I feel after our first and second dates, I still have hopes for
We don’t talk about all those controversial, messy, and
possibly toxic subjects like religion or politics. We have
had some good conversations about families. We have
both been through some challenging times. Ray has never
been married which makes it a little different from other
men I have recently dated.
We met at the Cheesecake Factory fairly early on Sat. and
got our little buzzer (I am sure it is called another name but
for the life of me, I cannot think of it!) It buzzes and flashes
at you basically letting you know your waiting time is up and
your table is ready. What is that called, anyone?
I had decided that by our meeting so early to beat the dinner
rush, I would not drink. Last time, it was coffee, a drink of
wine with dinner, then closing with another coffee. That kept
me from falling asleep on the way home. I still have not totally
adjusted to being a single driver! After almost seven years, I
have usually had a driver or a passenger wherever I have driven
for any length of time at night. Going to my Mom’s I am alone but
leaving right after work, no glasses of wine and lots of sugar, and
junk food and caffeine along the way!
I like to order variations of grilled chicken salads at restaurants
that have great desserts usually. That way, I can “justify” the extra
calories of the cheesecake (in this case it will be a caramel or a
turtle or some other combination of my favorites, chocolate and
nuts, too.) I ordered coffee and Ray ordered a draft beer.
We look at the menus and chit chat. His week has been “eventful”
down in his neck of the woods. I am not sure if he is allowed to
discuss what were the cases so I remained silent for awhile. No
specifics were brought up. I have not been paying close attention
to the Newark and surrounding area’s need for police. I almost
want details, but I suppose I could look up their paper and find
out! I am a curious (okay, nosy!) woman. Is it a ‘lawless’ sort of
population? Are they above average in their misbehavior?
I answer, “Mine was uneventful, but super busy!”
Nothing like letting the colorful and busy atmosphere, with fun
loving clientele to watch, provide entertainment. I like to play with
some of my best friends the guessing game about the patrons sitting
nearby. (Are they happy? What do they do? etc.) At the mall or on
restaurant patios during the summer it is the standard for conversation.
So, back to other information. His mother is 86 and lives next door
to him. Ray said at the time the house went up for sale next to her
home, he had not planned to buy. But he noticed that it was up for
quite awhile and then, there was a posted notice. Foreclosure.
He knew by being a sheriff and having a dependable income he would
be likely to get the house. I inquired about his mother and how were
her capabilities? She is still living fairly independently.
He goes to the grocery for her. She likes the large print magazines and
books so he takes her to the library. It is nice to hear about such devotion.
He often regrets one of the women in his life “that got away.” He said
she wanted to move from the area and thought he could leave and find
similar law enforcement jobs anywhere. She had a specific career that
would involve more of what he terms a “‘big city’ lifestyle.”
He let that subject drop and went on to say he is very involved with a
softball team and also, his nephews’ activities.
He has one sister and one brother. Both have married and have children.
I told him some things about my family that weren’t covered on our first
date. I also did not give out too much about the divorces, personal info,
and did fill him in more about my adorable and sometimes hysterical
mother! I even told him my summer story about the attack of the flies
in her apartment that my youngest daughter and I were part of and
I blogged about before.
I got Ray to smile! He is not, in my opinion, a big fan of funny things.
Even the movies he cites are action, dramatic or true to life. He does not
like to read books. I said that other men tell me this in a defensive tone
thinking as a past teacher, I will judge them!
“Not a problem,” I told him, “since I just read to relax and enjoy, I have
not indulged in educational or enlightenment books for about six years.
‘To each his own.'”
I said I have two brothers who did not have their own children but have
had a great impact on my own three children and one brother has stepkids.
“It probably creates less hassle when dating, “I mused, “No children to get
in the mix of things.”
He explained in a rather frustrated tone that he could not believe how many
women have discarded him early on due to his helping his mother. Let alone
not having children! Also, he added, due to where he lives and works.
“Most of the people I contact are from Columbus, “I share.
Our dinners arrived and I asked for more pecans, crumbled blue cheese and
dressing. (I have a gripe and feel it is fair to tell you, I have worked in food
service off and on to fill in gaps, from my sophomore year of high school
up to six years ago at Cracker Barrel.)
