For dinner the other night, we had wheat pita pockets with shredded sandwich steaks, mushrooms, onions, peppers and American cheese. I remarked to Daughter-Only's boyfriend, A.M. that they were our (admittedly pale) imitation of the "Number 9 Pokket" from D'Angelo--a New England sandwich chain where, at the Loudon Rd., Concord, NH location, Hubby and I had our first (and only "official") date in 1987.
Please do not read this as a pathetic, poor-me confession, but that date was also my first (and only "official") date. I was eighteen and had suffered through four years of assorted crushes bookended by my epic, recurring crush on Mr. High School. As a pathologically shy Army brat, I was never in the sorts of social situations that would lead to "normal" adolescent interaction. To make matters worse, the few people who did have daily contact with me were treated to the defense mechanism of sarcastic one-liners designed to keep everyone from noticing how scared shitless I actually was. (This worked depressingly well and I was often told by people who subsequently got to know me better that I had terrified them at first.)
Anyway. My first date. Our first date. We went to D'Angelo, where Not-Yet-Hubby ate a Number 9 Pokket. It looked and smelled spectacular--and it's surprising that I am nostalgic--and not bitter--about the Number 9 since I did not even eat a Number 9 that night. I did not, in fact, eat anything because, really? I was so nervous, there was no way in hell I was going to eat in front of him at all--let alone eat anything as messy as the things on offer at D'Angelo.
We left D'Angelo and decided to go for a drive and eventually ended up on some dirt road in the wilds of New Hampshire, just after dark. He parked near a little bridge at the edge of a narrow stand of trees and asked if I'd like to walk along the creek that flowed there.
By the light of a full moon (I'm not even kidding), he led me to the mossy bank of the creek where we sat together for a few quiet minutes, watching moonlight dance across the ripples as the water gurgled against the rocks.
He turned to me with the kind of soulful expression only a nineteen-year-old boy could muster and said, "You have the most beautiful eyes."
And I, in what I hoped was my most soulful voice, said, "Thanks, they were a Kmart Blue Light Special."
Because...come on! Full moon, babbling creek, soulful staring. Intensity overload. Cliche overload. It was a toss-up as to which pushed me over the edge, to be honest.
To his credit, he laughed at the joke and we talked for a few more minutes, about what I can't even vaguely remember and then, he leaned in to kiss me. The moment our lips touched, I dissolved completely...
...into uncontrollable giggles. I don't mean cute little giddy giggles either. I mean fish-out-of-water-flopping-around-on-the-mossy-bank-of-that-damned-creek-gasping-for-air hysterical laughter. And, while I know fish do not generally snort, there may have even been some snorting involved.
Again to his credit, Not-Yet-Hubby gave me a minute to recover, graciously accepted my apologies and tried again. And I laughed again, and apologized again, and then we gave up and got back into the car and drove up and down the Kancamagus Highway, listening to the Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 2 on cassette because it was 1987, and that was cutting edge car technology, thank you very much.
Three-and-a-half months later, we were married. And twenty-five years later, we serve our "Number 9's" with a heaping helping of well-aged, leftover giggles on the side.
*"Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us..." Burger King, of course, not D'Angelo. It's always nice when my embarrassingly encyclopedic knowledge of 1970s TV commercials can be put to good-ish use.
The Traveling Salesman
15 hours ago