An Experience Junkie, that is.
As the photo of me with the fish will attest, I did in fact survive the excursion to the fishing lodge with The Chef. He has proven himself to not be a serial killer, I found no evidence of blood or body fragments in the lodge and he was a kind and attentive host.
That twenty-four hour visit which I guess we can call a Blind Date was chock full of adventure, and I am a sucker for adventure. Give me my camera and a hint of something exciting or (even better) something I’ve never done and I will smile as big as that smile of me holding that 13.5 lb Blue Catfish I wrestled from the bay.
The afternoon Saturday started with my arrival….albeit early which The Chef took in stride like the good host he is. We enjoyed a cocktail on the wide open, wrap around, second story porch of the Lodge and talked. We talked, then talked some more, then continued talking until the sun went down. We never seemed to stop having things to talk about and it was an adventure in itself because The Chef has LIVED, y’all. He’s got stories of cooking for celebrities, bungee jumping, going to war, traveling the country as a Comic, an Actor, a Producer of television and film and the list goes on. He’s a character, an entertainer, a creative spirit, a sensitive soul and an Adventure Junkie just like me. We ended Saturday night with some delicious street tacos from a great little Mexican restaurant and a frosty margarita and we both felt at the end of the day that we’d met a kindred spirit in one another.
Sunday morning started before dawn with dark, hot Nectar of The Gods made by The Chef in a French Press – a new first for me, and then we planned the day. We chased the sunrise and photographed the heck out of it, then he put his boat in the water and drove so fast it made my heart race and I swear I heard the theme song for Miami Vice as we rounded a bend or two.
We went in search of gators – one of my favorite things to photograph. On a whim I asked if we could stop to fish, so we did and YES!!! I caught my first fish. Wrestled it from the watery depths myself and though we released it, it was a fantastic feeling, holding that surprisingly heavy, slimy creature knowing I had won that fight for the day. It was exhilarating and….well, the smile on my face tells the story.
The water excursion won me not only a fish, but also the gator. That little guy popped his head up, interest piqued by the struggling fish on the line and with a little coaxing by my Fishing Guide (The Chef) came closer…then closer still to the boat and posed like a Supah Model for a generous few seconds and I got some good shots of it.
The afternoon wound down with The Chef teaching me how to make pasta from scratch and y’all it’s not hard. I will do it again on my own and though I don’t have the fancy Italian pasta roller/cutter I know I can do it. He topped it with some delicious sauce and then taught me how to make a Caesar Salad from scratch and poured a rich glass of Cab and we ended our time together with a beautiful meal and yet more conversation.
I will see The Chef again. He and I will probably be friends for a long, long time. He is understanding that I don’t want a relationship right now and is accepting of what we do have. Fun. He is surprised by my sometimes frank honesty. With me, what you see is what you get. I don’t bother with games or half-truths. I tell it like it is I think that is refreshing for most people.
I guess it’s a good thing I’ve been out of the dating scene for over two decades. I don’t have a game plan or a jaded past when it comes to opening myself up to someone. I either like you or I don’t. If I don’t like you, you probably won’t ever hear from me again, but if I do like you I will nurture and knead that connection until a bond is formed.
This is really a uniquely exciting time of life. I am old enough to know what I want and comfortable enough in myself to ask for it. I can have fun and know that I have my own life – that I provide for myself – to return to. If you are in my life, it is because I want you there. Not because I need something from you. If you are in my life it’s because you are special and I see something in you that adds to my life. Nothing more, nothing less.
So there ya go. I survived the weekend, I survived the blind date, I didn’t get chopped up into tiny bits and fed to the gators. Instead, I checked off some things on my bucket list and added a few more things to my Adventure Journal. Along the way, I made a new friend, ate some outstanding food, got some great photos and made some fantastic memories. It was a good weekend.