Shannon here: H.L. Wegley shares insight into his real life romance with the humorous tale of his first date with his future wife. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of print or e-book copy of his latest Romantic Suspense, Chasing Freedom. Deadline: March 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s H.L.:
Our First Date: Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be
I didn’t buy her a bunch of blue ribbons to tie up her hair. But we were definitely too long at the fair.
It was late August. I had just graduated from high school and my friends seemed to have scattered to the four winds. For the first time in twelve years, I was alone. The county fair was only three days away and I had made up my mind. Somehow, I was going to that fair with a girl.
After my aunt insisted, I decided to ask the youngest daughter of some family friends. She and I had gone to first grade together, but I hadn’t seen her much since then because my family moved to another school district.
I made a lame excuse to talk to her dad about a job and drove to her house, where I got my first good look at the young woman I remembered as a short, pudgy, red-haired, freckle-faced, Irish girl. A lot had changed in ten years. Short and pudgy had become tall and slender. Red hair had been replaced with dark auburn. But both Irish and the sprinkling of freckles remained.
Many years later I learned that, according to Meyers and Briggs, my wife and I are ESFP and INTJ personalities, respectively—polar opposites in every way. But you know how magnets behave under those conditions. We’ve since looked up the statistics on ESFPs marrying INTJs. There aren’t any. Nada. Books say the attraction is huge, but the differences never allow the relationship to make it to the altar. But, I’m digressing.
I asked her to the fair and she said yes. Three days later, this INTJ (the research-scientist) borrowed his dad’s big Pontiac with a 389 engine and picked up an ESFP (the entertainer) and the big muscle car rumbled down the highway to the county fair.
By the time we arrived, it had become obvious that getting reacquainted was being hindered by my INTJ-ness (“I” equals introvert) clashing with her ESFP-ness (“E” means extrovert). So, what I couldn’t tell her in words, I decided to show her by deeds. I was mister macho, athlete extraordinaire, and she needed to know that.
After entering the fairgrounds, I led her past the carnival rides, past the food, and straight to the carnival games. We stopped in front of those lead milk bottles where 50¢ buys two throws with a spongy rubber ball. Knocking down all three weighted bottles with one throw gets you a giant teddy bear.
Forty years before rotator-cuff surgery, I had a strong arm. My second throw sent all three bottles crashing down. Macho man had won his girl a big teddy bear and her Irish eyes were smiling. Words weren’t needed now. Research scientist had outwitted introvert and spoken loudly. So, we headed toward the carnival rides.
Macho man took her on the most frightening rides—the Loop-O-Plane, the Giant Hammer, and finally, my specialty, the Rock-O-Plane. I had mastered this ride and could keep that rocking cage upside down three-fourths of the way around the big loop.
Something wasn’t right. The extrovert had gone silent. Months later I learned why. She was terrified of the rides. But something else wasn’t right either.
It was time to get extrovert something to eat or drink, but my thoughts of food brought waves of nausea. Motion sickness had hit macho man like a blow to his solar plexus. The introvert grew even more silent as the battle for his stomach’s contents grew furious. Now that the frightening rides were over, extrovert began talking again, asking what was wrong.
No guy trying to impress a girl will admit that the rides he just made her endure had turned macho man into barf boy. And he surely doesn’t want to let her see him puking his—well, you get the picture.
I headed for the nearest men’s room and fought the battle of the barf, hoping she wouldn’t wonder why Johnny was so long at the fair’s restrooms. At least she had the teddy bear to keep her company.
When I came out, she was waiting with that oh-dear-what-can-the-matter-be expression.
I made it through the evening with my male dignity intact. Though our first date lacked the romantic qualities we hoped for, I told myself that she had the bear I won, she had seen macho man, and I’d hidden barf boy, so maybe there would be another date where we could talk without fearing the consequences.
There was another date. The movie was boring, so we talked. And, on the second anniversary of that fair date, an ESFP married an INTJ and made history. We’re still married after 51 years and still have that teddy bear.
About H.L: H.L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life, he served as a Research Scientist in the Atmospheric Physics Department at a national lab. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked 20+ years in large-scale computer systems development at Boeing before retiring near Seattle, where he and his wife enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, hiking beaches in the Olympic National Park, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic-suspense novels. He is an award-winning author with 7 high-action, romantic suspense novels and 2 nonfiction books published and four more novels on the way. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Chasing Freedom, Book 3 Against All Enemies, The Prequel:
How far would you be willing to go if you were chasing freedom?
When Allie Santiago, international scholar at Oregon State University, and her family are captured and labor trafficked by the same drug cartel that drove her father from Mexico, she learns the cartel thugs plan to sell her to human traffickers. Allie escapes, running a marathon through the mountains of Northern California, and collapses in the arms of Jeff Jacobs, a disgraced Olympic decathlete who wants to regain both his honor and his former glory. When Jeff’s actions engage the FBI and US Marshals to protect Allie and free her family from the cartel, a war breaks out in the mountains along the Oregon-California border.
Will Jeff’s efforts enable the two to survive and their budding relationship to grow? Not unless he can keep Allie and her family out of the black hole known as asylum detention. And the reward he now seeks for his efforts, Allie’s love, might evaporate like his dream of Olympic gold once Allie learns about Jeff’s scandalous past. A modern-day story of honor and courage, faith and love, and the importance of family.
Chasing Freedom won second place in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America 2017 contest for the Inspirational Novel category.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now! Chasing Freedom – Amazon
Question for Readers: Chasing Freedom tells the story of a family seeking asylum in the United States because their lives are in danger. What kind of obstacles and dangers do you think an asylum seeker faces after entering the United States?
Come back March 13th to help me celebrate the release of my latest book!