St. Patrick’s Day is the day Tom and I met some 30+ years ago. It is not however the first time we met. Of course, we didn’t know that until a few years after we were married. Heck, we had just had our second child, Brandon, when we discovered we had met before we met. I’ll tell you about that later.
For now I’ll explain how we met on this day 30 some years ago, on Saint Patrick’s day back on Long Island, in New York at the Arby’s restaurant in Port Jefferson Station.
It was my first day at work…ever. I was a little over 18 years old and I was a nervous wreck.
“All I remember is seeing huge eyes like Bambi after he heard gunshots ready to flee. I’m surprised you stayed but you were so quiet I didn’t even think you knew any English,” Tom said.
“You mean you thought I just got off the boat???” I shrieked, indignant.
He laughed. “Pretty much. You didn’t say anything when I told you my name,” he replied.
This was true. I could barely speak to anyone that day I was so nervous. I was also supremely shy back then. I was astonished that I got the job to begin with, but I guess I interviewed well enough and there I was, standing in the back room of the Arby’s being introduced to people whose names I was not going to remember because, #1- I had a horrible memory—yes, I was Dory before there was a Dory—and #2 I was too dang nervous to care about anything but screwing up on my first day at my first job.
Well, I got better as time went on, became an excellent worker and even got Tommy to like me before summer’s end. All in all, pretty darn good for a first job ever.
How we met before we met you ask? I’ll tell you.
How we discovered that we had met before we met was pure chance. We were sitting around talking—we’re forever just talking—and Tom said, “I didn’t know girls came in other flavors when I saw you.”
Flavors? I burst out laughing. I knew what he met though. I was not white bread and that was the only thing he’d ever been exposed to. So, when he saw me--a spicy little tortilla, I suppose?—he was nearly knocked out, or so he says.
“I’m serious!” he assured me. “There was only one other girl that I saw before you that made me stand up and take notice.”
“Oh? Did you go out with her?” I asked, already tinged with premature jealousy.
“No, I saw her working at the Polish festival down Port Jeff the summer before we met,” he said. “We just talked, but she was something to look at!”
“Wait…at Infant Jesus church? I worked there,” I said.
“Right after graduation…well, after I came back from the Dominican, July 17 I think,” I replied. “I wonder who she was. I probably knew her. Do you remember anything about her?”
“Only that she was the most beautiful girl I saw up to that point. She had long dark hair and wore it up in a braided ponytail and…oh yeah! She wore a pink jumpsuit and, man did she look sexy in it and…. wait…”
We stared at each other.
“You mean like the one I wore on our first date?” I asked.
We stared at each other some more.
“I recall speaking for a long time with these two guys, wise ass guys who were trying to order food but they clueless. They kept asking silly questions like what’s the difference between a polish sausage, kielbasa and a polish hotdog and they asked what the stuffed cabbage was stuffed with and…”
“What a peirogi was,” Tom interjected. “That was me and Steve… and…?”
“Oh, my God…” I said.
“That was you?” we said together.
“No fricken way,” he said gaping at me as I laughed. “I can’t believe it.”
“Far as I know I was the only one working there that summer with a pink jumpsuit. Pretty sure that was me,” I said.
We laughed and laughed. So that was how we met before we met.
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