In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked our readers to write about their most memorable date in 200 words or less. You shared stories of baskets of kittens, sailboats capsizing and midnight kisses. We had many submissions and it was a tough decision, but our judges found these to be the most amusing, unusual and unforgettable dates. Congratulations to our first-, second- and
The Wings of Love
When I was stationed at the American Embassy in Saigon, a handsome and brave Air Force Captain by the name of Jim Pochurek invited me to fly on a low-flying defoliation mission over Viet Cong territory. I was adventurous (or stupid) enough to say yes. He bought me combat fatigues and we flew over what was considered to be a safe area.
During the flight, I asked what the sounds were. He calmly
informed me we were receiving ground fire, and the plane
was hit several times. Being a gentleman, Jim gave me his
flak jacket to sit on for protection.
Back at the base, the Wing Commander asked if that woman he saw was a war correspondent. When he found out we were on a date, it was not only the first time a woman would fly on a combat mission with Operation Ranch Hand – it was the last. We dated for months and eventually married. Our union lasted 48 wonderful years until Jim died from cancer. I discovered that love can flourish anywhere, even if people are shooting at you.
~ Patricia Pochurek, Palm Harbor
Fun, Fun, Fun Until Someone
Took the Buick Away
I had recently passed my driver’s test, and, after a lot of
pleading, talked my dad into letting me drive his new Buick on a date with the most popular girl in school to see A Summer Place. She said yes and I was on top of the world.
It was a hot summer evening in the 1950s and the windows were down. Consumed with her beauty, I wasn’t thinking and forgot to lock the car.
We had just sat down in the theater when she asked me to get her sweater. When I got to the parking lot in back, the car was GONE! My dad’s new Buick was GONE! Heart thumping, I went back inside to tell my date we couldn’t stay to see the movie; then I had to call my dad to tell him his new car had been STOLEN!
He borrowed a car to pick us both up (really embarrassing) and to take my date home. Then, (woe is me), I was left to face a very upset father. My dream date was a complete disaster. Needless to say, she never went out with me again.
~ Dennis Amendola, Sarasota
He Picked a Pack of Pungent Peppers
Excited to have a date for my 16th birthday,
I anticipated holding hands with Sam during a
romantic Elvis Presley movie at the Tampa Theatre.
After I got dressed, I peeked out my bedroom window and gasped to see Sam holding a long white florist box as he came up to my front door. Thrilled
that he was bringing me roses, I rushed to the living room where my family was already gathered to meet him. As I quickly untied the wide red satin ribbon and bow, I saw a lovely arrangement of long-stemmed greenery, white baby’s breath, and pungent-smelling green peppers, creatively shaped as blossoms!
He later confessed his mother Mary had helped him prepare this practical joke. I was aghast but soon joined my family’s laughter; Sam and I left together for our “most memorable date.” Little did I know then that our love would unfold like those green-pepper buds.
Sam would become my prom date, college boyfriend, husband, and father to our two beautiful daughters. A few years after he came out as gay, we divorced. We remained friends, are co-grandparents, and sometimes share care giving duties for his 96-year-old mother.
~ Norma Caltagirone, St. Petersburg