Today is WineGuy’s and my 15th anniversary. The traditional 15th anniversary gift is crystal. We own so much crystal that our breakfront looks like a Tiffany display case. The modern 15th anniversary gift is watches. WineGuy never wears a watch, and I have plenty of them, including this one which was a tenth anniversary/40th birthday/had the third baby gift. We don’t need any crystal or watches, thankyouverymuch. We need a weekend away without our children.
Here is the story of how we met. Ours is the classic story of a guy going halfway across the country to meet the girl next door. WineGuy grew up in Potomac, Maryland, and I grew up in Bethesda. These are neighboring towns . . . so close, in fact, that both families went to the same high school. WineGuy was one year ahead of my SIL, VJ, and two years ahead of my brother, Tax Man, at that school. I graduated between WineGuy’s younger brother, P, and his sister. WineGuy knew my brothers, Egg and Doc Bro (married to VJ), through some Jewish activities around the Washington area. WineGuy was two years ahead of Tax Man at the University of Virginia, also.
Cut to 1992: I had been living in Miami for almost 8 years, first attending law school there and then practicing there and in Fort Lauderdale. In early 1992, Aunt Mary called me to say she my Uncle Oz had met a very nice Maryland couple at her retirement community. They had a son who was the proverbial “nice, Jewish doctor” who was single. Was I interested in meeting him? Could she give out my number? Yeah, sure, whatever. My life was a shambles then, and I couldn’t have cared less if she gave out my number. [My mother just had breast cancer surgery and was undergoing chemotherapy. Money was tight, and I was about to lose my job. My boss was planning on terminating me as soon as I trained my replacement.] I never heard from him.
About two months later, Aunt Mary called again, noodging me, “Did you ever hear from that guy? Why don’t you call him.”
“Fine. What was his name again?” I scribbled down his name. A few minutes later, I looked up his number in the book and called his office. I reached his secretary, who like any good secretary, wanted to know who I was and why I was calling. “Tell him Mrs. WineGuy (his mother) suggested I call,” and I left my number. Not long after, Dr. WineGuy returned my call . . . from his car phone. Ooooh! That was a big deal back in 1992. We had a great conversation while he was on his way to a date with someone else. Apparently, he enjoyed chatting with me so much that he missed his exit and went ten miles out of his way before he met his date! 😉 We agreed to have dinner the following Saturday evening, April 4, 1992.
Saturday rolls around, and I fix myself up for the date. We agreed to meet at 7:00 p.m. I showed up 15 minutes late, which was as on-time as anyone in Miami ever
is was. There was WineGuy, dressed nicely in a suit and tie, standing patiently — with his arms crossed over his chest — in front of the fanciest restaurant in town. We sat down and had a fabulous dinner, talking about wine, politics, me, him, our careers, our interests, all evening. We had such a good time that we don’t even remember how many bottles of wine we drank. The night was still young when dinner ended, so WineGuy asked if I wanted to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball final game. He suggested going back to my apartment, which was nearby. My date-radar said “no way,” plus the place was a mess. So, we ended up at a dive bar down the street, watching Christian Laettner launch Duke into college basketball history. We exchanged phone numbers and went our separate ways, he in his Chrysler K-Car – I kid you not – and I in my Nissan Maxima.
A couple of nights later, I was out with friends in Coconut Grove. We exploded in peals of laughter as I regaled them with the story of this date. Mid-margarita, my girlfriend said to me, “Mark my words, Alto2, you’re going to marry this guy.” Truer words were never spoken. WineGuy and I saw a lot of each other over the next month. I flew home to DC for Passover in late April and warned my parents, “This is the one.” WineGuy proposed to me on June 20, 1992, and we became engaged on June 21, 1992, Father’s Day. We were married on October 31st that year.
My long-time friends and family will tell you that WineGuy is the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope people say the same to him of me. Over the last fifteen years, we have traveled the world together, brought three children into this world, survived three moves, and have grown closer to each other while maintaining our own identities. (He recently joked about what it felt like to be “Mr. Alto2” as opposed to Dr. WineGuy, in the wake of my Jeopardy! success.) We have had our share of marital crises and medical traumas, but we weathered them together. We are stronger for it.
Happy 15th Anniversary, WineGuy! I love you.