“There is no such thing as love at first sight. Snap out of it!”
That’s what Patricia Talbert says to her friend Marie in Give the Lady a Ride. As the author, I’m the one who made Patricia say these words, but what I believe and what I wrote are two different things.
In the 1950s, when poodle skirts and bobbie socks were popular, one young woman sat in a rag top Chevy at Snappy’s Drive-In with her cousin in Temple, Texas. She watched a square-built man enter the soda shop, seeing only the back of his freckled neck, maybe a fringe of his red hair. She pulled the soda straw from her mouth and announced to her cousin, “That’s the man I’m going to marry.”
Three months later, she did. A couple of years later, I was born–the product of a love that lasted forty-seven years before Daddy died in January 1997.
Years later, and for reasons I no longer remember, I told this story to a college professor. I always thought the experience was unique to my parents, but I was wrong. The professor told me of her college days, how she’d followed the sweet scent of pipe tobacco down the hall of the academic building to the office of a tweed-jacketed man with a beard. She knew she’d marry him the moment she’d smelled his pipe, seeing him only confirmed the belief. In three months, they were wed. Back when we had this conversation, they’d been married twenty-five years.
I first saw MSB from the back–his broad, movie-star shoulders, the cute little bald spot on the back of his dark head. He sat a few pews ahead of me in the church I’d recently joined, and I had a hard time concentrating on that morning’s sermon because I kept wishing he’d turn around. Later, a mutual friend introduced us. Did I know I was going to marry him when we first met? Well, no. That didn’t come until later. We dated a couple of times that spring, then parted ways for some reason. God knew we weren’t quite ready for each other. But late in August, we reconnected. It was during our first date then that I knew he was the one for me. Another week passed, and he proposed. The idea of waiting for a spring wedding bit the dust, and we eloped in November, just over three months from our second “first date.” We’ll be celebrating our twentieth anniversary this year.
In Give the Lady a Ride, Patricia figures Marie is chasing the potential for love, and finds herself wanting to do the same with Talon: explore the possibility that there could be something worthwhile between them. Whether it’s love or just the potential for it, watching love grow makes for a great story.
What do you think? Love at first sight? Or simple attraction? Did you ever chase the potential? Share your opinion–or your love story–and enter the drawing for this cute Texas armadillo.