I met Susan at a very boring party on July 3rd of 1971. My first impression of her was of a cute young woman with a gorgeous face, a great personality, and an enormous vocabulary – which will always impress an English teacher. I impressed her by coming to the party on my motorcycle and bringing my own 6 pack of Pepsi, as I never drink alcohol when riding a motorcycle. Because the party was a dud, I invited her to go for a ride on my motorcycle to enjoy a piece of pie and a cup of coffee at a place in Bellevue. I’d brought along the spare helmet I carried for just such an occasion – a helmet I’d been lugging around with me for two years. Don’t think I’d ever had the chance to ask someone to wear it.
The next night I was invited to join Susan and a group of friends for a fireworks display at Green Lake. I picked her up on my trusty Honda 450 Street Scrambler and we had a great time. Except of course for stopping on an overpass in a traffic jam because the bike would hardly run. I was so excited to be with her I forgot to turn off the choke!
The day after that I drove Susan and the guy who thought he was her boyfriend to Ft. Lewis for the start of his National Guard time. He wanted me to drive his car back for him. As we left I joked that here I was leaving with his car and his girl. He got the car back, but I was more prophetic about the girl than I could have imagined.
Less than a week later, I took off on a motorcycle ride to Florida; gone almost 5 weeks. Upon my return, with several letters from me sent in the interim, we resumed dating – as often as I could think up reasons for us to be together.
On this date in 1971, ten weeks after meeting (including the weeks I was gone) I asked her out to dinner. We stopped at Kirkland’s Marina park and, as the sun set slowly in the west, I proposed. Neither one of us remembers what I said. She accepted, although we don’t remember that either. Then it was back to the car for the flowers and poem hidden behind the seat, and off to dinner. I was 24 years old. Susan was 19.
When Susan got home she burst into her parent’s bedroom and exclaimed “I’m engaged!” Her father sat up in bed and said “To whom?” (He was also an English teacher – can you tell?).
Ever since that day I’ve had someone in my life who totally believes I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to, which is at times intimidating, because her belief in me cannot be supported by facts or much evidence.
Having someone who believes in you and who you are and offers you their complete trust and love for a lifetime is a treasure so few get to experience.
Lucky all my life in so many ways, my good fortune peaked when I opened my mouth to propose.
What a gift I received for going to a dull party!
Copyright 2013 David Preston