Today is our 26th anniversary of the date we met…An unusual plan to celebrate tonight…

This was Tom around the time we met in 1991. (Photo of the old photo).

Tom and I met 26 years ago at a popular nightclub and dance bar in Bloomington, Minnesota. Stonewings was known for being a place to meet the more mature types. I was 43 years old, and Tom was 38. 

I’d been on a blind date with another guy and ditched him when everything about him revolved around lies he told me to get me to go out with him.  It didn’t take long for me to run as fast as possible and call a girlfriend to join me for some “fun” at Stonewings.

Walking into the busy nightclub, I took a seat while my friend went to the restaurant next door to have a bite to eat. No more than a few minutes after I ordered a drink, I spotted him…Tom that is. 

He was wearing a white short-sleeved shirt with a button-down collar with tight black jeans. He didn’t look like my usual “corporate type,” wearing a Hugo Boss suit, a 100% pinpoint cotton long sleeve dress shirt, a subtle Armani tie, a pair of Cole Haan shoes, and socks with dots. Nope, he wasn’t my type.

His shock of dark hair, his bright white toothy smile, and his crystal blue eyes had me smitten in minutes. Another man approached me, announcing, “Hi, my name is rockin’ rollin’ Bob, and I’m the social director here tonight. I’d like to know who you’d like to dance with.”

Jess and Tom in 1991.

I paused, contemplating the peculiar announcement for only seconds. I pointed at Tom and said, “Him!”  Bob escorted me to Tom’s table, introduced me, and left. In moments, we were engaged in lively conversation.  Within 30 minutes, we were on the dance floor, unable to wipe the smiles off our faces. 

By the end of the night, the sparks were flying. At the end of the evening, when the bar was closing, he escorted me to my car, asked for a kiss which I declined, and asked me to see him the next night. I agreed, but I invited him to my lake home for dinner in an unlikely moment of pure trust.

We had nothing in common. He was a “blue-collar” railroad worker, and I was a “white-collar” business owner.  We lived in different worlds, mingled with different kinds of people, and had nothing in common. He liked rock music. I liked disco.  He was from a large family. I was not.

He grew up in the hood and spoke slang language. My friends joked that I was the queen of proper diction and elocution. He purchased his Wrangler or Levi jeans at Fleet Farm.  I wore designer jeans from Neiman Marcus. 

When I looked deep into his ocean blue eyes, I knew this would never last, nor did I want it to.  I thought, “This guy will be fun for the summer.” The following night when he drove up to my house on the peninsula with its lush green manicured lawn, he thought (so he says), “We have nothing in common, and soon I’ll be out of here in no time and head back to Stonewings.”

See…he does “clean up” nicely wearing a tuxedo. 

But it didn’t happen that way. He hated the food I’d made and the drink I served: blackened swordfish, couscous, and grilled baby asparagus with a crusty baguette and bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. He somehow managed to eat the food and drink the wine. 

The conversation flowed with ease.  We laughed, talked, and shared personal stories not necessarily befitting a “first date.” When he told me he’d taken his mother, who was going blind, to see the Pope in Italy and visit Ireland using his entire one month of a year’s vacation, I truly believe it was a stepping stone to my falling in love.  Who does that?  This must be one special kind of guy.

This sexy bad boy was much deeper than I’d expected, and I let my guard down and let him into my world.  It wasn’t an easy four years until we were married in 1995. He had to rid himself of his bad-boy ways, but somehow we managed to stick together and grew more and more in love over time as we both grew and changed.

We met 26 years ago tonight, and here we are, living a dream we never knew either of us had ever imagined.  Here we are, more in love than ever, sharing a commonality of interests that often baffles us. How did we get here?

But, rather than question it, we’ve blended our ways. He still doesn’t like blackened fish or red wine, and I don’t eat (and never have) Planter’s cheeseballs or McDonald’s burgers and fries. I’ve been to parties in garages and bowling alleys, and he’s worn a black tie to social events. 

He knows what fork to use at a formal dinner table, and I can snip a nightcrawler (worm) with my long fingernails and neatly place it on a hook with nary a comment or concern for the mud under my nails. We’ve blended well.

In 33 days, we’ll be back “out into the world,” continuing on our world journey with a powerful sense of joy and contentment, knowing wherever we go, whatever we do, we’re genuinely a match “made in heaven.”

Tonight, we’re dining where Stonewings used to be, which is now a casual bar named “Poor Richards.” It won’t be quite the same, but we’ll be content, and we’ll celebrate this amazing life we share together.

Photo from one year ago today, June 28, 2016:

We’d expected the Vietnam Embassy to be guarded and much larger. As often is the case, many embassies are converted to large homes. We’d specifically gone to Singapore to get three much-needed visas at various embassies, visas we’d need over the two months we were spending in Southeast Asia.  For more details, please click here.

Comments and responses Today is our 26th anniversary of the date we met…An unusual plan to celebrate tonight…

  1. itztru Reply

    Happy 1st date anniversary! I love a great "how we met" story!

  2. Jessica Reply

    Itztru, thank you so much for writing and your kind wishes. We are so grateful to be together. Do you have a first date story, you'd like to share? If so, please do. We'd love to hear from YOU!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  3. dorothy Reply

    haha. our first date was only 5 1/2 years ago, but we too, were from different worlds. I saw his big baby blues and dimples and knew I had to check him out. We are just so much alike in ways that matter – we both love classical music, good food, wine, travelling and family. We can talk for hours, or just sit beside one another for an evening without exchanging anything more than a smile or a squeeze of hands. Isn't mature love wonderful?

  4. Jessica Reply

    Dorothy, how wonderful to hear about the two of you! And you're so right, sometimes it takes being grown up to really appreciate being in love. Continued happiness for the two of you and thank you for writing here!

    Jess & Tom

  5. Unknown Reply

    Just read your post. Glad you decided to go to "Poor Richards". aka the old Stonewings. Loved hearing the details again. What a great looking couple–then and now!

    As I mentioned to you at the meet & greet, I met my late wife Char at Stonewings under eerily similar circumstances–your story brings back pleasant memories. . .


  6. Jessica Reply

    Rich, how thoughtful of you to write and share our mutual memories of Stonewings from many years ago. Thanks for your kindly compliment. Yes, we've all aged but there's nothing like happiness to keep a person feeling youthful regardless of the lines and wrinkles that develop over time. Maybe next time we come to town we can spend a little more time with you. Be well and be happy.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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