How I Met Ernie: Today is Our 6th Wedding Anniversary
Meeting Ernie was like the end of a journey. After nothing but lousy relationships with men my entire life, I finally met the perfect man for me. If you’ve had challenges with love or are happily in love – you might enjoy my story.
It was Saturday August 2nd 1997 and I was excited. I’d just bought a computer and gotten online for the first time a few days ago. I’d heard there was a lot of information online about singles. It wasn’t fast or easy to access back in the dial-up days. But I was curious and so I surfed. I had no idea what I was doing – it was just a way of getting familiar with the new world of the Internet.
When I noticed an announcement for a singles beach picnic about an hour from where I lived in Vista CA, I decided to go. I figured it wasn’t a smoky bar, and, you never know what could happen. As I drove north along the I-5 close to the Pacific Ocean I felt a sense of anticipation and expectation. Something great and life changing was about to happen. I tried to calm myself, but it persisted the entire drive.
I found Dana Point State Park and walked and walked and walked for half an hour with a beach bag slung over one arm and a folding chair over the other. I was almost ready to turn around and walk back to my car when I finally found the sign for the picnic. The gathering was just getting started. Like many singles events, there were more women than men in attendance. If nothing else it would be a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the beach
After about an hour, I heard a male voice in an accent I didn’t recognize. I turned and saw a pair of nicely muscled, brown, male legs in shorts. All the women were saying, “Hi Ernie! How you doing, Ernie?”
He chirped back, “Helloooooo!” I later learned the event organizer practically begged him to come so there would be enough men in attendance.
I stood up and joined a cluster of women talking with him. He had deep brown skin, but hair like a Caucasian. I nudged the woman next to me and whispered, “Introduce me, would you?” She did and he smiled hello. His smile melted my heart. Our eyes locked. It was as if everyone else fell away, though I heard the gaggle of feminine conversation around us.
I thought how do I get him away from this crowd to talk with him alone? Without hesitating I said, “Who wants to go swimming?” I hoped he would say “yes” and the other women wouldn’t want to swim and get their hair wet.
“I’ll go swimming with you,” he said, not missing a beat. As if on cue the other women dropped away.
We walked down the sandy beach and into about knee deep water as the waves crashed into us. There was an instant attraction different from anything I’d ever felt. I don’t remember much about that first conversation – it was many years ago. I remember him asking questions about my education, my religious faith and my family. He said he was born in India and he came to America after high school. He told me he had two grown sons. I was 39, he was 51.
I knew nothing about Indian people. I’d never even tried Indian food back then. A million questions swirled through my mind. Wasn’t India a country where women were treated like second class citizens? Would he expect me to walk two steps behind? Would I be chained to the stove stirring curry for the rest of my life?
His sweetness, graciousness and sense of humor drew me in regardless of my fears.
I suggested we get out of the water and walk down the beach along the ocean’s edge. We walked a couple miles along the wet sand. On the way back he took my hand in his. I’d only known him a little over an hour, but already I felt a deep connection with this unusual man I still find difficult to explain all these years later. A lifetime of all the wrong men and the wrong relationships fell away. I was finally home.
When we returned to the group two hours later it was dusk. The guys built a bonfire to light the evening sky and cook hot dogs and marshmallows over the flames. Ernie never left my side that evening. Our knees touched lightly as we sat on a blanket.
We talked with others and enjoyed the laughter and joking all around as the night sky grew dark. But it was clear to everyone, in the two hours we spent away from the party we became completely connected as a couple.
I got up from the sand and walked down to the water’s edge. I wanted to etch this perfect moment in my mind forever. I knew he was the one for me for the rest our our lives. We hadn’t even kissed yet. In the indigo sky on a sultry August evening, a sliver of moon and a few stars hung in the sky. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and just whispered a simple, “Thank you, God. He’s the one,” to the heavens.
We’ve been crazy in love together ever since. Through the years he’s been the kindest, funniest, most supportive wonderful man I’ve ever known. I’ve never had to walk behind him and he makes the curry. His smile still melts my heart every day.