Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PB&J and Dating

I’m sure everyone has a funny story about dating. Well, I am no exception. The story I am about to present to you is totally true. I have told it to many different people over the years, and everyone thought it was a hoot. So, I decided to share it online as well.

Back in June and July 1980 I was attending a Church of Christ in my hometown and studying the Bible with a local minister and teacher. On July 13 of that year, that minister baptized me. Several months later that same minister decided to play matchmaker and set me up on blind date with a young Christian girl seven years my younger (I was 25, she was 18). Sue (not her real name) was a very attractive girl, but a bit shy. Most of the time I had to carry the conversation during our dates. I asked her about this a couple of times and the best answer I got was that she was a bit uncomfortable about our age difference.

Even thought Sue was a bit shy about talking, one thing that Sue was not shy about was making out. Whenever I would take her home, she would invite me in. We would have a short conversation with her parents and then they would conveniently leave the room, allowing us to have an extended kissing session on the couch. Her parents probably allowed her this leeway knowing that if her date got too fresh, they would be nearby to protect her.

One day Sue went with me to a town 70 miles away to attend my first cousin’s wedding. It was a bit of a struggle driving that far since I was finding it more and more difficult trying to think of things to say given that she barely ever instigated a conversation. So, I decided that on the drive back, I was not going to say anything unless Sue said something first. During that entire 1-1/2 hour drive she only said one thing.

While driving along with nothing to talk about, I suddenly realized that I was getting hungry. So, I started thinking about what I wanted to eat. Then it dawned on me. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That’s what I wanted to eat. The more I thought about it, the more I craved it. Yes, indeed. When I got back to my apartment I was going to fix me a good ole PB&J sandwich.

We finally arrived at Sue’s house and I just dropped her off. I didn’t ask if I could come in as usual, and I guess she sensed that she shouldn’t ask me either. So, after making sure she made it into her house safely, I headed home.

Just as soon as I entered my apartment, I headed to the kitchen to fix that PB&J sandwich I was craving. My roommate was still awake and began inquiring about how my date went. I said, “Well, let me put it this way. On the way to her house I wasn’t thinking about making out. I was thinking about getting home to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” From that point forward, whenever my roommate or I asked the other about how a date went, we simply answered that we either were or were not thinking about a PB&J sandwich. That was all the information needed.

Now fast forward almost two years. It’s July 1982. Kathy, my fiancĂ© at the time and now my wife of 29 years, and I were preparing to be married. One thing we wanted to prevent was my car being decorated. So, we locked it inside her parents’ garage. Well, when it was time to head out on our honeymoon, Kathy and I went to the garage to load the car. Lo and behold, we had been double-crossed by her brother. He had found the garage key and allowed everyone into the garage to “trash” my car. In reality they mostly just filled the cab with balloons and other decorations, but I was still angry. One of the decorations was a PB&J sandwich inside a plastic sandwich bag hanging from the rearview mirror. When my wife saw it, she asked what it was for. I said I would tell her later. On the road I explained to my new bride the significance of the PB&J sandwich. She got a real kick out of it.

Now, fast forward a week. Kathy and I are returning home from our honeymoon. I had explained to my roommates that they needed to vacate the apartment by such and such a date. (They were moving into another apartment in the same complex.) Well, when Kathy and I entered the apartment we found my PB&J-sandwich-hanging roommate sitting at the dining table eating and talking on the phone. When he looked up, he said, “Hey, Randy.---RANDY!!! I thought you weren’t going to be back for several more days.” It turns out the other roommates remembered the return date correctly and had already vacated the apartment. They tried to tell the straggling roommate, but he had insisted they were wrong.

Well, now it was Kathy’s turn to be angry. My roommate spent the next several hours moving his belongings to his new apartment. Kathy decided we might as well clean the kitchen cabinets while he made his move. We were up until after 3:00 AM. Finally the move was completed and we were able to go to bed.

A couple of days later while I was at work, the roommate came over to visit Kathy and pick up a few remaining items from his old room. While there, Kathy asked, “Do you remember that peanut butter and jelly sandwich you left in our car?” He responded, “Yes.” Kathy said, “We didn’t need it!” And indeed we didn’t.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I've Written a Novel

Well, I've gone and done it now. I have written a novel. I've written a lot of non-fiction in my life including papers for conferences, articles for magazines, a regular column for a journal, poetry, etc. I've even written several fictional short stories and a non-fiction book. But up until recently I have never tackled writing a full length novel. I found it both challenging and fun. The novel is entitled "Passion is a Harsh Taskmaster." It has elements of mystery, romance, mysticism, spirituality, religion, and skepticism. It is currently available in a variety of eBook formats. The Kindle version is available at Amazon while a number of other formats are available at Smashwords. It will soon be available Barnes & Noble, Apple's iBook store, and other online booksellers. I'm quite proud of my book and am glad to say that it is garnering 5-star ratings at Amazon among early readers.

Here's a teaser:

Would you divorce your wife of 10 years after one night of wanton pleasure with another woman? What if a man claiming to be from the future told you it was the right thing to do? Tom Shallot faces this dilemma and more as additional visits occur. When the nature of these visits become known, Tom finds he must team up with the "other woman" to interpret cryptic clues. Lives are at stake.

Here's some links:

Amazon Kindle
Web Site
Facebook Page

A preview is available at most of the links above. If you decide you want to read the whole book, it costs just $3.99. I hope you'll give it a try. If you read and like it, please go to Amazon and write a review. Word of mouth and a multitude of good reviews are what can make or break a book.