How I Met Your Father by Heather Blanton
Remember the bounce in your step when you were preparing for a night on the town? You and some girlfriends, going out to flirt a little, drink a little, turn some heads, dance till your feet fell off?
Ah, good times.
On one such night back in 1988, I put on my little black dress and headed with a friend to a local western bar called The Long Branch in Raleigh, NC. A big place in its day, it brought in some pretty big acts.
This was Thursday night. Ladies Night, but not a night that I usually went dancing. After all, I had to be at work the next morning, but my friend Kim and I were restless and bored. We decided to doll up and head out.
The Long Branch was packed. We floated through the crowd, surveying the men, planning our attack. What poor, hapless male would be the target of our fluttering eye lashes?
Then, apologies to John Lennon, I saw him standing there.
Or, more accurately, leaning on a pool table, studying a shot. A muscular young man with broad shoulders bulging through his light blue dress shirt. I appreciate a nicely sculpted set of shoulders. I nudged my friend and said, “I like him.”
He, however, did not notice me. I turned to the table when our drinks arrived and shrugged him off. Several minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I spun around and looked into a face that reminded me immediately of John Denver, Tom Berenger, and Steve Irwin, all rolled into one. Slightly shaggy, light brown hair framed a wide face, and mischievous hazel eyes.
“Would you ladies like to play pool?”
Zing. His sideways grin and obvious swagger sent an arrow straight into my heart.
Only years later, after we were married, did I learn that my husband had lost the game of pool he’d been playing. He had planned to ask me to play, though, and needed to keep the table. Desperate, he paid the boys who had just beaten him 20 bucks to scram.
I see the hand of God in every detail of our meeting. When I think of all the little things that could have changed that night—if we’d stood in a different place in the Long Branch; if we‘d come a few minutes earlier or later; or if we hadn’t gone out at all that night—where would I be now? But it was meant to be.
And how ironic is it that I write Western Romance and I met my husband in the Long Branch Saloon in North Carolina, of all places?
Do you have a story to share on how Cupid shot you? I’d LOOOOOOOOOVE to hear about it. Please feel free to share in the comments below.