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The Christmas when it all came into focus
I remember waiting at baggage claim in Baltimore for my father to pick me up. Not surprisingly, I was on the phone with Amy talking about everything and anything. We were joined at the hip, except for the small detail that I hadn't seen the woman face to face in 18 months.
Oh yeah, this is not your typical love story.
After I got off the phone with her, my Dad, who was driving the gold-colored Chrysler mini-van, asked, "Who was that on the phone?"
"Amy Holzer? Your ex-girlfriend?"
"Why are you talking to her again?"
"Dad, I'm thinking that I want to marry her."
"Yeah. I think so."
"Your mother and I always liked her. We were surprised you let her fall through your fingers the first time."
"Well, I guess I just wasn't sure at the time."
The wisdom of parental counsel
As usual, my mother had outdone herself with the decorations. The live, fragrant Christmas tree was filled with years' worth of colorful family mementos. The gifts were piled high around its base as it sat in the middle of their living room which featured huge picture windows on three sides showcasing beautiful views into the woods of Potomac, Maryland.
The prominent mantelpiece over the now defunct living room fireplace was adorned with fresh garland, small red apples, large brown pinecones and white votive candles in their glasses. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.
I was interrogating my parents about their courtship in the kitchen. My Dad, standing 6'8" tall, was wearing a button-up ivory cable knit sweater, sipping a tall glass of ice water. And my mother was busily preparing the evening meal.
"I want to know everything. Start from the beginning. Dad, you were set up on a blind date, double date with Mom by Tim, your roommate in Georgetown who later married Mom's sister Theodora."
"So where did you first meet Mom?" I inquired.
"Right here in this very kitchen actually."
When Gar, my grandfather, died, my mother inherited the house and they moved from Bethesda, a neighboring town, into the home of her youth.
"What did you think of her? What was your first impression?"
My mother looked up from her chopping to see what he would say.
"I thought she was very attractive." She smiled.
"What did you think of Gar and Omi?" Omi was our nickname for my maternal grandmother.
"I don't have much of a recollection of them that evening. I was focused on your mother."
They went to a concert in downtown Washington, D.C. And then my Dad reminded me that they drove to the airport, watched the planes take off and land, talking about everything and anything into the wee hours of the morning.
"Adam, by that point, I had dated 200 women. In a very short time frame, I knew that your mother had the strength of character that I was looking for in a future wife and mother of my children. In fact, on my second date, I asked her whether she would be open to marrying me."
Needless to say, their courtship didn't reflect mine with Amy.
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