My first date with Doug was back in 1990. Or maybe it was 1991 - Doug would know. Anyway, in my opinion, it was the best first date of all time.

Riga fallsI had been seeing AH for a long time. He was a great friend but we were poorly matched for more than that. AH was the strong, silent type. He was athletic, hardworking and Brad Pitt handsome. Unfortunately, he had a shallow heart. I wanted something from him that he was incapable of giving. He wanted someone less complicated and more skinny.

He broke my heart over and over. I knew he could never love me the way I loved him. I finally had enough, and ended it. Even though I knew it was the right decision, I was miserable.

Doug broke up with MR around the same time. He had been dating and then living with her for almost a decade. They bought a house together. A year after moving in, she grew tired of him, and moved out. Doug was terribly disappointed.

I had known Doug for seven years. We both worked for the CT Dept. of Environmental Protection. I liked him from the minute I met him, and always enjoyed his company. He was fun, smart and good natured.

Doug came down to the water cooler by my office one day. I asked him how he was doing, and he told me MR had moved out. I told him I had just ended things with AH.

We both thought we were going to be alone forever. We were feeling the pain. I proposed a commiseratory Major Mope hike. The plan was to wear black clothes, eat black food and drink black drinks.

Doug scoped out a hike on Mount Riga in Salisbury CT. Finding black food proved more difficult than I had imagined. I had to go with black beans (which turned out to be a source of killer gas), black seaweed, and black caviar (blecch. We ended up feeding the fish eggs to the dog). We loaded up our water bottles with blackberry brandy.

Of course we started drinking right away. We never stopped laughing. I had never had so much fun in my life. It was one yuck after another.

When we got to the top of the mountain, Doug peed on the geodectic elevation marker. (Riga is the highest summit in Connecticut.) The views were supposed to be spectacular, but it was so foggy we couldn't see a thing. He wrote silly stuff in the logbook at the top, about fog coming in on little cat's feet.

On the way down the mountain I was so drunk I fell a gazillion times. (The next day I was in a management meeting. I was wearing a skirt and one of the other directors noticed that my legs were mostly black and blue. He asked me what happened and I burst out laughing.)

When we reached the bottom, Doug suggested skinny dipping. Keep in mind that it was November 1st.

We stripped down to our underwear and jumped into the icy water beneath a waterfall. I was impressed that, despite the freezing temperatures, Doug was clearly "interested" (if you know what I mean.)

Then I started to go hypothermic. Doug dragged me out of the water and wrapped me in a great big American flag he kept in his pack. He brought me to the car - the infamous Skyhawk. I laid on the floorboards and tried not to throw up.

We made it back to my house, where I began to recover. So of course we drank more. Doug knocked over an entire glass of red wine on my brand new living room rug. As an alternative to spending the night in jail for drunk driving, he stayed overnight. He tried to get lucky (probably figuring hey, why not?) but I had the sense to say no.

The next morning we were both EXTREMELY hung over.

Afterwards, he sent me a thank you note. I still have it.

A year later to the day, he asked me to marry him.





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