The bombshell

One day, as I walked into my hotel communal shower area, I glanced at the wall mirror. To my shock, my image in the mirror looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mister, it’s about time you were married!”

I was dumbstruck. Who said that? ME?

Then I did some math. I was 32 years old, with no marriage prospects. Even if I met a girl that very day, we would have to take, say, a year, to get to know each other and fall in love. Then, another year of engagement before we would get married. It might take two more years before we had our first child. Then, how many children? Well, at least two; another two years. That took me to age 38! By the time the youngest would be 21, I’d be 59 years old!

The next day, Edgar Muceniekas (geochemist at Bougainville, who didn’t believe that Panguna was a viable prospect) telephoned me, and said, “Tom, I have a girl I want you to meet. Come have a beer with me after work at the Southern Cross Hotel.”

When I met Edgar, he was sitting alone in a booth.

“Her name’s Elle, and she’s gone to the ladies’ room.”

A few minutes later, Elle appeared.

Hey, she’s not bad looking!

Elle and I shake hands and she sits down with Edgar. A few minutes and words later, she smiles a little, and I have a premonition.

On our first date, we met at the Central Post Office. I was fifteen minutes late, and out of breath from running.

We had lunch, saw a movie, and I saw her home on the train.

Two days later (play it cool) I telephoned her, and we met for coffee after working hours (remember, I’m on vacation!).   On that date I asked her out on Saturday, but it was her birthday, and her friends were throwing her a party.

She asked if I wanted to come to her birthday party. I said, “Sure.”

On Saturday afternoon I brought a box of candy with me, as a present.

She kissed me. On the mouth.

Five months later we were married.

As I write this, we’re looking forward to our 45th wedding anniversary.

Here’s a picture of her, taken on our honeymoon.Elle -- Mrs. B. T. Johnson(The following few posts give a thumbnail history of Elle’s traumatic childhood as a European war refugee.)

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