I am of the opinion that it is the embarrassing and awkward moments in dating that are the litmus test for long term compatibility. If you can’t find humor in those situations that strip all pretense and that pull down the most carefully constructed facade when your dating, there is little hope you will be able to laugh your way through the trials and tribulations of life that provide endless opportunities for gifted comedians to prosper.
To a degree I base this on our year and half courtship and the 28 year marriage that has followed. As an example consider the episode of the wet pants.
I had just purchased a 1964 Dodge truck and was unsure of its overall condition so my girlfriend, now my dearest friend and wife, agreed to follow me to the ranch in her Charger. We were about five miles from town when the temperature gauge began a slow but steady climb so I pulled over, climbed out, and opened the hood
My cursory look under the hood was cut short with the realization there was a spreading sense of wet warmth at the crotch level. Well, as it turned out the radiator had a perfectly positioned pin hole leak.
Now, here I am in front of my new truck with wet pants. Waiting patiently behind the truck is my girlfriend. My embarrassment was met with a smile as I walked back to her car. How could I have expected anything else?
On one of our first dates I arrived in a 1946 GMC that was parked on a hill to avoid asking her to help push start it. On another we double dated in a 1926 Ford touring car that had sat outside with no top for almost forty years. Then there was the triple date to the drive in http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrtheater that involved a ’49 GMC flatbed truck and most of the furniture from a friends living room including the couch and recliner.
In the years to follow, our little jaunts have run the gamut from sedate family vacations to Williamsburg, Monticello, and Virginia Beach in Virginia to being lost deep in the south side of Chicago, from spontaneous trips trips to Michigan planned in less than a day and train trips that provided us the ability to see the world as a canned sardine. Even on a tight budget we found ways ensure to our son saw America and learned to savor the adventures of life.
The acquisition of the Jeep a couple of years ago took our adventures to a new level. On our first outing we abandoned any semblance of the wisdom that is supposed to be the reward of having survived a half century on planet earth and gleefully bounced over and around rocks, skirted deep chasms, and made a road where need be.
Our reward was more stories, lots of laughter, new memories, and a realization that Jeeps do have limitations. The highlight was hearing the clerk in Chloride, an old mining town, say, “I didn’t know that road was still passable?” The response, “It isn’t.”
Equally as important as a sense of humor is an adventuresome spirit. I learned quite early in our relationship my dearest friend had both and in spades. For that I am most grateful as it has ensured we are never bored, we are never short on memories that make us smile, and are never short of stories to keep dinner party conversations lively.
Our recent excursion to Missouri using the Jeep and a 1929 Rand McNally road atlas, as well as Jerry McClanahan’s excellent EZ 66 Guide, to seek the ghost towns of Route 66 was but the latestest in a three decade Odyssey that has taken us from border to border and coast to coast. This year has started a bit slow, even though we have managed two winter excursions on legendary Route 66, but we have a couple of grand ones on the horizon – Amarillo in June, and Chicago in the fall.