A year-and-a-half ago, I penned a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post declaring my unwillingness to provide my phone number to any future would-be suitors absent a willingness on their part to slay a dragon for me. Mostly, it was me grousing about the irritating lack of follow-through many modern day fellas seem to have developed, and mourning the loss of the courting tradition. I didn't truly expect a dragon slayer to magically appear on my doorstep. Frankly, I wasn't quite sure they even existed. I certainly wasn't holding my breath. And I think I figured if I -- even just facetiously -- set the bar that high, I'd probably be doing myself (and others) a favor by keeping everything simple. If no one can meet your standards to begin with, they'll never really be able to let you down later, right? Not that I managed to follow my own rule completely -- I may have made an exception or two. Which played out in predictable fashion.
Then....I met my "Beau." A tall, handsome fellow, who seemed to meet all my requirements "on paper" -- and even more so in person. As we got to know one another better -- slowly, but steadily -- he demonstrated, repeatedly, an ability -- and willingness -- to top that bar. He contacted me; he invited me out; he held the door for me; he listened to all my silly stories with the patience of a saint; he made me laugh; he willingly met friends and family; he was kind to my daughter; he cooked for me, and indulged my lame attempt at baking; he read my writing and listened to my radio shows; he volunteered for all manner of helpful tasks; he sent me flowers; he brought me silly, sweet cards. He courted me.
I, of course, basked in this. But, truth be told, I was a little skeptical. I scrutinized him and pondered the situation from every angle, waiting for that dreaded other shoe to drop. It still hasn't. I also worried and wondered along the way what I'd manage to do or say to scare him off. I suppose I must be doing something right, because that hasn't happened either.
Several weeks ago, I awoke to discover an unpleasant surprise on my deck: A dead opossum. Not of the playing-dead or only-mostly-dead variety. Deader-than-dead dead. And rather slimy, to boot. I yelped and, of course, immediately snapped a picture of the unfortunate critter, which I promptly texted to Beau with shouts of "Hallllllppppp!!" After agreeing my discovery was rather nasty, he then did the unthinkable: He volunteered to come over and rid me of it. Of course I didn't take him up on it. He was half an hour away, and needed to be at work. But I've no doubt he would have.
And as I relayed the story to a friend later that morning, she verbalized the very thought I'd had earlier: "You not only found a guy who'll slay a dragon for you -- you found one who'll slay dead opossums!" As if that weren't enough, a few days later, while at my sister's house for a family dinner, we got socked with a nasty thunderstorm. About half way through it, I realized the moon roof on my car was still open, which I could have lived with, were it not for the fact that Riley became convinced her book and backpack would be soaked. I reluctantly grabbed an umbrella, kicked off my flip-flops, and readied myself for a mad dash out to the car. Just as I reached the door, a huge bolt of lightning struck nearby, accompanied by a loud clap of thunder. I screamed and jumped back and quickly reconsidered my intended jaunt. At which point, my Beau, without a word, bravely reached out his hand for the keys then bounded out to my car to close up the roof for me.
All of which is to say this: I've long prided myself on being fiercely independent, and capable of doing most things I put my mind to on my own. Still, it is a wonderful thing to encounter someone who's able and willing to hold out a hand (or shoulder or ear) and render that not such a matter of necessity. They may be rare, but dragon slayers do exist. Gentlemen: take notes. And ladies, if you happen upon one -- especially one who'll dispatch dead opossums and brave the height of a thunderstorm for you -- hang onto him. And realize that you're a very, very lucky girl.
Special thanks to Katie Hedrick for the artwork!!