Twenty-six years ago on a late July evening, I reluctantly agreed to a date with a boy. Truth be known, I didn't really want to go, because he was a bit older and a bit geeky, but I didn't have the guts to turn him down. It sure didn't make matters any easier that he was a friend of the guy I had just finished dating for past three years. All day long, as I sat on my lifeguard tower at the local pool, butterflies turned in my stomach over the pending evening.
However, I devised what I thought was the perfect strategy. I'd go, but I planned to give off the "I'm not interested" vibe which would cause him to never want to ask me out again. It was simple and I was sure I could make it work. I just had to survive the evening, I kept telling myself. How bad could one evening possibly be anyways?
So when he picked me up at my house he presented me with a single yellow rose. Ugh. Heap the coals on me, why don't you? Don't like me, okay? Please let's just not make this any harder than it has to be.
So, we got into his little red Volkswagen GTI and began the long drive to Laguna Beach to attend the Pageant of the Masters.
I have to admit, I kind of liked the car - and it helped turn his geek factor down a bit. We began to make conversation, and it was actually quite enjoyable. I softened up a bit. It wasn't going to be so bad. He was actually nice and rather sweet, and was definitely one of the godliest guys I'd ever encountered.
Actually, to my pleasant surprise, we had a completely wonderful evening. We were hitting it off pretty good. After the show, we went out for hot cocoa at a sleepy Newport Beach coffee shop. I wasn't anxious to get home or end the evening at all now.
After we drove home, he walked me to my door. I kind of liked him, so I invited him to my parents' 25th anniversary party, which was the next night at our house. I don't know what I was thinking. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. As I walked up the stairs to my bedroom, I thought to myself, "I could marry him." What a difference a few hours makes!
So, he came to the party the next day and met my parents. Then he asked me out again. We went out to dinner. Then a day at Disneyland where he was bold enough to ask if he could hold my hand. We had a whirlwind six weeks of getting to know each other and were quite inseparable and in love.
Then on September 28th he gave me a diamond ring and asked me to be his wife. I think you know the rest of the story. :-)
Seriously, that's how it really happened! 26 years later, on another late July evening, we found ourselves at the Pageant. A lot has changed since then, but he still brought the same blue backpack with an extra jacket for me. :-)
Over the years, we've gone to the Pageant a handful of times, and even took our kids once. We love it. It had been awhile so this year I surprised Rich with tickets. I got them for July 24th, the exact day we went 26 years ago. :-) Wish I had a picture of us on that date, but I don't.
Rich took the day off for the occasion, and after breakfast at one of our fave places we relaxed on Laguna beach awhile before heading to a great dinner at 230 Forest Avenue and then on to the Pageant for the 8:30 show.
It was a perfectly perfect summer day with my date from long ago. :-) My heart was full.
I don't think many people know about the Pageant. It's quite a unique event. It's basically a live art show - famous paintings and sculptures portrayed with real people in them. There is also a beautiful orchestra and it's all in a great outdoor amphitheater. There is an announcer who gives the history of each piece which is thoroughly enjoyable, and the live art is really quite breathtaking. It's hard to describe, except to say that it's an amazing show and an incredible experience to go. If you are ever looking for something fun to do in the L.A. area (well, a bit beyond, but totally do-able in a day), you ought to consider heading down to Laguna and checking it out. Don't forget to bring binoculars no matter how good your seats are. You'll want to look at the art in detail. Click here for more info. It's one of my favorite summer things to do!
The show is about to begin!