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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: Remembering cheap, yet fun dates

  • Daughter prompts Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley to recall dating days.
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  • My daughter has a boyfriend.
    Considering that some of her older siblings began dating a year or so earlier than my 17-year-old, I guess I knew it was only a matter of time before Anna brought home a beau.
    Anna’s brothers and sisters have been far more inquisitive about the young man their “baby” sister is dating than I’ve been. I’m content to know he comes from a good family, is as polite as can be, doesn’t wear his pants so low that I can observe if he’s wearing Batman boxers or not, and doesn’t have his car stereo jacked up so loud I can tell he’s on final approach two blocks away.
    No, I won’t reveal his identity in this public venue. Such a breech in protocol would put me at risk of waking up with what little hair I have left having been shaved off by my daughter. I will say I’ve hung a nickname on him of “The Motivator.”
    “Why?” you ask.
    Because the possibility of getting to spend a little extra time with him has motivated Anna on at least one occasion on a summer morning to wake up and get out of bed at the unheard of hour of 8 a.m.
    Anna, whose idea of cooking is warming fish sticks or chicken nuggets, has also been motivated to cook for her new best buddy. She’s made him homemade pizza, bread sticks and cookies.
    Not long ago Anna shocked me by asking her mother, Nancy, and me what we used to do when we’d go on dates long ago, back when the air was clean, the water was pure and gasoline was under $1.50 a gallon.
    When my future bride and I started dating there was no automobile. Yes, they had been invented. No, neither of us was old enough to drive yet. Consequently, a lot of our “dates” were walks together.
    Normally on a Sunday afternoon I’d put my little dog, Shorty, on a leash and we’d walk a mile or so to Nancy’s house. From there we’d go to a nearby field where I could turn Shorty loose and allow him to sniff to his heart’s content while Nancy and I would walk and talk.
    Because Nancy and I attended the same church, some of our “dates” meant being together at different youth group activities.
    As time passed there were dates that saw us attending school dances, going out for a pizza, taking in Cardinals games or spending time at Six Flags. But looking back, I think some of our most fun outings together were the most inexpensive.
    Page 2 of 2 - It’s now been over three decades since my beautiful bride and I exchanged wedding vows. We still try to carve out time for “dates” together. And much like when we were teen-agers, today’s most fun dates are simple ones – a walk down a trail in Riverview Park, throwing Frisbees in Huckleberry Park or a drive to get a treat from Dairy Queen.
    Even on our recent vacation to Gulf Shores, Ala., one might have expected his wife to want to go somewhere exotic for a meal or do something outlandish together like parasailing. But our most memorable outings together were walks together along the beach, the water of the Gulf of Mexico lapping at our ankles. When we weren’t walking hand in hand, Nancy was looking for shells and I was on the lookout for something unique to photograph.
    Later this week my bride and I will mark 38 years of marriage. Nancy has been asking what I’d like to do on that special day. My guess is it will be something simple, yet enjoyable.

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