Romance vs. Love, Part 2

Read Part 1
Read as one page.

When last we saw our intrepid trio, they were stopped on the way to the wash rack, discussing the vagaries of life to pass the time. Barry blurted out that Bill wished to take Sue to the section picnic coming up in a few weeks.

It seemed like a good idea so I said, yes.

When the day came, I was pretty nervous. Those were the more proper days when before men were not allowed to just walk into the women’s dormitory. To add to the anticipation, I had to wait for the runner to come from the Charge of Quarters office. I got downstairs and there my date stood in his shining armour of cut-off shorts and football jersey, in a pair of green Puma running shoes, with a ball cap. (We all wore ball caps, bill forward.) Bill looked like a jack rabbit surrounded by coyotes.

He took me to his chariot: a full-sized blue and white Dodge pickup, which he DID laughingly call his chariot. Or Doggie. We drove for what seemed to be hours through the desert to a man-made reservoir called Strike Dam. The 8-TRACK played The Eagles, On The Boarder. Little did I know that they would become the quai-soundtrack of my adult life. Ask me sometime how the nihilist anthem, “Life In the Fast Lane” became “our song.”

After the dusty drive, we got to the reservoir. The place was packed with dogs  and families.

The section picnic was the small-scale version of a company picnic. I had been to one company picnic before this one, as the daughter of an employee. Other than making sure I didn’t get into trouble, no one paid attention to me then. Now, I came to this picnic with my own identity: Airman Susan K. Litton. And Airman Litton had not been initiated into the section.

Since we were at a man-made lake, you can see how the initiation would entail being dunked.

I hate the water. I grew up where the water, even in a lake, is freezing cold all-year-round. The beautiful Coeur d’Alene lake tops out at about 50 in the dead of summer. The rivers in the area are colder because they are fed by the melting snow from the mountains. Hence, I never learned to swim. (Well, Mom tried. In fifth grade I got swim lessons, but fear got me only to the floating stage after 7 lessons.) I like my bodies of water at a distance.

Somewhere between finishing my first hot dog and going back for ice cream, someone, (Barry), got the bright idea to carry me into the lake and unceremoniously dump me so as to make me a true mechanic, and part of the group.

As a much thinner me was dragged out by several co-workers, I begged and pleaded—genuine terror is very convincing—and Barry made sure my head didn’t go under.

This is proof that external elements can overcome rat DNA when the subject desires.

I took my swim like a good little troop and was on the way back to Bill’s truck when on of the NCOs thought it would be funny to do it again. I suspect he thought it was funny, AND since I was wearing a shirt that was practically transparent when wet, it might be good to extend the fun.

Bill didn’t agree.

I can’t tell you precisely what Bill did, but I will tantalize you with this: he did something very gallant, and at the same time should have made me wonder about riding back all those empty miles to civilization with him. We didn’t have shows about serial killers back then, but I know Bill would have fit the profile if we had.

What he did stopped any further thoughts of dunking the newbie and I was grateful.

Bill and I getting together is a romantic story. To me at least. You’re saying,” I don’t about that, Sue. You’ve made it impossible to judge by leaving out a very juicy, and vital bit of information here. I can’t possibly make up my mind.”

Trust me, it is. And here is the difference between romance and love.

I used to tell the story with ALL the bits and bobs. I love the story of my first date with Bill. I treasure it.

But, it embarrasses Bill.

And he won’t even tell me why.

Once after telling it, and receiving raves reviews from some new friends, Bill asked me not to tell it again.

Bill is extremely quiet and private. You can ask Laura Hile. She’s known him for over a decade and has likely not heard him speak more than 20 sentences. Pamela Aidan has met him and probably couldn’t identify his voice in a blind comparison.

His privacy and obvious distress at my telling made me say yes when he asked that I not tell it again.

As I said, I love the story of my first date, it’s the stuff of legends. It would make a fantastic scene in a film.

It embarrasses Bill and I won’t tell it until he gives me the green light.

I’m waiting to tell our grandchildren. That’s years off.

I’m working on him.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day.

I hope you all have reason to know the difference between romance and love.

