ACU as a pre-med major. The music was great, the night flew by, that smile of hers so easy to fall for, and before we knew it, I was taking her back to Gardner dorm. There would be no first-date kiss, but as she climbed out of the car, she said something to the tune of “I was a fun date.” I watched her run to the covered sidewalk (it was raining by now), and she turned and waved, giving me one last smile to float home on, and I as I drove back to Mabee dorm, I reflected on the simple joy of the evening. I had a thought that this was a girl I could marry, and if I remember correctly, it was either later that night, or perhaps on a night after the second or third date, that I declared rather lightly to my roommate that I would indeed marry the girl with the dark hair and joyous smile.
As it turns out, three and half years later, after some ups and downs (the downs were all my fault), I did just that. I married her.
I could not be more thankful for that simple decision to walk across the cafeteria and inquire of the girl with the electric smile.
If I had to do it all over again, I’d walk a little faster.
Happy “First-Date” Anniversary, Anjie.
And that smile?
As electric as it ever was…