I asked for those additions and saw the person look and nod, because I was
with ‘Cool Hand Luke’ or “Make my day” Ray I did not tell the server, “Are
you writing those down?” I mean, it will save the wait staff a trip and also,
my waiting while my date is eating his meal! Just a side comment! I did
not let on how irritated I was at this time!
He asked for another beer added to my pre-ordered salad condiments.
Our male server appeared stressed and I tried to reassure him not to worry.
But that nice, pressure relieving comment caused our additional orders
to be delayed. I realized, too late, that I should have let Ray be the one
putting the pressure ON!
I ended up eating half of it before he returned. That really bothered Ray,
he started to talk to him about wanting to see a manager.
I was a little embarrassed. I do this relating to the other person that in
a textbook, might be labeled “empathetic.” He was using an icy calm,
louder but firm voice.
When the manager came and said we could have our desserts free, Ray
relaxed and stopped being upset. He wanted to know if we could walk
around the mall to get our food digested and then have a coffee there.
I was impressed with his ability to handle the tough situation yet switch
gears almost immediately. No storm brewing or ranting on and on: Good!
I had my turtle cheesecake and he had a cookies and cream cheesecake.
We both drank water with the desserts. I had brought cash to offer for
my meal, the tip or both. He declined and I thanked him profusely.
I think I overdid it and regret sounding so grateful. Not much I can do
about that now! I need to work on my normal thank you’s and less
profuse sorry’s. Guilty of those offsetting behaviors, one brother points
out regularly that it sets me up to be a ‘victim of control.’
We walked around the mall on the first floor and then up to the Starbucks
on the second floor of Polaris. We got our coffees and sat on a sofa close
to the railing to watch the people below. I noticed an unusual aspect to Ray
and wondered if this is because he is a sheriff: he never talks about the
people around him nor observes any details while we walked. I pointed out
a few things around me, the Spring displays and the children up rather late.
I noticed a couple with bright clothing, the woman wore red poppies and the
man had on a turquoise shirt with tan khakis. They looked nice but they
looked like they were from a warmer climate. I asked him to guess or think
aloud where they could have come from?
Ray said, “Isn’t that what little kids say or teens think?”
I replied, “Do you mean it may be rude? I was thinking as long as you didn’t
point it would be okay to discuss people.” (Maybe, readers you can let me
know if this is a silly game to play?)
I dropped that because the awkward silence got to be too much. I didn’t want
to push my luck!
I yawned (really the sugar was wearing off already? the coffee not hitting yet?)
and he said, “Well, maybe we should call it a night?”
I said, “It is more up to you since you are the one who has farther to drive.”
Ray stood up and took my empty cup to the trash. A nice law abiding man.
I hope we can have a joke or something that will lighten the mood.
So, here is the joke I told to make him smile as we walked the length of the
(thanks to my Mom’s friend, Pooky, who sends her copied email jokes!)
“An elderly couple had been going to a counselor for their marriage
and part of their home exercises were to practice repeating things.
Along with that, they each had a pad of paper and were supposed to
write down notes in case they forgot something.
One night the husband jumped up during a t.v. commercial and said
he was going to get some ice cream. His wife said, “I would like some
too. Can I tell you what I would like? Do you need to write it down?”
Her husband said, “Go ahead and tell me.”
She replied, “I would like vanilla ice cream.”
Her husband said, “For that, I won’t need paper!”
Then as he walked away she added,
“With strawberry sauce, please”.
He said,” I can remember 2 things.”
She said, “Here’s your pad, please add whipped cream too.”
He threw the pad down and stormed in the kitchen muttering about
the ‘stupid counselor!’
Twenty minutes later he came out and handed her a plate with bacon and
She looked at it, looked up at him and said….”Where’s the toast?”
I cannot help it, I have told this at lunch table and to two of my male friends
who call. Everybody laughs! I enjoy it and pretty much have the long pause
By the time I had ended the joke we were walking in the parking lot towards
my car. Ray, by the way, did not laugh. Not even a chuckle.
I said I had a very nice time. I wished that the restaurant wasn’t so
busy but that is what happens on Sat. nights. He nodded his head.
I am not sure what he was thinking but he gave me a perfunctory kiss on the
cheek and a pat on the back and turned to leave.
I kind of shouted at his retreating back, “I’ll call you when I get home!”