Our First Date 32 Years Ago

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…

4 Replies to “Our First Date 32 Years Ago”

  1. Very nice story. I am encouraged by this, I can explain why at some point in the future. I’m glad you guys found each other, and Anjie does have a great smile!

  2. This post made me tear up. I’m about to hit my third anniversary with my husband (that I met in the cafeteria at ORU) and we too are in it for the long haul. Thank you for encouraging stories like this one. 🙂

  3. My sister-in-law, Julie, reads your blog and recommended that I visit. She also turned me on to Leaving Ruin which has become a kind of almanac for me in the last few days.

    Your first date story, too, has a familiar ring and I hope you don’t mind my sharing mine here.

    My first “date” with my now-beloved was on an evening at ACU when Kenny Rogers and the First Edition were performing at Moody Coliseum. We were both freshmen and the semester had barely started. However, I wasn’t planning to go; a combination of having neither money nor interest. Having just arrived from the East Coast it was the Stones, Jethro Tull, Yes, ELP & Alice Cooper that normally got my concert allowance. I had asked Jeanette to go do laundry with me and I thought she had agreed. After taking my clean laundry back to the barracks (my dorm) & feeling a little down from having been stood up on my first ACU date, I decided to just drop in on the show and catch the ending. When the lights came up, and I stood scanning the crowd for no one in particular, there she was, just up and behind me less than 15 feet away. She and her roommate, Jan, were bookending some good-looking guy that looked as Californian as they were. Our eyes met. I nodded, half-smiled and walked out of the coliseum, probably rolling my eyes at the nerve of this girl. Later I’d find out she hadn’t realized the laundry date was so serious.

    I had a lot to learn and now 35 years later I can easily say that she’s taught me many wonderful things. Unfortunately, I’m still working on the “date” thing.

  4. Jeff, You remember me as Debby Webb, a person from your past who has never forgotten you and Anjie. You both played such an important role at that moment in my life and I’ve wondered how you guys are doing. My life has taken many twists and turns but I will never forget how you both touched my life. I lost my husband and best friend to cancer in September and am trying to decide what God’s plans are for me now. I enjoyed reading your blog. My love to Anjie and God bless you on your life journey.

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