Thirty Valentine Eves ago, I met my sweet husband and soulmate, Gary. The circumstance of our meeting was precarious. We met in a bar - which is so weird because I never, ever went to bars. Back then, I was a twenty-nine year old single mom working at my first job ever - my divorce a mere four weeks away. It was Friday, the thirteenth of February, and a co-worker asked me to accompany her to the Woodcock, a neighborhood bar, after work. She had met a fella named Don, and they had arranged to meet at the Woodcock that evening. I was reluctant because I had my two little girls at home in the after school care of their sixteen year old step brother, Rod.
"Please," Vicky cajoled. "We will stay for one drink only. If he hasn't shown up by the time we finish them, we'll leave. I promise."
I called Rod and he was totally okay with my being a little late. "All right then - just one drink."
When we got to the Woodcock, we each ordered a glass of wine and sat down at a table near the front. About ten minutes later Vicky spied her date entering the bar. 'Oh good,' I thought. Tall and slim, Don chatted briefly with a man at the bar as he ordered himself a beer, then came over to our table.
After a brief introduction, I took a final sip of my drink and said "Well, it was very nice to meet you, but I think I will be on my way and leave the two of you alone."
"No, wait," said Don. "I met a friend at the bar and invited him to join us when I saw Vicky had a friend with her."
"Well, I'm sorry. I have children at home who need their dinner and I really must leave."
"Look, please stay for just a little while and let me buy you another drink. I don't want my friend to think you took one look at him and bolted."
I was just about to inform Don that my list of top priorities did not include his friend's sensitivities, when up walks a handsome cowboy wearing the sweetest smile I had ever seen.
"Leslie, this is Gary."
And the rest as they say, is history. Rod graciously agreed to give the girls their dinner and get them into bed. Gary and I spent the evening getting to know one another, laughing and dancing. The evening melted away, and before we knew it it was after midnight, and we had danced our way into Valentine's Day. We dated for exactly four years and were finally married on February 14th, 1985. We love our Valentine's Day anniversaries and I am ever so grateful to Vicky for talking me into going to a bar with her that fateful evening.