Pardon the interruption from Black History Month for a significant date, our anniversary, which is today the 9th. of February. I asked Pretty last week if she remembered we had an anniversary coming up. Oh yes, she said. What day is it then? I asked. Time passed as the wheels turned. I could see them turning. Is it the 12th.? she finally asked. No, I replied with outright disgust. It’s the 9th. Pretty said oh she knew it was either the 9th. or the 12th. but thought she always got it wrong so she went with the one she didn’t really think was right. Didn’t I say I saw the wheels turning? For 21 anniversaries, Pretty has never remembered the right date. I always remember because I have it written on my calendar, and I don’t consider that cheating. I consider it brilliant.
Return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear to meet Pretty who magically changed from being a close friend and confidante (before the spontaneous trip to Cancun pictured above in February, 2001) to a woman who was hotter than the salsa we had with dinner at La Destileria the first night we were there. And trust me, that salsa was hot.
Pretty was “out” in a conservative state in a tumultuous era. She was ahead of her time with her Bluestocking Bookstore in the Vista in Columbia before the Vista became cool. Her business closed after three years, but her contribution to the LGBTQ community was recognized and appreciated. She served on the original board of directors for the SC Gay and Lesbian Business Guild formed in 1993 and was the second president of that organization. Her passion for equality was the catalyst for an activist’s life, a passion she and I shared as friends over the decade that was the 1990s.
At the turn of the century, change was in the air. It was like everyone suddenly realized time was passing faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and if Superman and Wonder Woman were unlikely to intervene in the chaos and/or uninspiring sameness of our lives, we needed to make radical changes ourselves.
Both Pretty and I were in long term lesbian relationships that experienced seismic shifts as the first year of the new century came to a close. Our partners began looking for love in other places. Pretty had the additional drama associated with making a home for a fifteen year old son who she adored, an athletically gifted teenager who was the quarterback of his high school football team and the starting pitcher for their baseball team. She mixed her real estate appointments in her new career as a realtor with her tennis league schedules and her son’s games.
The trip to Cancun was the launching pad for the most adventurous ride of my life. I had no way of knowing then that the gorgeous intelligent intellectually inquisitive woman with the wonderful sense of humor who grew up in New Prospect, South Carolina would marry the woman from deep in the heart of Richards, Texas and that we would be together for the next 21 years sharing a life unimaginable to me as a child. Yet, here we are – still laughing at each other’s jokes, still loving, still standing. And yes, still eating Mexican food as often as our older appetites allow; but now with the additional delight of sharing quesadillas with our two year old granddaughter Ella who makes our love richer, more joyful, more playful.
Lo and behold, Ella has a new baby sister Molly
Number One Son who was 15 years old when we got together has become the father of two precious daughters, the husband of Pretty Too who we also are so thankful for. We love them all. Life is good.
How do I love thee, Pretty? Let me count the ways, and let me begin with the spicy salsa you have always brought to our family life together for two decades plus now. Unbelievable. Inconceivable. Somewhere in a distant childhood we must have done something good.
Happy 21st. Anniversary, Pretty.
Please stay tuned.