We OFFICIALLY had a date after that infamous Temple University dinner that ended in a handshake. Denise and I went to a restaurant called The Depot in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. It's a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets in-laid with trolley tracks. In fact The Depot has a train theme (duh!!!)....with a model train driving around under the bar.
After burgers and beers we finally........kissed! And it was worth it. I know you're thinking that a starving man will declare the greatness of Ritz Crackers, but she really was a great kisser. BTW, I'm going to stop talking about the physical stuff. After all...that's my wife you're reading about.
My birthday approached soon after our first official date. I wasn't expecting too much from Denise. After all we just met. I'll rephrase that. If we just started dating and it was HER birthday....well...let's just say a card would have been enough.
Let me first tell you that my little job in radio was beginning to grow. I realized things were getting better when the station arranged for the morning show to be chauffeured in a stretch limousine to an event. How cool was that! A dork like me from Northeast Philly in a limo. And it wasn't even a funeral. Except...the show consisted of six people. The much-anticipated journey in the limo was more like a crowded cab ride to the airport. The host of the show was a man of sufficient girth. One of the shows producers was 6'5". Each sharp turn was a potential sexual harassment claim. It looked like a circus act when everyone got out. The ride didn't live up to the hype. I told the packed limo story to Denise. She thought it was funny. Little did I know she was hatching up a birthday plan.
Denise told me she wanted to take me to a surprise lunch on my birthday. Sweet! She also said to dress up for our noontime get together. I know...it's sad when your date tells you to dress nicely. But I was still wearing sweat pants and sweatshirts to work. Very Philly.
She told me to meet her in the lobby of the building at noon. She was there waiting for me by the elevators. Parked outside the revolving glass doors was a shiny new white stretch limousine. I just figured some lucky schmuck was traveling first class. When we exited the building, the driver got out and opened the back door of the Lincoln. I looked at Denise. She just smiled and said,"Happy Birthday".
We both got in the limo and held hands. Nobody else. No big morning guy. No Stretch Armstrong-looking producer. We were in Limo Town, population 2! She arranged for us to have lunch at a restaurant on the 44Th floor of an office building in downtown Philly. What a day!
Nobody ever planned such an extravagant birthday in all my 24 years. There was only one thing to do. Date other people!