Tonight I get to write about one of my favorite topics, the woman who is the love of my life, my significant other and better half – my fiancee and soon-to-be wife, Janet. I officially introduced myself to my sweetheart and salvation at 1:06 in the morning on October 6th, 2008.
See, the original idea was this. I had seen Janet post on a Backstreets.com/BTX that she was going to be attending an upcoming (actually the next day) event at which Bruce Springsteeen, for whom we all congregate at BTX to sing his praises (it’s a fan site discussion board). And the one thing I wanted more than anything else in the entire, wide world…was a t-shirt with an image of both Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama. My two favorite public figures and the only two men who I had any faith in to restore this nation to it’s original greatness.
Janet would be going to the campaign appearance by Bruce, and so I thought, despite the fact that she didn’t know me from a kick in the pants, that she might be willing to buy be a t-shirt at this event the next day in Ypsilanti. And I of course would pay her back. Which I did recently on the anniversary of that day when we went back to Ypsilanti. So with the knowledge of the extreme generosity of fellow Springsteen fans toward each other, I sent the PM and then went off to bed. Janet was to my extreme delight still awake and private messaged me that she would “look for them” and call me the next day to let me know how she made out.
Well, you can imagine my excitement when I saw a Michigan caller ID on my phone the next day, picked it up, said hello….and everything changed. Not only did Janet make my day/week/month by letting me know she got not one t-shirt for me, but TWO. But I was even more ecstatic to hear her sweet sounding voice, the cadence of her slight mid-western accent and most significantly, the content of her words. This was a complete stranger who I felt an instant kinship with. To borrow a Springsteen line…”we liked the same music…we liked the same books” and everything else.
I’m not sure how long that first conversation lasted, but it was just the beginning of a series of very long and intense phone calls between Boston and Detroit. We spoke to each other till five in the morning. When had I last done that? We called each other to wake each other up. We couldn’t go more than a work shift without sharing what had transpired over the last several hours. In short, we were destined to be together. And after half a century for both of us, destiny had arrived. Our ship had come in.
I wish I knew the exact number of hours that we talked on the phone before we first met up in New York City, another story for another day, but I know it was in the thousands. We both ended up owing T-Mobile about that amount of money in phone charges (thanks in part to their wonderful customer service operation and how they failed to properly explain how to set up you “five favorites.”
We didn’t know it then, but we were building a foundation during those phone calls that sustains our relationship to this very day. To fast forward, we met each other several more times, passed the family tests and decided that it made the most sense for me to move to Detroit, since Janet was working and I wasn’t.
This past November Janet and I went to dinner in a high rise and equally high priced restaurant in a building that literally sits overlooking the Canadian Horse Shoe Falls at Niagara Falls. And it was during that dinner that I read a short poem by a South American author, got down on bended knee and humbly asked for Janet to marry me. It wasn’t a total surprise for her, but it was dramatic enough to elicit a slight hyperventilation and a round of applause when she said YES! Of all the yeses I’ve ever heard, I believe that remains my favorite.
So the moral of the story, for every story likes to have one, is that you don’t go looking for love, it comes looking for you in the most unusual places. And as I sit here tonight closing out this Valentine’s Day/Birthday weekend, I think of how extremely lucky I am to have chanced upon this wonderful woman. I think of the places I’ve been and all the places that we, Janet and I, will now go together as this adventure called life continues.
No, this may not go down in history as Janet’s most favorite birthdays, and I hope and pray that in future years we will spend our February 15th’s in places with names like Paris, Rome, London or Dublin.
Or perhaps I look forward to spending our future significant events together in my hometown of Boston, where we both long so much to live. So tonight I raise a proverbial glass in the air to new chances that we’ll take and experiences that we’ll live out. Together. Always.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl. I’ll love you forever!