Tom and I met in the Summer of 2003. I lived in Birmingham, AL and worked at UAB as an inpatient physical therapist . Tom lived in Fort Worth, but was visiting Nana at UAB after she underwent a hip replacement. I was Nana’s physical therapist. When Tom walked up to the nurse’s station to ask a question, I looked up from a chart and my heart skipped a beat. I felt butterflies in my tummy. At the time, Tom and I were both in relationships, but we exchanged email addresses and emailed sporadically for the next nine months. Our emails were platonic, but over the course of those emails, I fell in love with that sweet man of mine. In December, I ended the relationship that I was in.
Tom’s first romantic email arrived in January of 2004, while I was vacationing alone in Sedona, Arizona. When Tom’s dad had heart surgery at UAB in March, Tom traveled to Birmingham to be with his family. We had our first date March 18, 2004. A friend recommended we see a musician named Will Hoge, who was playing at Workplay that night. I know it’s crazy, but I knew on our first date that I would marry my husband. We talked about marriage on our third date, later that week.
Will Hoge quickly became on of our favorite musicians. We have seen him in concert a handful of times. When I realized that he would be in town, I surprised Tom with tickets to his concert tonight in Deep Ellum. With the history of crime in Deep Ellum, Tom had reservations about going, but I assured him we would be fine. We found The Prophet Bar on a dimly lit street, surrounded by vacant buildings. The place was so sketchy that people weren’t even parking their cars on that block. The band had it’s RV and equipment trailer parked directly in front of the bar, which gives you the impression that they were also concerned about the neighborhood. I circled the block three times trying to talk Tom and myself into stopping.
It’s funny how priorities in life change. When I was younger and childless, I wouldn’t have thought twice about parking my car and walking through that neighborhood. As much as I wanted to see Will Hoge, I kept thinking about the risks and benefits of decisions we make in life. I thought to myself, we will probably be some of the oldest and most financially stable people in that crowd, which would make us an easy target. In the end, we headed towards home. We had a drink and appetizer at BJ’s Brewhouse in Hurst, and called it a night. We laughed and had wonderful conversation, without interruptions from our kids. Sure, that concert would have been awesome, but the night ended up better than I could have imagined. Maybe we’ll catch Will Hoge the next time he is playing in the area.