I met Carole over thirty years ago in Dalton, Ga.. Dalton was and is still known as the “Carpet Capital of the World.” I had been living in Dalton for several years and had earned my stripes as a reasonably successful businessman, and I was one of the town’s most eligible bachelors.

Before we met I was dating a woman who was an absolute hell cat. We went together on and off for a few years. There was some good in the relationship but every few weeks or so we would argue to no end so we would part company for a week or two. It was during one of these breakups that I was introduced to Carole by my friend Rod.

Both Rod and I were in the middle of break ups so we decided to go to dinner followed by a night of cavorting at the local gin mills in search of new conquests. A typical guys night. The hounds were set free. We agreed on meeting at a new Italian Restaurant in town.

When we arrived, we were greeted and seatedvpromptly. The waitress came by asking for our drink order, and Rod immediately recognized her as being married to an old friend from high school. Small talk ensued, and finally, Rod introduced me. It turns out Carole and Rod’s friend had recently divorced, and she was working at the restaurant part-time to help the couple who owned it while it was in the process of opening. Hmm, I thought. She was recently divorced. Easy and probably available prey. Pretty good looking too. Worth a shot from my point of view.

We had a few drinks and enjoyed our dinner while I did my usual flirting and carrying on with our waitress, my new prey. I picked up the tab and left an unusually large tip. While leaving, I cornered Carole and asked for her number. I GOT IT.

A few days went by, and I called Carole. We chatted for about an hour, and the courtship began. I found her to be very bright and engaging. We talked about everything, and I discovered pretty much all the was to know about her. The usual details were revealed. Where she was from, children, pets, employment, and why she was divorced, and why she married such a bad guy, to begin with?

The calls and conversations continued for a week or so until my old gal and I fell in love again. Making up was always fun and usually seems like a good thing to do at the time.

A week or so had gone by and I thought I would give Carole a call. Just to check in. When I called, Carole was somewhat distant and said that after all the calling she had thought I would have asked her out already. Uh oh, she was absolutely right. I was actually stringing her along. Not a nice thing to do so I asked if I could call her a back in a few minutes. That would give me enough time to gather my thoughts and to call the other woman who would probably be looking for a fight and no doubtedly give me the weekend off for bad behavior. I had a plan worthy of the dog I was.

I called Carole, and using my velvet tongue, I not only asked her out but told her I had been preoccupied with a few things, and I thought we could skip all the timely preliminaries and take off for the weekend to my condo in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. After all, we are adults. She said she would give it some thought and let me know the following day. The next day she accepted my invitation. This seduction was getting to be a very cool gambit. We made some plans and decided when I should pick her up to leave.

When I arrived Carole was ready to go. I on the otherhand was wearing a Nevada Jones hat and a high collared jacket. I had planned the backway out of town because I din’t want to be seen by anybody with a different woman. Dalton was a small town. Had I my drothers we would have departed in the dark of night.

I had such a great weekend that I decided my life with the other woman was not for me anymore and that I should and would pursue a healthier and more fulfilling relationship with Carole. A much more comfortable person to be around.

We became a number, and somewhere along the line, I decided to retire and relocate to one of my places in Atlanta. Leaving Dalton was a good idea because it got me away from that stalking and threatening maniac I once dated. Carole and I continued to see each other, but the trips back and forth were wearing me out. I asked Carole to leave Dalton and to come with me to Atlanta.

We lived in Atlanta for near nine years. One day I had decided that Atlanta with all the traffic and congestion was getting kind of old and I made up my mind to move by the ocean on the east coast. We decided to give Hilton Head a look and we planned a trip there. We left the following friday and we put a deposit on a house that Sunday. In those days I was all about being impulsive. We moved to Hilton Head in Novemeber of 1999. We were living the good life and our rellationship was fabulous. Not a single serious disaggreement or argument in all those years together. It was unnatural. We were happy with the way things were going and not once did we think about or discuss marriage.

Over the years, I had become an avid golfer, and I developed the bad habit of overswinging on the long shots. Eventually, my left hip deteriorated to the point where it was excruciating to play. At the end of a day’s play, I would usually be a basket case resulting from the pain. Most of the time, I was in agony, so I decided to see a doctor. It didn’t take long for the medical community to diagnose a necessary hip replacement. There was a lot of damage to my left hip, and I required immediate surgery. Like a soldier I insisted on immediate treatment.

The surgery was a little more complicated than originally planed. My injury was far more severe due to the years of abuse my body had endured. Golf was only part of it. When I was removed from the operating room and placed in recovery I heard a nurse say something like “is she his wife?”

I immediately thought, well that sounds like a good idea and I blurted out my proposal to Carole. I heard her immediately start laughing and telling the nurse that I didn’t mean it, he’s under drugs. Well damn it I did mean it and I said so. Would you believe she turned me down? I said I will never ask you again. I still can’t believe she turned me down in such a poignant moment. Wow.

A couple of years later I was coming home from work. I climbed the staircase and greeting me at the front door was Carole. I was so tired and hungry. The moment was surreal. Carole exclaimed “WE’VE BEEN TOGETHER SO LONG, WILL YOU MARRY ME?”. I pushed by her and said of course I will, what’s for dinner? After dinner I was sitting in the den and Carole came over to my recliner, got down on a knee and asked me if I would marry her? How neat was that?

About two or three months went by amd we were married at the South Carolina Yacht Club. We had a great wedding. Friends and relatives came from near and far. We did it up first class and we will always remember the day.

The thing I remembered the most was the night before the wedding. I got down on a knee and asked CAROLE TO MARRY ME? SHE LAUGHED AND SAID, “I WILL. “

I have been around for a very long time and have had a number of experiences. I have many stories to tell and a lot to say. I am delighted to have a platform.