I am a shameless and devoted fan of sappy, romantic movies. I could easily spend a rainy weekend in my jammies, on the couch with a big ol’ bag of chips, two litres of Coke and a family size box of Kleenex. The challenge is to choose which movie to watch first.
Sleepless in Seattle usually wins, but You’ve Got Mail, Steel Magnolias, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Pretty Woman, As Good as it Gets, Father of the Bride, Overboard are also on my A-list.
I can watch the same movie twenty times. That’s just how much I enjoy love stories with happy endings. At age 58, I still swoon for Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood, George Clooney and my all-time hottie, Liam Neeson. I think I should stop because my glasses are steaming up.
Real life love stories truly fascinate me. I always want to know how couples met each other. Was it a blind date? At university? While milking goats? At a wedding? In high school? A Halloween costume party? An office romance? In a support group? While cutting hay? Through a friend of a friend? Set up by parents? A newspaper ad?
More and more, people are forgoing traditional ways of
meeting in favour of the internet.
Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, ChristianMingle, Zoosk, LifeMates and lavalife
are popular sites for men and women of all ages.
My husband, Glenn, and I met each other in an unusual way. To me, it is a beautiful story, the stuff of fairy tales.
It was July of 1976. I had completed my first year at the Nova Scotia Teachers’ College and had come home for the summer to work at Laings’ General Store.
That same summer, a young man from Havelock, Ontario with Lockeport connections invited Glenn to go on a trip to visit relatives in Nova Scotia. They struck out in Glenn’s monstrous Chrysler Cordoba, camping along the way.
Lockeport, Nova Scotia is famous for its beautiful, mile-long, crescent-shaped beach. The ocean temperature, unfortunately, is frigid. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream just do not swing close enough to moderate the effects of frigid Arctic winds and the Labrador Current. The water always feels like a tub of ice cubes.
This is where the story gets really interesting. After supper one evening, I decided to walk the beach because I had pigged out at supper time. I thought a walk along the water’s edge might provide some relief. Much further up from the water’s edge near the sand dunes, sat some young men who seemed to be having fun. One of them recognized me and ran down to speak with me. “Melda,” he said, “See those two boys up there? They want to meet you.” Before running down the beach he had said to Glenn and Ken, “Hey, guys, see that girl down there? She wants to meet you.”
Reluctantly, I went along with him and he introduced me to Glenn and Ken. Believe me, it was anything but a “Kodak Moment.” They had a lot of strikes against them. Alarm bells were blaring in my head, “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” It appeared they hadn’t seen the inside of a shower or used a stick of deodorant since leaving Havelock. Glenn had shoulder-length stringy, greasy hair and a week’s worth of stubble. Maybe they always looked and smelled like this. Even worse, Glenn was missing his four front teeth. His eye teeth looked like fangs. Ewwww! Yuck! Gross! He had eye teeth with nothing in between. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
I was shy and quiet and tried to make polite small talk, definitely not my forte at that point in my life. Awkwardly, I asked what college or university they attended, but I could not have been prepared for the answer I received. I was expecting they were students at Sir Sandford Fleming College or Trent University, but the answer I received was anything but.
Glenn puffed out his chest and said, “Actually, I’m a member of the workforce in Ontario.” When I heard “Ontario”, the blood drained from my face and I went into fight or flight mode. I could not get out of there fast enough. In my mind, the province of Ontario was one giant snob that looked down its proud nose at lowly Maritimers because we were the “have nots.” The conversation ended abruptly and I returned to my walk.
Later that evening, Ken’s parents “happened” to visit Mom and Dad who had been friends for many years. Interestingly, they did not come alone. Can you guess who was with them? Their son, Ken? Nope, they had Glenn in tow. I was up in my room when I heard several unfamiliar voices downstairs.I tiptoed down the stairs to snoop and discovered three strangers in the living room. Mom and Dad were busy catching up with Manuel and Violet, so I began a conversation with the stranger.
A transformation of such epic proportions had taken place, that I didn’t recognize Glenn as the hippie at the beach mere hours ago. This person was clean shaven and had teeth, and there was something familiar about his voice. As we chatted away, I remembered. Bingo! I gathered up enough courage to ask if he was one of the boys at the beach. Sure enough, he confirmed that he was. He was much more appealing than he was on the beach. The evening ended with a lunch, or as we say, a mug up, and they left. I never expected to see any of them ever again.
The next day I went off to work at the General Store. About 2 pm, when the store was usually quiet, Glenn strolled in nonchalantly, looking ever so innocent. I recognized him instantly. My heart did that “skip-a-beat” thing, my legs went wobbly and I thought I was going to vomit.
“Please, Lord,” I prayed, “don’t let me make a fool of myself………again.”
We chatted briefly and then he left. The same thing happened the next day. Was this purely coincidence?
On Thursday of that week I took Mom grocery shopping in Shelburne. I planned to drop her off and visit a friend who had just had a baby, bust as Mom entered IGA, I spotted Glenn in the store. In the twinkling of an eye, I forgot about my friend who had just endured a tortuous childbirth. After all, she could have another baby in only nine months, but I had few opportunities to meet the man of my dreams in Lockeport, Nova Scotia.
I whipped the truck into a parking spot right in front of the store and sauntered in as if I were totally unaware that Glenn was there. It didn’t take long to find him. Oh, no, he was talking to Mom. Just as soon as Mom spotted me she pointed and announced in her air raid siren voice, “There she is!” I don’t remember what I said, but it was something like, “Fancy that, running into you in IGA?” Glenn and I stuck up a conversation while Mom shopped.
Later that evening, Glenn wanted to ask me out to a restaurant, but one BIG hurdle stood in his way — he could not remember my name. He knew that it sounded something like Hilda, but began with an M which would make it Milda. Eventually he arrived at Melda. He practiced diligently repeating “Hilda, Milda, Melda” over and over until he felt confident to call me.
He phoned and I said that I usually washed my hair on Thursday nights, but I would think about it and call him back. No, I did not. Before he could even finish the question I blurted out, “Yes.” Off we went to the Loyalist Inn in Shelburne for a cheeseburger platter and an orange pop. Later we drove along the Sandy Point shoreline, stopping at the beautiful Sandy Point Lighthouse at sunset. We seemed to have an endless list of things to talk about. He called the next night, the next night…you get the picture. Strangely, in just three days, my ugly frog had turned into a handsome prince.
Exactly three years to the day, on July 21, 1979, we were married at the Lockeport Pentecostal Church. The story still boggles my mind. At age 22 and 23 we did not realize that it would be a journey that included for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Honestly, I think we only heard better, richer and in health.
In spite of all that has happened, we are closing in on 37 years of marriage. Two beautiful children, their spouses and our grandchildren, Isaac, Greta and Maddie are our reward. It really was worth all the detours and bumps in the road.
Now getting back to the beautiful crescent beach in Lockeport. Many of my single friends have logged countless miles pounding up and down that beach, but as far as I know, no one else has found their handsome prince lurking among the sand dunes.It must have been a once-in- a- lifetime occurrence. Kind of like Halley’s Comet.
I love you, Glenn Clark, forever and always. xoxoxoxo