Eight years ago today, I wandered halfway up the coast of Florida to watch a hotshot minor-leaguer and write a story about the guy. I decided not to sit in the press box like I usually do, instead taking a front-row seat behind the backstop screen to grab a better view of the pitcher. I'm guessing there probably weren't 500 people in the ballpark that night, and I had the row all to myself -- save for one other person: J.G.
She caught my eye pretty much instantly, and after we got to talking, I was sold. She was -- and still is -- about as charming a person as you'd ever want to meet. Polite. Cheerful. Friendly. I'd like to be able to tell you that things just took off from there, right at that moment. But they didn't. She declined my offer to buy her a soda, and I didn't ask for her phone number or e-mail address. And so we went our separate ways after the game, me figuring 'Shucks. Oh well."
But four months later, when the hotshot minor-leaguer was called up to the big leagues, she read my story about it on the Internet and fired off a note to my newspaper e-mail account, one that started -- I'll never forgot -- "I don't know if you remember me, but...."
Well, the rest is history. J.G. and I began corresponding by e-mail. She swears to this day that I responded to her first letter within a matter of hours, revealing to her my poorly disguised interest. It didn't take long to discover we shared much in common, namely our interests in books, horses and, of course, baseball. The kicker came when we found out we were born a day apart, me being the oldest.
So there you have it, the story of how J.G. and I met.
It's our eighth anniversary, and I can tell you that they've been eight wonderful years. Wouldn't trade a one of them for any other. I'm just as crazy about J.G. now as I was then. We click so well, without even trying, that a few weeks ago a Macy's sales clerk gave us a 10 percent discount at the register simply because she admired how well we got along. Shopping for sheets! I kid you not.
Anyway, J.G., here's to us. Happy Anniversary.