When I caught the bouquet at my cousin's wedding, Grandma knew I was going to fall in love. My family is not superstitious. We just happen to believe that throwing spilled salt over your shoulder is sound science.
"Sweep the floor before he gets here," Grandma said, handing me the broom, and you'll sweep him off his feet."
This being my first date with Sweetie, I didn't want to take any chances. So I also pulled out the Hoover.
The next day Sweetie sent me roses. Grandma, who could raise African violets from the dead, pricked my finger on a thorn and stuck the stem in wet sand.
"If it takes root," she said, as we bent down staring at the rose stem, he will be the love of your life."
Despite the fact that dad accidentally ran over it with the lawnmower, spilled 10W-30 on it, and somehow managed to set it on fire, that rose grew like chickweed.
I immediately told Sweetie the good news. Taking a drag off his cigarette, Sweetie stared at the rose bush for a couple of minutes, then vanished in a puff of second-hand smoke.
Sensing I may have made a serious strategic error, I turned to my older cousin. He was dating an exotic dancer that summer named Cherry Amore, so I figured if anyone knew the ways of love, he did.
"Telling a guy he's the love of your life is like telling a cow he's hamburger," Bobby said, as he slapped Old Spice on his face and a dab under each arm. "It's better to just hit him over the head when he's not looking."
Apparently, I was absent the day that this was taught in bimbo school.
"But how do I get him back?" I asked.
"Press one of those roses he sent you in the Song of Solomon," Bobby said on his way out the door, "... and buy a low-cut blouse."
On our second date, Sweetie took me to a quaint little Oriental restaurant. I was suffering from a slight chest cold and couldn't taste anything, but the food looked delicious.
"What does yours say?" Sweetie asked, when the waitress brought our fortune cookies.
"Person you share meal with," I read, ''is person you share life with."
Sweetie excused himself from the table, went into the bathroom and threw up. I'm guessing it was the egg roll.
Going into our second year, Sweetie was still showing no signs of commitment when pressing the rose in the Old Testament finally paid off.
"The entire road is flooded and there's eight feet of water in my living room," Sweetie said, drenched to the bone and dripping on my front porch.
"Be thankful it wasn't locusts," I said, pulling him into my house.
The floodwaters subsided, but Sweetie stayed. That was a little over two decades ago, but Sweetie still isn't convinced he's the love of my life.
He says he's waiting for a sign. (Copyright 2000 P.S. Wall. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.)