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Cindy and I have been married almost 22 years.
I always tell people, “That’s a long time with one woman.”
Of course Cindy’s better at English and would probably use more descriptive words. She’d say something like “the years just flow by like a fast-moving stream with such a wonderful, kind, generous-to-a-fault, humanitarian and credit to the human race as that eloquent, yet humble writer of our times as my Kenny.”
Sure, she’d say something like that.
What do you mean you don’t believe it? You just don’t know me as well as you think you do. Well forget that. Let’s press on.
I still remember our first date as if it were yesterday. I called Cindy up and . . .
Ring, ring, ring.
“Uh, this is Kenny Begley. Is Cindy there?”
“This is Cindy.”
“Hello, Cindy, my sister-in-law, Penny, said she talked to you about me, and I was wondering if you might like to go out on a date.”
“Sure. Where do you want to go?”
“How about Fort Knox? I’ll bet you’ve never been there before.”
“Well, OK, but what’s down there?”
“What’s at Fort Knox? Good gosh, don’t you know the gold depository for the whole U.S. of A. is down there? Shoot, I can take your picture by the wire fence with the depository behind you. Then we can go over to the museum for the army’s greatest tank commander. It’s none other than Gen. George Armstrong Patton, and we can spend five hours looking at tanks. Afterwards, and only if you’re really hungry before I take you home, we can go to Burger King. What do you think of that? I said what do you think of that? Uh, hello, is anyone there? Hello?”
Strange. The phone line went dead. But you know, back in those days the communications capability wasn’t as great as it is now. Lines were always going dead on me when I called up girls to ask them out on dates.
Later that Saturday, we went on our first date to Louisville for a movie and dinner. No, we didn’t end up at Fort Knox on our first date. Cindy told me she wanted to save Fort Knox for a really special occasion when we were more serious about dating.
I understood. That gold depository should be saved up for a really special event.
Anyway I picked out the movie and it was called “Wall Street.” It was an all-American story about greedy financial types that almost destroy the U.S. financial system. Such fiction. Like that would ever happen in such a well- regulated economy as ours, with vigilant government watchdogs and crack politicians watching over the public’s vital interest.
Anyway, I watched the movie with rapt attention and woke Cindy up after it was over. I took her out for a night of exquisite dining at the McDonald’s down the street.
Cindy said, “This is it?”
“Don’t you like McDonald’s? I go here for the ‘ambience.’ That’s French for atmosphere. There’s something about those golden arches that draws me.”
“You like arches?”
We went in, and I told Cindy to sit down. I’d take care of everything.
Cindy said, “Good. I’ll have a cheeseburger and Coke.”
“Whoa, you must think I’m made of money. I’ve got a sack here with some bread and baloney. You just kick back and I’ll make some sandwiches.”
“What? I thought you said you were going to buy us some burgers.”
“Are you kidding? Look how much money I’ve saved. You’d be surprised how little baloney costs if you buy it just a week past it’s expiration date.”
“The supermarket sold you baloney a week past its expiration date?”
“Of course not. It was the deranged hobo I saw standing by the dumpster behind the supermarket.”
“Well, you still can’t bring your own food into McDonald’s to eat. You have to buy it here.”
“Oh, yeah? Who says?”
“The manager, and the police.”
“Well, you know what you can tell them?”
“You can do it yourself. They’re standing right behind you.”
I quickly turned around and looked them both in the eyes, then said, “I’ve always admired a person in uniform. Let me be the first to say I appreciate your service to the community. I mean that to you, too, officer.”
But you know what?
Mr. McDonald was having none of it.
“Sir, the young lady is right. You have to buy your food here if you want to eat in here.”
“How about this? What if we just buy Cokes here? Can we still eat our baloney sandwiches?”
“Alright, alright. Buy two Cokes and you can eat whatever that smelly gray stuff is on your bread.”
“How much are Cokes?’
“They’re a dollar apiece.”
“What? A dollar apiece? Oh, come on now. Can’t you give me a break today? I got it, I got it. How about this? What if we just cup our hands and you pour a little ice and Coke into it. How much would that be?”
I got to know a lot about the Louisville judicial system that night. Cindy, being fleet of foot, got away. So much for standing by your man. I was let go with a stiff warning and a free stomach pump. Who knew baloney could go bad so quick?
Writer’s note: Our second date was at Fort Knox. Warning: Do not take photos outside the gold depository. I’d tell you what happened, but that’s another story. Oh, by the way. I proposed to Cindy 30 days after our first date. We were married a year later. When I see a good deal, I like to lock it in. I love you, Cindy.