For the fraction of you keeping track of whether I have a lady in my life or not this Valentine's Day, the answer is "not." I've written before about God giving me clarity on relationships with ladies, and that clarity still stands -- albeit sadly at times. Yet every so often, I meet someone who brings me unexpected warmth.
I encountered "Lady B" at a Robert Burns supper last month in Tucson, meaning the first time ever she saw my face, it was framed by my Scottish attire: blue bonnet, white cockade, red weskit, Royal Stewart kilt and plaids, red and white diced hose, and a silver Cameron clan kilt pin. She wore a nice semi-formal dinner dress and a contagious personality. Lady B was old enough to be my grandmother but young enough to radiate vigor. I sat at a table of eight, surrounded by seven other members of her family who received me with friendly respect. They happily posed with me for a few pictures, several at Lady B's invitation.
Maybe it was my Highland dress, or my beloved 18th Century manners of bowing and prefixing sentences with "My Lady" and "Good Sir." I gather they were fascinated with my short story of wandering from Missouri to Texas to Arizona through the course of my news producing career. I hope I inspired them by showing them how living history had "got me back to God." Lady B was inspired by something else.
"Do you know Barbara Grijalva?"
Yes I do, I told her. I work with her every day.
She lit up like the wick of a lamp encountering fresh oil. She told me of Barbara's husband, a postal worker, and how much he cared for and her two daughters -- both deaf. Lady B signed out of habit as she talked, telling me of this kind man who brought the mail and so much more.
The evening progressed through dinner and dessert to entertainment, as we watched the pipers play and the Scottish singers and dancers regale us. I pined for an opportunity, an invitation to the audience to partake of some reel or even the Gay Gordons, but that chance never came. I could only clap for encouragement.
Lady B was loving every moment of it, the joy of Celtic culture lifting her spirit beyond the ceiling. By the time we sang "Auld Lang Syne" to close the evening, she was not content to see me standing solo.
"Chris, get over here!" she called, demanding I join hands with her and the relatives for that song of days gone by usually crooned only once a year.
Afterward, she repeated what she had said to me several times that night: "I'm so glad you sat with us!" She hugged me and I bowed to her in my low, courtly manner -- head down, arched low, one foot in front of the other. She honored me with compliments again, and again I bowed.
"My lady," I said, perplexed. "You do me too much credit!"
She found it hard to leave, but her friends and family saw her out into the pleasant January evening. I don't know if I'll ever see her again.
As I said, God gave me clarity. He also gave me this desire for chivalrous love before erotic love. I find it much more fulfilling.
I love to honor the ladies.
I love being a gentleman.