Take care—Susan Kaye


25 thoughts on “Romance vs. Love, Part 2

  1. Laura Hile

    Only BILL would be embarrassed by the story — no other man on the planet would. Because, dang, it reads like a movie script!

    So, now you threaten him. Either he allows you to tell it … or I will. And who knows what will get thrown in then? I’m a fiction writer. Which means I lie for a living. 😀


  2. Alison

    Oh, that was a lovely story, especially knowing that it’s real, not fictional! And it really should be in some romantic movie scene, where the hero and the heroine fell in love…

    Thank you for sharing this, and I think leaving it for the reader’s imagination is a best sort of romance – none of those explicit stuff that is vulgar and makes me wince and want to curse at the writer.

    Bill sounds like a wonderful sort of guy, being reserve and private, and protective of his girl sounds like a fitting Austen hero to me! 😀


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Alison, what Bill did was not vulgar or explicit in any way. I think it IS a misdemeanor in many states thought under criminal mischief statutes!


      1. Alison

        LOL!! See, this is why it’s best to leave it to the reader’s imagination! So that we could make up our own version to suit our fancies. And whatever Bill did (and i didn’t think it would be vulgar or explicit LOL!) it’s the thought that counts! 😉


  3. Robin Helm

    I think it’s extremely romantic. It would make a wonderful movie, with the Eagles soundtrack playing in the background.

    Bill sounds very much like a keeper. You are both blessed to have each other.

    I will promise not to tell Bill if you tell us the story. I’m dying to know it now. Maybe it would be a good post for Valentine’s Day?


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      It’s been a few years since I asked last so I will ask again. I will say that his actions remind me of Frederick Wentworth. After all the Lyme kerfuffle and silliness of the concert et al, FW took matters into his own hands.

      Bill’s actions that day are my “letter.”


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      If he gives me grief over wnating to tell the story, I’ll tell him what you’ve said. He’ll get a kick out of it.


  4. Laura Hile

    Think, girls.

    Remember the truck that Bill drove, and the fact that this happened in rural Idaho. Men have a rack for something in trucks like this. What do you suppose that something was?


  5. Robin Helm

    Laura, now I’m really confused. Here in the South, we have gun racks and cages for hunting dogs. Those are not romantic at all.

    Susan, tell Bill that you know a Southern belle who’s begging to know how a man from Idaho shows his chivalry. *sigh*


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Actually, Gayle, Bill was born in Louisiana. His father was Air force and they moved quite a bit, settling when Bill was 8 in Missouri. So, Bill’s courtin’ skills are more southern/midwestern than western.

      No matter, his methods worked and we’re still together after 34 years.


  6. George

    As She’s little (younger, there aren’t very many people I’m littler than) brother, I’ve never heard this story myself. But, knowing Bill reasonably well, I would guess that Laura is right on the mark.
    Bill had some nice toys that make noise in those days.
    Maybe I will be lucky enough to get a private retelling of this story some day. I’ll ask after a nice dinner and a few beers have been put down. I’ll catch Bill in a weak moment. Lol


    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Considering you were about 8 at the time, my romantic life has never been a topic I felt comfortable discussing with you. I suppose, since we are now middle-aged, we can go there. A little way down the path.

      Bill will likely not tell you a thing. You know him.


  7. Gayle Mills

    We’re counting on you, George, to bring home the prize.

    Loved the story, Susan. Wish I had something romantic to share.

    Romance…. Love…. Romance attracts; love endures. Romance is all about the impression; love is all about the real. Romance is all about using the mental to lead to the physical; love is the response your heart makes.

    Sounds like you and Bill got the right heart response right from the very start.


  8. Sophia Rose

    Lovely story and you are very blessed! My dad was a shy man so I have my suspicions about why Bill would like his actions kept secret. There really is something to the saying that still waters run deep.

    Thanks for sharing!


  9. Sharron Gerhard

    I’ve known Bill for longer than any of you other than Susan. I love him like a son a son to whom I would go for advice. Since I only heard the story last year, Sue’s claim is true. He is a true gentleman and I would trust him with my life. In fact, I do. You see, Sue is my daughter – and she is my life.




Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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