m&l - march 2000

  in the beginning

this is the story of how we met and our first few dates, as told by laura. michael may have a different spin - we'll hope to see his story someday :-)

how we met

I met michael on the fateful evening of september 16, 1998. that was the date of my daughter grace's fourth birthday. I had attended a party at chuck e cheese for her with my family, my older daughter elaine, my ex-husband ted, and the girls' babysitter erika.

I had previously arranged to meet a gentleman at 9pm in lincoln park, after the party. he was interested in accompanying me to the opera later in the month and wanted to meet first to get to know each other. after parking my truck illegally near the meeting spot and chatting in the bar for 30 minutes or so, we decided to visit my old neighborhood haunt, cody's public house (corner of barry and paulina), to shoot a little pool.

we arrived around 10pm and gathered a couple of sierra nevadas. we sat outside in the beer garden for an hour then moved indoors to put up our quarters for a game. a small gang of guys dressed in softball uniforms (if you could call them uniforms - really they were cut-off sweatshirts, softball pants and spikes) were already playing pool at the sole table while watching the cubs game in which sammy sosa was going for his record-breaking home run.

I was wearing a longish black shirt, a mustard-colored top and had my long hair in a loose ponytail. I guess I looked like a woman who had gone out directly from work, which is exactly what I had done. one of the guys kept sidling up to me, asking me to let my hair free and complimenting me about how beautiful I was. I found him charming and could feel myself blushing like a schoolgirl with all of the attention. those who know me know that laura blushing & acting like a girl is not a common occurance - I knew right then and there that something special was up with this handsome man.

meanwhile, the gentleman with whom I had arrived seemed oblivious to all of the goings-on and I took best advantage to keep the attention of the amorous man I had just met. we played two or three games of pool and I played ok, but he was great. at the faintest indication that he was about the leave with his buddies, I dove into the women's restroom and jotted my name and phone number on a little sliver of a toys r us receipt with the message "call me. y not?" when I emerged, he and his friends were starting to head out the door. I walked up to him, as if to thank him for the fun pool games, and shook his hand. as I did, I transferred the little slip of paper into his hand as discretely as possible.

the next day, I gave my riding partner priscilla the report of my antics of the night before. we were both incredulous that I had actually given out my number to a stranger. I told her I just knew somehow that he was special.

days went by and no call. priscilla asked me every day if I had heard from him but I did not. ten days had gone by and I had finally convinced myself that he was not going to call and/or that he was already married when I picked up the message from my home machine - it was HIM! I was excited and called him back right away. finally we connected on the phone and I fell in love with his voice right then and there. what a wonderful timbre he had, I could almost feel the vibrations right through the telephone.

I told him that there was a party being thrown by a good friend of mine two weeks later and that I would like to bring him along as my date. he thought it would be a good idea to meet once first so we agreed to get together for a beer on the following tuesday night after I rode dax in barrington. I provided the directions, as best I knew them, and we did not speak again until that night.

our first date

finally tuesday arrived and I went to the barn as usual. I stopped at my parent's house afterwards to get cleaned up and then walked the three blocks to the restaurant where we were to meet. when I arrived, michael was not there but I ran into the restaurant owner who had a horse in the neighborhood and who I had talked with before. just as I walked out and then back into the restaurant, I saw a white honda park and michael jump out.

wow. he was just as fine as I remembered he was. we walked in together and then I was beset upon by the restaurant owner to talk horses. I could not get him to stop! it took me about five minutes to extricate myself from the conversation before I could turn my attention to michael. he did not look pleased with the progress of the evening thus far. so much for first impressions!

the waitress came over and asked what we wanted to drink. she provided a list of beers and I selected the bass ale. little did I realize that not only would michael select the same, but that bass ale was his all-time favorite drink. major points scored! we talked about everything that night, including the fact that we both owned older dogs. score again! we seemed to have a lot in common and our discussions grew animated.

we repared to a local establishment near the train to downtown and spent the evening deep in conversation about everything and anything. I did not want to go home but the last train for downtown left barrington at 1130pm and I had to make it. we waited near the station for the train to arrive. as it did, I smacked him on the lips before picking up my bags and running down the platform.

our second date - sam's party oct 3, 1998

saturday night that week was the night of my friend sam's party. I was excited as I knew sam had a new woman and I wanted to meet her. I was also excited to see michael again, to find out if he was as nice a guy as I thought he was. I barely made it home from the barn in time to jump into the shower and throw on some clothes. I thought I looked pretty slinky in a short black satin skirt, no hose, black heels and a tight-fitting top. michael arrived about 30 mins after he was scheduled and we headed off to logan square.

the night of the party was cool and brisk. we found parking fairly close by after a quick stop at the liquor store. I greeted sam and introduced michael. we had a great time. I drank too much beer and ate too much chocolate. we stood outside on the balconey and I smoked cigarettes. we did the limbo in the living room. michael kissed me several times and I wanted more and more, finally asking him "want to go back outside and mash with me?"

when we fell in love

I can still remember the night of michael's friend robby glick's wedding reception/party at john barleycorn's in lincoln park like it was last weekend. michael invited me at least four or five times to the party on saturday night but I did not think that I could make it and kept putting him off. finally I determined that if I was going to be fox-hunting on sunday morning, then I might be able to stay at my folk's house in barrington saturday night, which would enable me to accompany him to the party.

I packed all of my things into my usual barn clothes bag and headed off to barrington early afternoon saturday. I dropped the kids off at my parent's house and drove to michael's place in streamwood. we had to leave by 5pm to make the party downtown on time, so we had to be efficient. my dark green velvet dress was long and flowing, with a rounded but deep neckline that highlighted my mother's beautiful jewelry, which she had lent to me for the occasion. my hair for once was not encumbered with tiebacks or bands. michael was resplendent in his sport coat, tie, white shirt and black shorts and sneakers (the groom requested this attire of all of the men attending).

just like with the bass ale on our first date, this was the first time that I found out that dark green is michael's favorite color. more brownie points! I had more surprises in store with that outfit but michael did not delve into these mysteries until much later in the evening.

at the party, michael kept calling me "gwenivere" and I responded in kind by calling him "lancelot". our loving endearments only added to the magical feeling of the evening as michael made me feel like a desirable maiden and I saw him as my white knight in shining armor. somehow during the course of the evening I came to know "this is it". finally I had found the man of my dreams.

sunepilogue : moments of note

the next monday at work, michael sent me a dozen beautiful red roses.

two days before my 35th birthday I met michael's parents at an engagement party for his brother jeff.

for my 35th birthday, michael surprised me with a stretch limo for a two-hour tour of the city and a late-night reservation at morton's for filet mignon and cabernet.

on michael's birthday we went to harvest on huron for dinner and then to the house of blues with private balcony seats, for a steve morse concert.

we went to the florida keys on our first vacation together in february 1999.

michael proposed to me at 230am on june 10, 1999 on my first foray out of bed after I had been sick with strep for a week.

we went to cancun mexico for anthony crews' wedding on july 3, 1999

michael and I watched the diamond & platinum engagement ring being made on november 22, 1999

michael & laura
march 2000
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