Kathy Bohannon

The cheap date

I joke a lot about being a cheap date, but it’s true. My husband knows I’d rather have an evening of sitting on the porch with him than a dozen roses. He knows he can clean up the kitchen and it’s worth a night on the town to me. I have always cherished our time together, and many years later I realize that’s one thing that has never changed.

When Ninja Man and I began dating back in 1975, our “dates” meant going to friends’ houses and the lake where his family had property. There was no lake house, just an overgrown spot of land that we dragged an old jon boat across so we could row across the lake. I was 16 and he was 21. When I look back on those days so many years ago we were so crazy in love it didn’t matter where we were, just that we were together.

I had friends who only dated guys that would take them to dinner and movies. My guy was in technical school and I worked part-time so funds were sorely limited. Looking back I’m glad they were because we spent quality time together. When not at friends’ houses or the lake, we hung out at my house or his mom’s house. We went on long drives along I-285. We sat on my driveway and talked for hours.

We did have one super fancy date while we were courting. I won a pair of tickets from a radio show to the Midnight Sun dinner theater in Atlanta. Though I was way underage, I managed to get through the checkpoint at the door and had the most amazing evening any girl could ask for. A full staff of waiters stood at bay, appearing often as they refreshed our iced teas as quickly as we sipped on them. I don’t remember much about the play, only that Sid Caesar starred in it. I had no clue who he was and I didn’t care; it was my Cinderella night. and I was being treated like royalty. I wore my mom’s pearls with a borrowed formal gown and my hair — for once — was perfect. The handsome guy beside me completed the fairy tale.

I knew that I would never forget such a night and it would probably be the only time I would have an experience like it. While we haven’t returned to an elegant dinner theater, we’ve been to other fancy places over the years and I always come away happy to return to my reality where I look forward to porch time as if it were a grand ball.

We are on vacation over the next few weeks. We talked about going somewhere amazing where the sun sets on Caribbean shores. We talked about flying up to one of my favorite places on the planet, Acadia near Bar Harbor, Maine. We considered a cruise and even talked about the Grand Canyon. We decided to go camping instead.

“You know I’m a cheap date,” I told my husband. I think I detected some relief in his laugh that followed. “Yeah, but you’re my cheap date,” he said, hugging me. I thought of all the options we had, but the smell of breakfast bacon cooking at camp is just one of the most enjoyable things I can think of. The only thing better is if someone else is cooking, and Ninja Man is always willing.

There’s a pile of supplies by the back door; wet weather gear, extra linens and a few good crafting magazines just waiting to be hauled to the truck. We’ll head out soon and meet up with some family and friends along the way as we go from campground to campground. I know we will come home with great photos documenting our travels and memories of long summer days spent doing as little as possible.

The only thing that might make our trip better is if we find an old jon boat to row across a lake.

Now that would truly be a date to remember.

(Kathy Bohannon is a regular contributor to The Newnan Times Herald. She is the author of two books: Dyson the Terrible Puppy and Gardens of Savannah. Both can be found at www.barnesandnoble.com .)

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