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Lots of reasons to be happy

By Dennis Minich

I am in a really good mood this week, mostly because I am so excited. Now when I say I am excited, the usual question is what am I excited about? That is unless I was posting the comment on Facebook, then the response would be, “How can you be excited when the city is making us move our trash cans and won’t let us park in the yard anymore?”

My excitement could be simple. It’s spring and gradually we are breaking the bonds that winter places on us. It is certainly time to hang up the winter coats and break out the colorful Hawaiian shirts. Of course, it should also be noted that it’s spring and all the pollen and other pollutants in the air make it nearly impossible to breathe.

I assume you probably know why I am excited. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I love baseball season and it all cranks up next week. Actually, if it hadn’t been for the stupid labor negotiations, we would already have a game in the books. But that is OK, it’s starting soon enough, so that’s great.

Maybe it’s because it is the first weekend in April which means the college basketball season is at the summit. And yes, I have a team in the Final Four, but I won’t mention names because if I did, about half of the folks in the area would rally around me, the other half would be angry about my allegiance. Well, what the heck, even though I don’t want to stoke the fire too much, how exciting is it that the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks are poised to win the NCAA women’s national championship?

My excitement could be because of next week’s election. Nope, that certainly isn’t it.

While some of those things could be contributing to my positive outlook, the real reason is for the first time, I am getting to take my fiancé, Leslie, out for her birthday. Even though we have been together for nearly three years, we have yet to have a real chance to celebrate her big day. We met in 2019 after her birthday. In 2020, we had big plans for the date, but like everything else, those plans were canceled by COVID. We had hopes for last year, but once again, restrictions on travel and indoor events eclipsed our plans. So, for the first time, I get to take Leslie out to celebrate the fact that earth has made another revolution around the sun in her lifetime.

With the excitement comes some anxiety. After nearly three years in the making, how do I properly script the celebration? I know that there is nothing Leslie likes much more than a good dinner at Cracker Barrel. And that is hard to beat, but I don’t know if the lighting in the place would really compliment the new blouse and shoes she bought for the evening. Actually, I was quite shocked she needed new shoes. However, she explained to me that none of the six-dozen pair currently on display in the closets were just right for such an eventful evening.

Now knowing she is putting on the Ritz, I will have to follow suit. Since I own three pairs of shoes, all walking shoes (which sounds so much more formal than tennis shoes) I will have to decide whether to wear the comfortable white ones or dust off the fancy black shoes. I doubt even this celebration rises to the level of wearing my ultra-fancy gray New Balances. By the way, have you noticed that old, fat guys all wear New Balances? Seriously, go out and watch, virtually every older guy will be sporting shoes with the giant N on the side. I never got a memo telling me what to purchase, so either I started the nationwide trend and everyone has copied me, or I was secretly informed through some sort of telepathy.

So, if I am wearing my fancy shoes, I have to wear a nice shirt, which complicates the evening plans. Most “really fancy” restaurants like Applebee’s and Fazoli’s serve food which can be kind of messy to eat. Messy foods and fancy shirts don’t go together well in my universe. As the old saying goes, “I wear my food well.” So, I have to find the right combination of cultured cuisine with a minimum of potential spillage.

Then comes something else, a birthday outing has to be more than just a fancy meal at Captain D’s. I was thinking maybe dancing or something with culture, but I want something really special and intimate, so I looked and sure enough, one of the drive-in theaters in KC is open and what can be more intimate and says I love you more than a bucket of popcorn and a “Batman” movie?

So, there it is. Months of planning is going to pay off big time as I show Leslie what she means to me and we have an unforgettable evening. Leslie likes to be pampered so after she sees what all I have planned I am pretty confident I will be in
an even better mood next week.

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