Hubby and I have been married for what seems like forever and we both tend to laugh when folks stress themselves out about Valentine’s Day and romance. What these people don’t realize is that something as simple as a dried out, heart-shaped meatloaf can make a memory that lasts a lifetime.
Hubby and I met during the summer of ’79. He asked me to marry him on our second date and three months later, I had a wedding ring on my eighteen-year-old finger and was setting up house in a tiny apartment close to the Air Force base where Hubby was stationed.
As the saying goes here in the south, we were poor as church mice. Military pay wasn’t much but looking back, it didn’t matter. We had everything we needed and were too young and dumb to realize otherwise.
At our one month of marriage mark, I decided a romantic evening was in order. Since the date fell right before a payday, pickings were pretty slim for the special dinner but luckily, we had one package of hamburger meat left in the freezer. “Perfect,” I thought. “I’ll make a heart-shaped meatloaf.”
I wasn’t much of a cook back then. While growing up, the only time I’d been allowed in the kitchen was when it was time to wash the dishes or set the table. Anything else and I was just in the way or getting on my mother’s nerves. So…my cooking skills were a work in progress. Armed with a ginormous copy of THE JOY OF COOKING, I figured meal-preparation would be a learn as you go kind of deal.
However, as I soon discovered, I kind of overlooked the fine print in the book that said cooking times could vary because oven temps were all the same. That heart-shaped meatloaf came out black as coal and harder than a brick bat. I nearly panicked. There wasn’t another scrap of food in the house and I’d already told hubby I was planning a special night for us and a surprise for supper. So far, the only surprise about supper was that the smoke alarm hadn’t gone off.
I just knew Hubby was going to think, “What in the hell have I gotten myself into with this one.” Or even worse: he’d laugh at me and tell his friends about what an idiot he’d married.
As it turned out, he didn’t laugh or crack a single joke when I brought that heart-shaped charcoal briquette to the dinner table. He informed me that it was awesome then proceeded to flip it over so we could attack the charred beast from the underbelly and dig out whatever edible meat that might be in the center.
We both ended up laughing over that rock-hard heart of hamburger meat. And that night, so long ago, is still one we talk about and enjoy remembering. So, don’t sweat about being romantic. Romance doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. All you really need is love—and maybe a chisel for the meatloaf.
What do you think? What do you need for romance?
No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s Maeve Greyson’s mantra. She and her hubby of nearly thirty-eight years were stationed all over the place with the U.S. Air Force before returning to their five-acre wood in rural Kentucky where she writes about her beloved Highlanders and the sassy women who tame them.
Find out more about Maeve at these places on the web and check out her latest series, Highland Hearts: