One year and two months ago my wife of 35 years died. I eventually got onto your service and met many women locally and some in other states, too. When Passover came in 2001, I wouldn’t hear of my in-laws not coming for the First Seder. I was determined to cook the chicken soup with the exact recipe my wife had written down and also the gefilte fish…doctored up with carrots, onions, gel, etc. I followed the same traditions. So, I ordered the rest of the meal from a deli, because you see, the next day I was going to drive to Florida to see my parents. Being 87 & 85 at the time, they weren’t able to make my wife’s funeral in New Jersey in the winter of 2000-2001.
I met a few women in Florida through JDate while I was there and was determined to renew myself at a resort hotel in Boca Raton. But I had this email address of woman in Florida. I didn’t know her name or address or phone number…just her email address. While at the hotel with my laptop and the hotel’s computer system, I tried in vain to contact her. I even sent her an email with no response. So, after I had seen my parents and felt somewhat better, I drove home.
When I got home, I figured… Why not send her another email and see what happens?! About a half hour later, she called me. She told me that if she would have known I was there, we would have met. She never got my email. I’m thinking this sounds like “Sleepless in Seattle” or one of those other movies where they’re supposed to meet at the top of the Empire State Building at a certain date and one of them gets hit by a car, never meeting.
Anyway… after many emails and two and three and four-hour telephone calls and photos being exchanged…it got to a point where we knew we had to meet. I told her, “You know I hate to fly! It’s not that I’m afraid to fly, I just hate the airports BS with screening, lost baggage, lousy parking facilities, being bumped off flights, and then lousy seats on the plane.” But then, into one of these four-hour conversations, I said, “There’s only one thing left to say,” and she said, “What’s that?” And I said, “Pick me up at the airport in morning!” She said, “What, are you kidding?” I said, “Don’t ask me again. I might change my mind!” She agreed.
So at 3:30 a.m., I hung up and started packing and made reservations in that same hotel. And yup, you guessed it… everything that I hate about airports happened to me. Anyway, a stewardess befriended me on the next flight out and bumped me up into first class. A ray of sunshine guiding me.
I get to West Palm Beach Int’l. Airport, and the cop refused to let her pull over, so she had to go around 5 times, until after a few cell phone calls, she finally pulled over. I hopped in, gave her a quick peck on the cheek, and off we went.
I had promised her that she was going to have a fairytale weekend. “Every fairytale you ever heard of when you were a girl, CINDERELLA, SNOW WHITE, Prince Charming, the knight on his white horse in shining armor… just wrap it all up into one, and I promise that you will have that this weekend.” So, off we drove into the sun… ha ha.
But, I had this night planned. At the top of the hotel is a 5-Star restaurant that was rated the most romantic restaurant by 2 of the town’s newspapers for 2 years in a row. We had the best table, the corner table overlooking the intra-coastal waterway, and we watched the boats below and the sun setting. White glove service and lobster on the table (sorry to disappoint the Kosher crowd…but lobster it was). Then the band started playing. Knowing we both said we loved to dance, I was going to find out just how good we were together. So we got up, and on the dance floor, we danced to swing, rock, modern rock, cha cha, mambo, merengue and rhumba.
When we went to sit down at our table, at least 5 people came up to us. They wanted to know, if we’d been dancing together since high school or “for at least 30 years.” I said, “No, we just met.” So they said, “No way…at least 25 years, right?” So just to kibbitz a little bit, I said, “Yes 25 years!” This guy turned to his wife and said, “See, I told you. Twenty five years together.” Then I said, “No, no, just kidding… really, we just met. We’re both widowed, and we just wanted to really have some fun together, and we did.”
After the second set of music, more people came to the table telling us that we had stolen the dance floor and that everyone was watching us. By the third set, the band asked us what songs and music we liked to dance to. In all, about 15 people came to our table just talking about the two of us.
OK folks, I know you’re dying to know her name. It’s Judi, my little Georgia Peach, who had recently moved to Florida. I call her Goldilocks and Peach Pie Ala Mode. I said, “Judi, I know the way you feel after being widowed twice at such a young age, and you just want to date and enjoy life. Me too. But these 15 people saw something on the dance floor, and I know we both felt it. She agreed, but still wanted to stay just friends at that point.
After many, many, very lengthy phone calls, plane trips, etc., she finally moved up here to NJ in July. She got a transfer from her Sears store in Florida to a Sears store here in New Jersey. She kept all of her benefits, and the store is 6 miles away from us. We will be living in New Jersey, renting out her condo in Florida, and still visiting my parents and her mother in Florida.
On her birthday in July, I popped the question. I am also an artist and drew a picture of the two of us under the chupa with the Rabbi who married us here in New Jersey on February 17, 2002.
Judi & Rich
Florida and New Jersey