Friday, April 26, 2013

Would You Slay an Opossum in a Thunderstorm?

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!!

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