This week Mr. Bee and I celebrated 20 years of bliss. I thought it might be fun for you to know the story of how we met. It’s my version and someday soon I will let Mr. Bee give you his.
I was newly divorced and relocated back to my hometown of Fort Worth. It was the summer and I offered to help my sister set up her classroom for the first day of school. I met all her friends for lunch, in particular her friend Mandy, which will be the critical part of the story here.
Summer went, and fall arrived. Around October Mr. Bee was helping a friend work on his car (he’s very handy like that) and mentioned that his access to females suitable for dating was pretty slim, did his wife Mandy know of anyone? Mandy asks Sister Bee if I would be interested in meeting her husband’s friend. Sister Bee, with my permission, gives Mandy my name and phone number. Radio silence.
We are now into winter. It’s cold. Mr. Bee later said he sat on my number because his dad had surgery for an aneurysm, but I think it was because he didn’t want to do the whole Christmas gift exchange for a girl he just met.
Mr. Bee called. I was dating someone, and didn’t call him back. He called again. I didn’t call him back. Meanwhile, back to helping Alan with his car, Mr.Bee mentioned that he wasn’t having much luck getting me to call him back. This was reported back to my sister who promptly told me I was being rude and to call the guy back. That she and Mandy went to a lot of trouble to make a love connection and I was being inconsiderate. I always do what my sister tells me to do.
It’s January by now. I call Mr. Bee. I am still dating the same guy (although by this time I was finding him annoying), but offered to meet with Mr. Bee as a networking opportunity for him to meet maybe one of my friends. He picks me up on January 3 (see, it was after NYE so no party for him to worry about taking me to). I open the door. Since he says it wasn’t a “date” he didn’t bother dressing up. He looked like a lumberjack — jeans, a red flannel shirt, and hiking boots. I, on the other hand, had just arrived home from work. I was wearing a suit and rain coat and my three cats were standing next to me at the front door.
We get into his pristine Volvo and he turns on the classical radio. Snooze alert. This guy is either boring or a serial killer because there is absolutely no trash in the car. I wanted to go to Uncle Julio’s for a swirl. He said it was too loud and wanted to hear me talk so we went to The Original for Mexican food. I thought this means he’s either got hearing loss, he’s cheap, or both.
During dinner, I found myself thinking about my grocery list as he droned on about scuba diving. I gave him my life story and I am sure he thought I was delightful. The night came to an end. He took me back to my house, asked if we could see each other again, and I said yes (I didn’t mean it). We shook hands, said our goodbyes and he drove off. I realized I forgot to give him the gate code to exit the neighborhood. As I was walking toward the gate, he realized he couldn’t get out, started to back the car up to drive back to my house, didn’t see me and almost ran me over. Great, he can’t see either I thought.
He called me a few days later and I agreed to meet him for lunch. This time he showed up all shiny and clean in a suit because he was meeting me during his lunch hour. Hmmm.
Sister asked how things were going. I said they were okay. He’s nice.
Next meet up — still networking here — coffee at Starbucks. He was 20 minutes late and I was getting more steamed than my coffee. He finally arrives, apologizes profusely saying he got caught on the phone with a client. We laugh and linger over coffee. I forgive him for being late.
Sister asked how things were going. I said, you know he’s really nice.
Next scene — Kimbell Art Museum for dinner. We tour the exhibit, chat about art, enjoyed dinner. On the way to the car, I made a comment and he didn’t hear me (again with the hearing). He leaned down, put his hand on the small of my back and asked me again what I said. Suddenly, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.
Sister asked me how things were going. I said, I really like him. Alot. I think at this point she was probably cashing in her tickets thinking she’d scored big finding him.
From there, I dumped the weirdo and Mr. Bee and I never looked back. Since we both had been married before, and loved the idea of marriage but just didn’t marry the people right for us, we knew we wanted to be together forever. He asked my parents that fall for their blessing, and the next May we married. We toasted Sister Bee and Mandy at our wedding reception, and as far as I know they retired from matchmaking since their first go at it was a success.
Twenty years later we’ve loved each other through miscarriages, the death of our baby boy John, the birth of our beloved miracle child Miss Bee, the loss of Mr. Bee’s parents, sold our house so we could have my parents live with us, the death of my parents, and my brother’s suicide. We loved being married so much, we’ve renewed our vows twice — once after Miss Bee was born. We put her stroller between us and held our hands over her while we refreshed the vows we had said a few years previously. Then, we renewed our vows again as a new family with my mother and Miss Bee by our side after Daddy passed away.
It’s been the best 20 years of my life. It’s not always been easy, but it has not been hard. I think that’s when you know you are with the right person. There really aren’t any secrets to our success other than we work at keeping the lines of communication open, we apologize when we are wrong, we speak to each other with respect and most importantly, we’ve always made God present in our family. And he makes me laugh. Alot.
Here’s to another 20 years. As his dad said at our wedding reception, “May all your landings be smooth and your lights always green.” Amen.