Have you ever asked a couple how they met? I love hearing the details of that fateful moment, that spark of attraction when two lives have collided; never to be the same again. The answers vary: an awkward party, a relative’s wedding, a casual conversation in the supermarket line. No matter how dramatic or mundane the circumstances, most couples inevitably light up and become very animated when telling their story! They finish each other’s sentences, playfully contradict their mate's version of the circumstances and usually have a good laugh. It's a fun conversation that leaves a smile on everyone's face. Try it at a party! You’ll have a much better time and leave with two new friends, I promise.
When I first met my husband,Tim, I was not on the dating scene. I had recently ended a three year relationship and the break up was messy. My X was angry. The toxic combination of our split and his bipolar made him unpredictable and somewhat frightening. I had moved out of our house in Los Angeles and into a tiny cottage right below the Hollywood sign.
In the early 90’s, my Hollywood friends were a large group of southerners nicknamed “The Mississippi Mafia”. They weren't all necessarily from Mississippi, just sassy southerners. Being originally from Oklahoma and still carrying a pretty heavy accent (to this day!) I fit right in. They were a rowdy group of writers, directors, actors, set designers and misfits. The ‘Queen’ of the Mafia was an influential writer, (I'll call her Nina) who managed a monthly poetry reading at a local hipster coffee shop. One month, she extended an invitation to the Mississippi Mafia to submit poetry. The whole gang took this as a creative challenge and immediately got to work on their submissions. Nina even pulled some strings and made arrangements to exclusively publish the group’s work. The challenge was on.
The day of the poetry reading, the coffee house was buzzing with creative energy. A lone mike stood on a small stage as the MM arrived in artsy attire, smoking cigarettes and flasks. I wore my uniform of the day; a long pretty floral dress and my trusty Doc Martens. One by one, my friends stood alone on stage and read their poems. The performances and writing were incredible! Everyone had really taken the challenge to heart and hit some pretty strong chords. I read my poem and also Nina's beautiful verses. (She had a crippling case of stage fright) I was relieved to be off stage and was ready to relax when this really cute new guy stood at the microphone and read a poem about God. It was a funny piece about a guy who was looking for God, had located him and was sorely disappointed due to the fact that God had some pretty disgusting bad habits. The crowd loved it. Who was this guy?
The ‘rap” party for the launch of the first poetry reading was at Nina’s beautifully appointed Hollywood hills home. The champagne flowed and we celebrated in true Mississippi Mafia style! The God poem guy was there playing guitar. I remember thinking “He’s really cute. Who could I fix him up with?” I was nowhere near thinking of dating again. As the party revved up, Nina introduced me to Tim in the kitchen. He was charming (not at all Southern-a Chicago boy!) and funny and had these beautiful piercing blue eyes. He asked for my number and I gave it to him.
My X was getting more and more unreasonable. He had an incident in a bar and had been arrested. He found out where I was living and would stop by uninvited. I suddenly didn't feel quite as comfortable in my little cottage. When Tim called, I refused to go out with him, but I never gave him a reason. I didn’t want to pull him into the drama of my X’s erratic behavior. Plus, I was an emotional wreck. This went on for months.
Six months later, Tim called to see if I wanted to go to a movie. I told him that I was busy. He said this: “Okay, Lori, I guess I’m going to have to give up on you. I’ve been trying for a long time.” My heart skipped a beat. "No, don't!" I abruptly shouted. I explained to him that I was volunteering at an orphanage with my dogs that day. I loved taking my dogs to play with the kids. It was the highlight of their week and mine! Tim insisted on going with m
When I got to the orphanage and met Tim at the playground with my dogs, my heart went pitter patter. So tall and handsome and those EYES. From across the field the kids spotted the dogs and came running towards us. Out of nowhere, Tim took off running with the dogs and about fifteen 8-12 year olds. I watched as a trail of giddy children chased this regular pied piper all around the property! I joined in and we all played and laughed for an hour straight.
Afterward, as I was loading the dogs back into the car, I noticed that Tim had disappeared. I went into the orphanage office and found him filling out the paper work to volunteer on a regular basis. My heart melted.
I fell in love with my husband that day. We spent many hours together at the orphanage; playing with the dogs, creating and performing musicals together for the children and doing art and other projects. The time we spent together there revealed what a compassionate, loving and sweet man my husband is. After 3 months, we were engaged and married within a year. Twenty five years later, my heart still goes pitter patter. xoxo Lori