Day 25: He would a-wooing go

A year or so after “Barry the Drill” was announced over the PA at work, it occurred to Barry and me that we might be interested in each other.

Barry asked me out to a movie, followed by dinner.

A double-hitter! And not some chick flick or guys-only action movie, either. A drama. An “I respect your mind” movie! An “I want to have a meaningful conversation over dinner” movie. Woo-hoo!

Dinner? That was going to be at a restaurant with a capital “R,” not the family diner where he, Smokey, and I had been spending our Sunday afternoons for the past few months (Smokey, a very talented poet, is another of the regulars from the coffeehouse).

Nope, this restaurant called for a sport jacket (him) and dressy pants and blouse (me). One Serious Date Night.

I spent more than the usual amount of time getting gussied up. Fidgeted nervously while I waited, hair fixed just so, make-up as dewy-fresh as you can get in your mid-forties, and butterflies practicing their acrobatics in my tummy.

At the appointed hour, I heard Barry’s van pull up to the house. Listened as his confident step approached the door. Paced myself so I answered the ring of the bell neither too eagerly, nor too casually. We’d been friends for over a decade, after all!

I opened the door. It was summertime, so there was still plenty of light in the early evening sky. I could see Barry looking all spiffy in his sport jacket, and (oh my goodness!) he had brought me a courting gift! I couldn’t remember the last time something like that had happened!

I was struck dumb for a minute with the surprise, then dumber when I realized what he was thrusting in my general direction.

“Here,” Barry said, urging the gift into my not-so-ready hands. “This is for you.”

My soon-to-be-sweetie had brought me … a package of raw, dead cow (okay, a couple of nice-sized steaks). And not just any dead cow. Grain fed, free-range dead cow.

Someone had taken the time to make sure the cow was happy when she was slaughtered. No killing of unhappyanimals–only the ones that liked their lives. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one. I may end up a vegetarian yet …

As I blinked at Barry in semi-disbelief, my mind flashed on the candies, poetry books, and flowers that had cemented my grandparents’ courtship.

I did the only thing I could think of:

I accepted the coolish, red-drippy gift, smiled sweetly, and said, “Oh, Barry, how delightful! Wait, I’ll just put this in some water …”

Worried that I would ruin his gift for good and all, Barry followed me to the kitchen, all the while explaining that water wasn’t such a good idea: I should really put the steaks in the freezer so they wouldn’t spoil.

“Barry,” I told him. “It was a joke. Of course they’ll go in the freezer. But tell me, kiddo: why did you bring two pieces of dead cow to my door?”

“Oh,” he said, “I watched a documentary on New Guinea. Men regularly go courting  by bringing meat to the door because meat is in such short supply. It’s a way to show they’re good providers.”

Somehow I didn’t think the hunters in New Guinea stopped to strap their kill to Styrofoam trays and cover it all in plastic wrap before presenting it to the object of their affections, but I remember Mom telling me that it’s the thought that counts.

I decided to run with that one, and I’m glad I did:

This was only the first in a continuing string of kooky things that make me smile, chortle, and even laugh out loud. And you can’t ask for a better gift than that!

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About Billie Noakes

The writer you want for crisp, clean copy.
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3 Responses to Day 25: He would a-wooing go

  1. Heather says:

    Wow. Just wow. Thank you, National Geographic. lol

  2. Tia says:

    I read your posts with great anticipation. I never know where they are going, but I’m always happy when I get there. Meat… too precious.

  3. Billie says:

    Tia, Barry LOVES to learn about really off-beat things–in depth. So one year I bought him the book, “A World History of SALT.” Big mistake. Every time we went to dinner, whether at friends’ homes or in restaurants, he’d reach for the salt and proceed to tell us ALL about it. And to balance it all out, he started learning about pepper, too. We keep each other around for the stories (I can pitch as well as catch in this game!).

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