Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day, Valentine

I first knew about Christine when I resumed my college undergraduate studies. She enrolled during the year that I was out of school to work. She in her pleated skirts with long legs and auburn hair that fell softly and elegantly on her shoulders and a smile that won me before we were even introduced. It was my bad luck that she was already dating someone, a student with a larger car than my VW Beetle. His was a land yacht. Of course gas prices were about fifty cents a gallon. The litre was not yet ensconced into our lives.

She was a music major and she spent a good many hours in the rehearsal rooms behind closed doors. Walls were thin. I too was taking some voice lessons and I needed to rehearse as well. I booked rehearsal times to coincide with times I knew she would be in the building and if possible I found a room beside hers. My repertoire invariably would have to include an occasional love song, my own odes to Christine. What youthful nerve.

Then came the day that her beau dropped her. Wasting no time I asked her for a date. She came. We spent more time together. She held a part-time receptionist’s job at a doctor’s office. I would meet her as her shift ended. It was London Ontario and it was the school year and it was a snow-belt winter. No winter has every been so beautiful as that one was for us, hand in hand with large flakes coming down in the glow of the street lights as we walked the long way to our dormitories.

One year later on a New Year’s Eve, I took her to Niagara Falls. I had arranged to have an engagement ring to put on her finger when I asked her to marry me. My trouble was I wasn’t sure that the one I selected was the one she would treasure. My jeweler was a young man, a friend, who gave me a paper bag with seven rings in beautiful velvet boxes. She said yes to my heartfelt question and I gave her my ring. Then as she looked at it I pulled the bag from under the front seat of the car and hauled our cache and placed in turn on the dashboard, the array of carats.

We married on a bright peaches and cream August day with friends and families in the fruit belt of Ontario and now two children and five grandchildren later we soon will spend two months in France with the last two weeks in Paris, the city of love, Mon amour et moi. A lifetime is hardly enough time to accommodate all our memories.

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