Sunday, August 5, 2012
Before I met my wife, I dated a girl named Julia. Her memory had been triggered in me by the entry in my desk calendar for yesterday, which was her birthday. The calendar is Worse Case Scenarios and How to Prepare for Them., and the entry was "How to Survive If Your Car Careens Down a Mountainside". How we met and began dating is one of the greater adventures in my life. The beginning was not unlike running off a cliff blind.
It was in the spring of 1981. I was going to college, acting in Community Theater and working at Home Depot. It was a crazy schedule, but I was young and thrived on the lack of sleep. One weekend, I was invited by my best friend Karl to a cast party for a players group that had put on a production of Brigadoon at North Georgia College. It would be a big event and I would meet some neat people. He said everything would be happening Saturday and drive on up.
Because of scheduling conflicts at work and some car issues, I wasn't able to get out of Atlanta until after lunch. The drive up GA 400 was pretty uneventful and I arrived at Karl's trailer in Dahlonega about 3:30PM. He met me at the door and said he had the dates of the party screwed up. The play and cast party had taken place the night before and I had driven the 60 miles up from my office for nothing. After I ripped Karl a new one for screwing up, he said he would make it up to me. A friend of his from the players group was staying at his family's lake house about 15 miles out of town. We could go there with my case of beer and party all night. I did ask him if he had called the guy before we left. He said it wouldn't matter if we showed up, so come on let's go. I agreed and we drove out to the lake house.
When we arrived, we were met by Karl's friend Buck who showed us inside. It was a nice cabin. Open floor plan. Two bedrooms downstairs. Sleeping loft upstairs. Nicely appointed. And sleeping on the sofa was a rather large girl, Julia. She had a far too good time partying the night before. Prior to passing out, she had gotten sick and had messed up her clothes. Buck gave her a T-shirt to cover up with and tucked her in so she could sleep it off. I know better than to wake a sleeping drunk, so I walked quietly by her and took a seat at the kitchen table.
As Buck and I started talking, it became apparent we had a great deal in common. He was a bit older than me, but had grown up in the area of town. Our parents had also grown up near each other in Savannah and were well acquainted with each other. We also shared an interest in photography and nature. One of the better sober conversations I had had in quite some time.
We had talked for a good hour and a half , when we heard a slight moan come from the sofa. The zombie was arising from the dead. Karl decided to go over to the sofa and start messing with Julia's hair. Soon, his hands started drifting to the edge of the blanket. He was about to rip the cover down when Julia began to loudly yell at him to leave her alone. I piped up and said: "Karl, act your age and not like a dirty old man!" Oh, boy. That turned out to be the best pick up line I had ever used before or since.
When Julia finally regained her balance, she came over to the table and gave me a kiss. One thing led to another, and that night began a four year, off and on roller coaster of a relationship. We would date, get close, break up, date other people, get back together, and break up again. I would answer her panicked calls late at night. She would come bail me out when I was in trouble. I learned from her that looks aren't that important. That you could be short and stocky and still be the most lovable thing on the face of this earth. I sometimes think we could have made the relationship last had we not been so much alike.
So, Julia, if you stumble across this, Happy Belated Birthday. I hope you have found happiness where you are and that you will always find your path. I will always cherish our time together.