Our first official date together was at Greg's family cabin in Fairview, Utah. Official because it was just us - no other couples, no ski/snowboard trips with the swim team and no more stumbling school dances. Most importantly, we were finally acknowledging (albeit silently & separately) that there was definitely something between us.
It was the summer post high school graduation. And BYU was right around the corner.
The previous weekend Greg and I had been at a friend's 4th of July party where he'd casually mentioned the cabin. And then to my complete shock and delight, he'd asked me to go with him. Woa! The boy I really liked had asked me to spend an entire day with him. Just us! And not just for an evening. This was the whole day!
I was teaching swimming lessons that summer. My last lesson finished at 10:00 and I remember racing home to shower and get ready. He picked me up in his Dad's Isuzu Trooper - looking very prepared (and handsome) for a day of hiking and fishing. We reached Fairview about 1:00 where he bought us lunch at a local grease spot called T-Cee's. At the cabin we grabbed fishing gear and secured one of the canoes. Greg was big into fishing that summer and very quickly convinced me that my Dad's long-held advice for worms was no good there. No, no. I needed to use jakes.
I also needed to listen to this band called Rush.
One of the things I liked about being with Greg was the ease of conversation. Nothing ever felt awkward or strained. And above all - he made me laugh. A lot. The boy had a sharp wit (still does) and I was very attracted to his calm confidence and unruffled approach to life. He was also extremely good. Solid and seemingly unaffected by the constant worries and insecurities that plagued my own life.
We spent almost the entire time paddling together across the lake and back. We fished everywhere. He caught dozens of fish (kept 2 of them) and I caught nothing. We laughed a lot about that. At the other side of the lake we left the canoe on the banks and hiked above the water's edge to explore the beaver dams. When we reached a particularly swampy section, Greg hoisted me onto his back and trekked over the wet spots so my sub-par boots wouldn't fall apart. This meant I got to wrap my arms around his very strong shoulders (toned from years of hard swimming) while he held onto my legs. And did I mention he smelled really good?
(Yeah... favorite part of the date by far... sigh!)
At some point on the lake, Greg tried out (unbeknownst to me) what he thought was a stellar line to impress girls...
"Rachael, do you see those ducks over there on the water?"
"The ones at the end?"
"What about them?"
"They're wild ducks."
(several moments of silence while I looked at him strangely and contemplated if a tame duck even existed)
"Oh... yeah, I know that."
Tragic fail on Greg's part - though I didn't have a clue what he was talking about at the time. But it's been 20 years since that summer (16 years of marriage) - and we still laugh about it.
Back at the cabin, Greg showed me how to gut and grill the fish. He also introduced me to lemon pepper, which was - according to him - a definite necessity when it came to cooking fish. We ate on the deck while the sun was setting.
And because we didn't want to say goodnight when we reached Provo (even though neither of us wanted to admit why), we rented The Burbs. No hugging or hand holding. And no kisses. Just a really nice piggy back ride...
I got home about midnight.
(I don't have a picture of our first, official date. But I have this - taken 2 weeks later when Greg took me to the cabin again during his family's annual reunion. It's one of the earliest shots of our dating years. Oh yes... we look way too young. I know.)