I was beginning to learn that Doug had a great sense of humor and was also good at springing surprises on me. My birthday was no exception.
As the date approached, I coyly let him know I didn’t have any plans for that night. Being the gentleman he was he said, “Well, of course we’re going to have to celebrate! How about supper out that night?” And I said yes, with a smile.
He arrived at the house to pick me up with a long narrow box wrapped in birthday paper and urged me to open it before we went out. What could it be? I imagined all kinds of exciting things. I tore open the wrappings and pulled back the tissue paper to find…
…a grill brush!
“Since you said the wildfire burned your barbecue grill, I thought I’d get you a brush for when you get another,” he explained. I didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t at all what I’d expected. (Visions of a vacuum cleaner, skillet and stepladder for Christmas danced through my head.)
But my momma taught me to be polite. No. Matter. What. So I recovered from my surprise and thanked him profusely. “It’s perfect,” I said. “Just what I’ll be needing!”
Then out we went, down the steps and towards his truck. He opened the door for me as he always did, but stopped me in mid-step.
There was a big white propane gas bottle on the floorboard in front of the seat. “Wait a minute; let me get that out of your way,” he said, “I’ll just put it in the back of the truck — along with the REST of your present.”
He led me around to the bed of the truck and opened the cab topper to reveal a HUGE box. Inside the box was — you guessed it —a grill! A big, bright, shiny brand new grill!
I couldn’t contain myself! I was so floored by his generosity that I jumped up and gave him a big kiss. I almost knocked him over and think I surprised him as much as he had surprised me! My gosh, I would never have expected that kind of a gift. We’d only been dating a month or so.
I was glowing as we went in for dinner. It was a wonderful evening. We talked, laughed, held hands — the typical lovey-dovey stuff you do when you’re dating. (Being a Mom, I wasn’t even tempted to nudge his glass away from the edge of the table or cut up his steak.)
Then he looked deep into my eyes and said, “Laurie (my family calls me Laurie), do you think it’s possible for two people to know it’s right so soon in the relationship?” I sucked in my breath and thought, “Wow! Did I just hear what I thought I heard?”
But he was sincere. There was no joking around with that question. “Yes,” I said. “I’ve heard of people who have only known each other a few weeks and knew it was the real thing. And they’ve lasted. I do think it’s possible.” Goosebumps came over me and I thought, maybe this IS the real thing!
A full moon was out by the time we got back to my place. We sat on the front porch under its light and talked for hours. I decided to share parts of my “backstory” so I wouldn’t be wasting my time (or his). I was nervous as I told him more of my past, health issues and responsibilities, but he pulled my feet up onto his lap, leaned forward and said, “Is that all ya got?”
My gosh, this man was a saint. Not that I’m an ax murderer or anything, but we’ve all got baggage. I had decided not to hide anything, so if he stuck around it was because he really loved me, warts and all.
I was getting the sense he was starting to feel that way.
But that wasn’t all. There were more surprises to come!