This past friday was the 17th anniversary of my father’s death. He died at about 5:00 p.m. on October 3rd, 1997, when I was 33 years old.I was teaching a karate class when he finally crossed over. We had already said our final good byes. As I’ve said many time before, I miss him but I have no regrets. October 3rd is a day that has continued to pop up significantly through the last 17 years and once again this year it did not fail to deliver rich emotion with one eye on the past, one eye on the future and my heart fully in the present.
So on Friday night Christiana and I remembered the anniversary of our first kiss, which by the way happened seven years ago to the day on October 3rd, 2007. Our first kiss happened at a concert where we saw a band from my youth on their re-union tour. Fittingly the band was named Genesis. Now there are many more stories that could be told about that time in my life, but those are journal entries and not blog posts. I only mention it here to note the significance of the date in that it was the 10 year anniversary of my fathers’s passing.
As an interesting side note I got the tickets to that Genesis concert seven years ago quite last minute and very much through the law of attraction. I had been hoping to go see Genesis and had been thinking a lot about it but not really doing anything about it because I really didn’t go to many events at that point in my life. Sure enough though one day during the week of the concert a friend of mine who works for a local radio station walked in to the restaurant and said, “Hey Jimmy, would you like tickets to the Genesis concert on Wednesday night?” Um, yes!
But wait, there’s more. On the day of the show I was really excited to be going, but was wishing I had better seats so Christiana’s first experience with Genesis wouldn’t be from the 300 level of the United Center. About noon that day another friend walked into to the restaurant and asked what I was doing that night. I told here I was going to the Genesis concert and she asked where I was sitting. I told her that I was in the 300 level but that I was just happy to be going. She told me, and I quote, that “those seats just wouldn’t do,” so within an hour she had delivered to me two seats in the first row right next to the stage. I’m not making any of this up…
I had been to the United Center with Christiana a bit earlier in the year when we had gone to see Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium. In that case it was also a last minute development. We both were at work on a spring day when a guy named Marty came in for lunch. He told me he was the tour manager for the Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium and he offered us tickets for that night’s show. We weren’t together at that point but we both loved Cirque du Soleil so we took him up on the opportunity and had our first night out together socially very much by chance.
Three years ago on October 3rd, 2011 Christiana and I were in the famously romantic city of Paris, France. Before we left on that trip countless people asked me if I was going to propose while I was in Paris. We were very excited to be taking our first European trip together but we really weren’t quite ready to get enganged. The timing just wasn’t quite right yet, but I did want to commemorate our trip in a special way. Based on a tip from a couple of pilots we knew who traveled Paris often,
I had heard about a famous bridge named the Pont Des Arts bridge. At this bridge couples would lock a lock on the bridge and throw the key in the Seine river to seal their love for all time. I had a lock engraved back home and then surprised Christiana on that October 3rd we held our own ceremony.
While we were in Paris we also had the opportunity to fly down to the south of France and stay in a castle overlooking the Cote D’Azur. One of my regular customers had heard we were heading to France and came into the restaurant and told me his family had a place in Cannes that he would love for us to visit. It was there that we had a couple of the most magical nights of our lives. It was there that my blog really started to hit a roll with a set of five posts about our time in Cannes and the castle. It was also there that Christiana and I realized once and for all that our charmed lives really were intended to run parallel for all time. We knew when we got back from that trip that is was time to start planning our engagement and wedding.
Two years ago on October 3rd, 2012 Christiana and I found our wedding site. It was a hazy fall day with a mist in the air. We had already booked another wedding site and paid a deposit, but a friend of mine came into the restaurant (beginning to sound familiar here) and asked me, “Where are you getting married, Jimmy?” When I told her she said, “You should take a look at our property up in Lake Villa. It’s on the lake, has an 8000 square foot house, and a nine hole golf course. You could use it if you like.” So on the 15 year anniversary of my father’s passing and the 5 year anniversary of our first kiss, we completely uprooted our already existing wedding plans for the perfect alternative…an Irish country estate named Tir Na Nog and an Irish themed wedding. And oh my would my Irish father have loved that plan.
We returned from our one year anniversary trip to Ireland just last weekend. We had considered Ireland as a honeymoon site, but opted instead for the relaxed pace of Jamaica’s Negril beach. That decision left us wanting to close the circle of our Irish wedding with a one year anniversary trip to the Emerald Isle and as many of you have read here, the trip was quite literally life changing. As we slowly got settled back into our lives in these United States we both remembered that Fleetwood Mac was coming in concert the weekend after we got back. We had both wanted to see the re-union tour with the entire band including Christie McVie on stage together for the first time since 1997, not coincidentally the year my father passed. Unfortunately the demand for tickets was high as was the cost. Coming off a two week Ireland vacation we were ill-prepared to spend $500 on a couple of concert tickets. So on the night before the concert this guy named Marty walked into the restaurant. This time it was Christiana who was working and not me. Seems that Marty was no longer the tour manager for Cirque du Soleil and instead he was the tour manager for Fleetwood Mac. What do you think happened next? Of course it did! He offered us tickets.
So on October 3rd, 2014…on the 17th anniversary of my father’s passing…on the third anniversary of our lock throwing into the Seine…on the second anniversary of our finding our wedding site…we found ourselves in the exact same United Center we were in seven years ago on the night of our first kiss. Only this time instead of being in the first row on the left side of the stage we were in the first row on the right side of the stage. A fitting location indeed.
On October 3rd just two days ago we reveled in an inspired performance by a family of musicians who has a lot of history and even some baggage. Yet in the magic of the moment it was if I was like not an instant had passed since 1977 and the debut of what I think is the greatest single album of all time – Rumors. Seven years comes and goes in a hurry. It’s come and gone seven times in my lifetime and one time in my life with Christiana. My Grandma Herbert always said I was the lucky one because I was born on 7/11 the always winning numbers. I’d say she was right in many ways but in this case in particular I’m lucky that one of the saddest dates in my lifetime has produced so many happy moments since. So what do I think the next seven years of October 3rds might bring into our lives? Well based on history let’s just say I’m willing to roll the dice!