Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Valentine Adventure with a Knight on a White Horse
In 2006, all of that changed for me. Let’s just say I was very interested in someone special in the early part of that year, and had pretty good reason to think he was equally interested in me. That “someone special” turned out to be my husband, Chip. We had shared hours of deep conversation, a long walk back and forth across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, and had even prayed together. So when he called me in early February and asked me out for “February 14th,” I said I thought I was probably available. Then I tried not to breathe heavily into the phone, since I was bouncing up and down with excitement.
When I left work on February 14, 2006, I raced home to get ready. Because Chip was working into the early evening, we had agreed that I would cook dinner for him at my condo. Simple enough, right? I’m not sure how, but somehow I managed to char the stir-fry in my fancy Le Creuset pan. (See my earlier post about a small fire that was later set in this pan.) The stir fry was still edible, just a bit on the well-done side. But the smoke that filled my condo was overwhelming, setting off the alarm. It smelled awful. Well, this was a dilly of a pickle. Chip had never been to my place before, and his first impression of it was going to be clouded by a stench and a fog so thick you could barely see your hand in front of your face. He was due any time, and I panicked.
Throwing open the sliding glass door, I placed a box fan in front of it and tried sucking the smoke out of the house. I sprayed Lysol. I opened my front door and stood there swinging it back and forth like a madwoman. The freezing cold air rushed in from outside, and toasty heat disappeared. Cold and stinky. My home was now cold, stinky, and made my eyes burn. Well, he’s a fireman, I told myself, so maybe this will make him feel right at home. I changed my smoke-tainted clothes, sprayed perfume on my hair, and prayed for the best.
Thank the Lord, Chip called to say he was running late. He had been detained at work.
So by the time he arrived, I am pleased to report that the condo was back to normal. Warm, decent-smelling, and non-allergenic, at any rate. I was able to open the door calmly and play the hostess who has it all together. He came bearing a big bouquet of flowers and sincerest apologies for being late.
I had chosen a Pinot Grigio to accompany the meal, and pulled it from the fridge. I smiled to myself. Just a couple of hours earlier, I had noticed that I had inadvertently purchased a bottle whose label pictured a knight on a white horse. I hoped that this was God’s way of foreshadowing that my knight on a white horse had finally arrived. I knew one thing . . . this was already the best Valentine’s Day I had ever had.
We chatted in the kitchen as I opened every single drawer and fumbled through them all . . . unable to find a corkscrew. Chip began helping me look. “Maybe you don’t have one?” he offered. But I knew I did. I had more than one, and told him I had just used one recently. After a few minutes, I handed him a good, sharp knife and he proceeded to dig, pull and push at the cork. He was successful, and we had our Pinot.
As we sat down to eat, I told him why his late arrival worked out perfectly, describing in full humor the reason I almost called to tell him to bring an oxygen mask. Then I found out, to my delight, that there are some foods he actually *likes better* when they are slightly charred. Stir fry qualified. He cleaned his plate, emptied the pan for seconds, and proceeded to eat what was left on my plate, as well. Count me starry-eyed. I was impressed by his good table manners, and he by my collection of baseball cards. We picked little pieces of floating cork from our glasses of wine as we drank. We talked and laughed. When he said it was late and he should go, we walked to the door. There, we ended up sitting on the floor and talking for another two hours.
In the weeks that followed, we would find six corkscrews in my kitchen. We still laugh about that.