At 9:00 pm, 30 years ago, tonight, we were lowering the gate to the entrance of Champs Sporting Goods, at the Fashion Square Mall, in Orlando, where I worked (primarily selling athletic shoes – selling shoes has always been my back-up profession, in case ministry doesn’t work out). As I was checking off the list of my “closing” duties – before I could leave – a cute, young college student, named Kelly McFarlane, walked up to the store window, meeting me to go on our first date.
She was really cute.
We left the Fashion Square parking lot and started our date about 9:30 pm. Nowadays, I’m thinking of heading to bed by about 9:30 pm! We stopped at Wendy’s to get her something to eat. I had a cup of coffee, because I’d been out until about 5:00 am the night before. Now I wake up, some days, around 5:00 am!
We went dancing, at an Orlando nightclub called Rosie O’Grady’s, where she somehow managed to sneak both of us in (YES! – SHE sneaked us in) – we were only 19 years old! We talked, and laughed, and danced. She claims I even sang to her while we danced.
On the way back to her dorm room, at the University of Central Florida, we stopped at a 24-hour restaurant, called Wags, for pie and coffee (we would spend a lot more late nights at Wags “studying” over the next three years). I finally dropped her off sometime around 3:00 am, give or take. I could mention kissing her goodnight, but I’ll save that for another time.
The next morning, I told my dad that I was going to marry Kelly McFarlane. He laughed. But, three and a half years later, on August 18, 1990, Kelly McFarlane became Kelly McFarlane Rains.
Thirty years later, I’m still very thankful for that first date. Little did we know, thirty years ago, what the future held for us….
- College graduations, and then graduate school for me – twice!
- A wedding
- Numerous jobs
- Homes in eight different cities
- Two children
- So many holidays, so many new traditions, and so many memories
- Friends and family – including some that are no longer with us
- Good times and hard times, poor times and less poor times, times of health and times of sickness
- Lots of arguments and lots of making up
- empty nesting
- and, so much love
So, tonight, as I write this at nearly 10:00 pm (yawn), thirty years ago seems like such a long time. I’m not the night owl that I used to be. I’m not a lot of things I used to be – good and bad. In fact, it is hard to imagine now how that guy thirty years ago turned into this guy, and how she has loved both, and a few versions in between.
I guessed she’s changed too. But, she is still the one who captured my heart thirty years ago, the one who holds it now, and the one I plan to spend the next thirty years with – making many more memories, and sharing a lot more love.
Happy First Date Anniversary, Kelly McFarlane Rains! I love you!