Wednesday, October 22, 2008


In 1973, when I started recovering from a divorce, I tentatively put my foot out into the dating pool. It was a time of great uncertainty in my life, but at least I was ready to try. I knew the pickings would be slim for a 39 year old mother of 4 teenagers; after all, who would want to be crazy enough to date her, I wondered. I read all the books of do’s and don’ts, and the best I can say was that I did have an occasional date but nothing I got excited over.


One evening I met an absolutely gorgeous fellow whom I had slightly known as a married doctor in a former iteration, and now here we were at the same event, both single and both able to connect comfortably with our pasts and our friendship of that earlier time. By the end of the evening he had asked me out for the following Friday evening and I had accepted. I went home “floating”…. on hopes and dreams.

That Friday he picked me up after work for dinner and then asked if after our meal I’d like to take a ride “up the hill” to see his cabin that overlooked all of the valley. I told him yes, I’d like to, but that I needed to be home no later than midnight. I was hoping that signaled to him that I didn’t want to stay all night with him. He said there would be no problem meeting that deadline.

We had a fine evening together; the meal was good, the conversation interesting, and the view from his cabin was as extraordinary as he said it would be. The back side of his place opened onto a balcony that overlooked the valley. As we stood side by side and gazed down, we picked out identifiable landmarks. We each had lived in the valley for a long time and there was a comfortable familiarity about our time together. Suddenly he let out shriek and before I could figure out what was going on I heard a loud BAM! A door had been slammed shut. And my date was nowhere to be found.

To say I was nonplussed was an understatement; there I was, thinking of future good things, and my date had totally disappeared. Then slowly, the door opened a tiny crack and I saw an eyeball peering out. “Is it gone?” he asked me? “What are you talking about?” I replied, very confused. “The bat! The bat! Didn’t you see it?” he said, with a quavery voice. “I’M SCARED OF BATS.”

Well, I didn’t much care for them either, but frankly, his way of handling something he didn’t like simply rubbed me the wrong way. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need to look at him as potential marriage material and that he should not be circumscribed in my mind as unsuitable just because of this one incident.

We had a cup of coffee in the house while he talked at length about bats, and then we drove back down the hill where our evening ended shortly before midnight at my front door. My kids were waiting inside with baited breath (or should I say “batted” breath) for a report on my date. “Well?” they said. The best I could say was, “He was a nice fellow, but I doubt if I’ll see him again.” I didn’t.

And to this day when I think of him I don’t think of his gorgeous looks and his charming demeanor, his professional standing or his lovely hillside house. I remember him as the man who was so scared of a bat that he left his date standing alone on a porch with a bat buzzing around while he protected himself by disappearing. Nope, he was not a good candidate at all. Not for a husband and definitely not for a further date.

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