He had just arrived in Baton Rouge from Indiana two days prior, ready to begin his first engineering job out of college. Actually, he saw me before I ever saw him. He had asked his campus minister for recommendations on where to go to church, and the minister gave him the names of the two largest CoC's in Baton Rouge. He picked one, and that's where he saw me. But that's really his story to tell. Mine begins that night, because we had shown up at the same place, a "Sunday-Night Sing-Along" which took place every Sunday night after church at the home of an older couple, Joe and Candy Lackie. Someone had invited John that morning, and when I walked in the door, there he was. Hmmm.
After singing that evening, he began telling stories from his month-long, post-college adventure in New York City. I thought he was cute, fascinating, and of course, it didn't hurt that he sang bass. He didn't say much to me that evening, but the 4th of July was coming up, and the Singles' Group was having a party. Being in the college group, I was not automatically invited to this, but as a senior at LSU, I had begun attracting the attention of some of the men in the Singles' group. After a couple of rather tedious dates, I had learned the fine art of date-evasion, but one of them had invited me earlier to this particular party. Evasively I had explained to him that I had to work that day and didn't know if I could make it. But suddenly I decided I could make it.
After work that afternoon, I showed up at the home of David and Jocelynn Goff and their four girls, and my gamble paid off- John was there! I followed him around shamelessly. He was flattered, but being a novice in the romance department, he wasn't sure what to do with me- especially since I wasn't such a big talker. But John, never at a loss for words, carried the conversation. As we left for Wednesday night church together that evening, I remember feeling a slight pang of disappointment at the car he was driving: a beat-up, 10-year-old Toyota Celica that didn't even have air conditioning. There are some moments in life where you can catch a glimpse of your future, and this was one of those moments- I just didn't know it at the time, and it's probably just as well.
I left for Panama City the next day, my 21st birthday, because a bunch of us had been invited to stay at a beach house for the weekend. The following Sunday, John took me out for lunch at my favorite restaurant, Drusilla Seafood, thereby securing Most-Favored status with me. We spent the rest of the afternoon experiencing the power of cayenne pepper by making inedible Jambalaya together. The romance was off the ground. We made a Big Mistake later that week by attempting to play tennis, and we have never again tested the strength of our relationship with another tennis match.
John is the only person my mother ever told me not to date, since I made the mistake of telling her the stories he had shared the first evening we met. Those are not the kind of stories a mother wants to hear, and she scolded, "Oh Sandy, don't marry him! He'll make you sleep in bus stations!" But I think she knew it was already too late. I was hooked, and almost a year later, on July 6, we were married.
It was a very good day.