One Sunday changed my world.
The first time I saw Mr. Dorsey was in church. My dad was the new pastor and I was singing in the choir. I saw Gina sitting in the pew and next to her was a good looking guy I had never seen. I remember thinking,“Where did Gina find him?”
There had been lots of nice and nice looking guys in college. I had dated a few and even thought I had found “the one” a couple of times.
But since moving to this small Georgia town, I had seen nary a fellow that I might even be slightly interested in.
After church I made it my business to find out about the good looking stranger. Turned out he and Gina were just friends and he worked for her brother-in-law. “Yay!”
And Gina and his sister were friends. And I again I say, “Yay!”
He called a few days later and asked me on a date. He suggested the fair.
When I think back to those days of dating, I almost let a couple of really silly things become “deal breakers.”
Things that are so insignificant in the face of real love.
Things that do not make the radar screen when the two of you have, together, faced down trials, disease, accidents, death.
What were the some of the attractive qualities I saw in Mr. Dorsey?
Here are just a few:
What was it that kept me from focusing on nit-picking deal breakers?
He loved me. He really loved me. He loved me for me. He valued me. He never tried to make me into a different kind of person. He already loved the me I was.
(Before meeting him, others I had dated seemed to want me to be like someone else. I never felt completely enough as I already was. And maybe that is when you know you have found the right one. He loves the you, you already are.)
We’ve been through tragedy. We’ve clung tightly to each other through it. I fell in love with him all over again as I watched him tenderly care for Andrew. He tended to him as a shepherd for a lamb. I watched. My heart swelled. And then my heart broke. And Mr. Dorsey, my husband, caught the pieces in his hands.
One Sunday my world changed.
|We took Andrew to an art show Spring ’09. He took this picture.
|Our Family ~ Ski Trip ’07
So, what is a piggy park?
Turns out it was famous in Upson County. I had been living in the town for several weeks and had never heard of the pig park. It was not a subject of discussion where I worked.
Work. What a disappointment. I had ended up in the position of the woman who had encouraged me to submit my resume. Oops. Not good. I got her job in the administrative building and she got moved across the street to the service building. After that, everytime I was introduced to an employee in the service building, I got the evil eye.
What a way to put your best foot forward and make new friends in a new town.
Speaking of feet, I wondered if I was going to ruin my pumps at the pig park. Well…I probably won’t even get out. I’ll just roll my window down and wave to the little pigs.
Down Hiway 19 we drove in the dark. My date turned into a fast food place and pulled up to a speaker.
He ordered, “I’ll have the Hamburger Deluxe. Make that two. With Cokes.”
“Are we eating before we go see the pigs?” I asked.
“Look at the sign.”
I turned around and read the big sign at the edge of the Hiway.
If you ever find yourself in Thomaston, Georgia, do stop in at the Piggie Park
and wave at the little pigs. Tell them I sent you.
(more to come…oink, oink)
I watched the brother-sister dance team as they exited the stage to a smattering of polite applause.
Following their act, several “soloists” took the stage. I use that term to describe the acts who sang along with recordings of a professional artist. Apparently it was too much trouble to lip-sync and too much trouble to sing a real solo. You know the kind where you actually sing alone and not the kind where you are singing with the radio?
Cartwheels in spandex was looking better by the minute. Maybe brother and sister would win!
My turn. Taking the microphone I moved across the stage as I sang.
“It must have been cold there in my shadow to never have sunlight on your face.”
I sang to the audience. I sang to the judges. I “emoted.”
Emote: to express emotion, especially in an excessive or theatrical manner
“I can flyer higher than an eagle ‘cause you are the wind beneath my wings.”
And the eagle landed. But not in 1st, 2nd, nor 3rd place.
The dancers of The Worm and a couple of “soloists” took the prizes.
Afterwards, my good looking date commiserated with me and told me it must have been rigged.
We left the fairgrounds holding hands and he suggested we go to Piggy Park.
Again, “Where am I? I get beat in a talent competition by The Worm and some pseudo soloists, and my date wants to take me to a pig farm.”
Could this night get any better?
Driving in the dark, down Hiway 19, I was about to find out.
Three Dates at the West Central Georgia Fair
The first night we went to see my date’s nephew compete in the Little Mr. Pageant.
The second night we went for the corn dogs.
The third night we went because I needed to make my car payment.
I had a college degree. I had a job. I had a car. But I was broke; the college degree came with college loan payments.
Having heard on the radio that there was a talent competition at the fair with a first prize of $200 (ding-ding-ding-car payment), I decided I would sing and, hopefully, take home the prize money.
I had begun my freshman year in college on a partial music scholarship. My voice teacher was the best. I had auditioned for the touring choir and traveled nationally and internationally, singing first soprano for four years.
Before changing my major to Communications and Modern Foreign Languages, my teacher and I had discussed the idea of my moving to New York, continuing my vocal training and setting my sights on the Opera stage. (And right about now you are thinking, “Of course you won’t win a talent competition at the West Central Georgia Fair singing an Italian aria.”)
And, of course, you would be right but even trained singers can belt out some pop music. I put on my pretty dress, hot rolled my hair, applied my Merle Norman eye liner in “teal,” and stashed my accompaniment cassette of “Wind Beneath My Wings” in my Liz Claiborne bag (the doctor’s satchel in taupe). I was ready to win a car payment!
I felt confident that I could win, if not first place, either second or third. Surely I could win third? $75 – come on. Seriously. And then I heard the theme music to Beverly Hills Cop and saw a dance duo in matching leotards – a brother and sister dance team. They were up first.
Ohhhhh, they won’t win. Cartwheels? Where am I? Was there a tornado in the night and I was blown away to some parallel county in the Deep South? A place where brothers and sisters in garish dance costumes do the Worm while the fragrance of fried pork skins wafts? I repeat, “Where was I?”
With second thoughts on how this might all go down, I waited my turn, nervously tapping my snakeskin, peep toe pumps.
Well…at least my date is good looking.
(to be continued)
Our first date was at a county fair. And so was our second. And our third.
He was a Southern boy who never met a stranger. I admired that. He was polite. He opened the doors for me. He told me I was beautiful. And he sent me dozens of yellow roses ~ my favorite.
I was a recent college graduate with big dreams and big hair living in a small town.
Taken a couple of weeks before I met my Southern beau.
The photographer told me not to smile in this one!
My father was a preacher who had planted churches all over the country while serving God and people.
His father* was an Army man who had served his country and whose roots were planted in the middle of Georgia .
Our mothers were both raised in the South and each loved her husband and children. And both could put a meal on the table that would make your mouth water and your tongue say, “Thank you, Maam.”
I moved from my college town in Tennessee to his central Georgia town the summer of my graduation. Although I had accepted a job at a local newspaper office in Tennessee, my dad convinced me to come home. “Home,” at that time, was an even smaller town in south Georgia. It seemed my chances at a career and in finding a husband were getting as small as the small towns I was living in.
That summer my parents moved from the charming little town of Alma, Georgia, to the slightly larger town of Thomaston in central Georgia. At least I was getting closer to Atlanta ~ only one hour away! And I had plans for Atlanta and me.
But on a Sunday in September all my plans were about to change.
*I never met my husband’s father. He passed away from leukemia when my husband was 16.
(I sent my husband an email this morning to tell him I had a surprise for him on my blog.So I got an email in reply with “WOW” in the subject line and he wrote: “OK I was surprised by the post. I can not wait to see what happens next.”
To which I replied, “Well…you KNOW what happens next.” And now I’m wondering if I make something up, will he know it?)