It felt like going back in time to visit my friend in Bowdoinham from my downtown Freeport home. Freeport, with its shops and shoppers, was a bustling metropolis compared to drowsy Bowdoinham. My teaching partner in American studies at Freeport High School had invited me to dinner on a Friday night in early May.

I arrived at my friend’s house, was greeted by her and her husband, and then was introduced to a handsome stranger. He had on a teal sweater and appeared very tall because the ceilings in my friend’s house were quite low. He was a government professor at Colby, my alma mater. But I didn’t catch his name. He lived nearby, and their sons were both high school juniors. We both admired Anne Tyler’s novels, I got that much.

We had pleasant conversation, but I hate to admit that my friend and I got embroiled in conversation about our classes and students as well as our annual argument over National Honor Society. She was the adviser and believed it was an important organization largely because of the service component required of those elected to it. I objected to the method of voting on members where faculty could deny membership to qualified students. The stranger agreed because of his son’s experience in high school.

I didn’t think about the handsome stranger after that until the middle of the following week, when my phone rang. The caller said his name. I was puzzled at first. Then he said he enjoyed meeting me, and he’d like to take me out for a meal. Then I remembered. He asked me to look at my calendar. A professional dater, I thought, especially when he had no available time until two weeks later. And it was on a Sunday, when he had plans later in the day. I was intrigued, though.

Both my daughter and I were suffering from a stomach bug that weekend. But I was still unsure of his name and didn’t have his phone number. I managed to rouse myself for the 11:30 knock at my door. I was fine for the two hours we spent together, not eating much but talking a lot.

Yes, he had dated a fair amount since his divorce some years earlier, but he had taken a step back since January. He wasn’t sure what kind of relationship he wanted, but he wanted to see more of me.

The next weekend we went to the movies; then he cooked dinner at his house in Bowdoinham. We were married in October of that year after we looked at our calendars and saw we could fit it in on Columbus Day weekend. He’s been making dinners for me for 30 years.

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