So as I wrote last I was planning my wife's "29th" birthday next week beginning Tuesday, August 2nd. I pretty much had an original plan which included a bike ride and camping trip to Red River Gorge, a couple things we both love. (If you haven't been to Red River Gorge, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Bernhiem, or any other Kentucky State Parks, I strongly recommend you get out there while there's still time to get out there - as I always say "If you don't go, you'll never know".)
So plans evolved on a trip for my wife's company to Lake Tahoe a couple weeks ago for the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament where I had a heath concern that ended me up in an emergency room after having my life practically saved by the owner of Korbel (folks like Dan Quayle, Michael Jordan, John Elway and Charles Barkley were there and I actually got caught falling to the ground by Jerry Rice, but the team from Korbel are now my new heroes - thank you Mr. Heck) followed by a freighting ambulance ride. I'm not unhealthy nor a celebrity, but it made me think - what kind of new husband would I be if we didn't celebrate everyday just like the moment we first fell in love and and make everything count. The motto for Korbel while we were in Nevada was "Toast Life" and it hit me (after the floor): Ding! RECREATE OUR FIRST DATE!
Seriously I've always been the kind of guy who thought flowers smelled perfectly fine when running with them in your hand, but I decided to take the time to actually smell the roses for the first time and appreciate the great things life has to offer - most importantly my best friend and wife, Hope.
Now our first date was amazing, and Hope and I (somewhat embarrassingly) met online and discussed dating for several weeks via late night calls before actually meeting in person. When I saw her walk in the restaurant now known as STAXX on Shelbyville Road, I stopped her in mid-sentence in the first few minutes and planted a big smacker on her lips. The restaurant staff was speechless and I'm pretty sure Hope was stunned. I had never been party to love at first sight and to make this even more sappy, she "Had me at hello". By the way, this was on Halloween, so if there was ever a reason to be scared of the holiday, she had it by the candy shovel-full.
Apparently I'm not as frightening as Chris Hanson, either that or a really good kisser as we could not be separated and wanted to spend the rest of the day together. It started with a kiss, and a bad lunch, but what followed was a walk down Bardstown Road hand-in-hand, a first beer shared at the Bristol Bar & Grill while waiting of all things for the movie "Zombieland" to begin at The Baxter Ave Theater. Now that should be pretty easy to re-create, right? What could possibly go awry? As was said on the radio this morning by George Lindsay, "with a first date like that, there was literally no where to go but up." George may have an excellent point, but I'm without a space program these days, I've got the goods on NASA as I'm aiming for the the stars. Just to hedge my 'aim-for-the-skies' bets I let her fly me in a plane at Bowman Field as a leap of faith for Valentine's Day this year - my gal literally drives and now flies me crazy.
Well so far plans have spiraled out of my control and of all the places I've reviewed, visited, people I've met long the way, and of course family - everyone wanted/wants to pitch in. This morning, a great guy I met in Tahoe and co-host of the Lambert & Lindsey Show 102.3 FM aired an interview I taped with them from Wednesday. The outpouring of ideas and support has been overwhelming - thanks to all and this story will only get better.
I've got to thank especially the Editor-In-Chief of Louisville.com, Zach, for going with me on this. Now not only am I recreating the first date, first vacations, but the first year of my relationship with my (now) wife all in five days to celebrate her birthday. Of course she's heard the radio interview so knows about my "first date plans", but has no idea about the remaining four days with includes a major league team, wedding party, folks from Los Angeles, New Orleans, to New York - and for whatever reason still believes we're headed to the Caribbean. (Okay, I'm to blame for that as I booked refundable tickets to Cancun and copied her on the itinerary before immediately refunding them - sorry Southwest, but we are using you for the remainder of the trip - non-refundable - go ifyswa!) Other special mentions are "A Mother's Touch" boutique on Shelbyville Road for designing a special bracelet including fleur-de-lis (our wedding theme), the spires of Churchill, and UofL mentions (her Alma matter), Kevin Harned and the Wave 3 folks, Lil' Wayne, 4th Street Live, and I would regret not mentioning the original Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Host with the Most, and CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer) at Brown-Forman for designing a signature cocktail named "The Hope-Full" (below):
"'The Hope-Full' is a drink in a rocks glass with ice: add 1oz Finlandia Vodka, 3oz lemonade, 1/2oz Chambord - in a phrase, drink with Hope and be married...I mean 'merry':)."
I'm still taking suggestions and have several plans in mind, but if you, loyal readers, have any ideas - my wife's birthdaypalooza is taking place August 2nd-7th and I'd like to invite you all along for the ride. I'll get charged with no less than a DUI on this adventure as my beautiful gal, and best friend, simply intoxicates me.
So far special thanks go out to The Bristol Grill, Ruth's Chris Steak House, The Baxter Avenue Theater, The Middletown/Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce, 102.3 THE MAX (in particular Lambert & Lindsey), Tim Laird, Korbel, NBC Sports, The fine people of Bardstown Road and Kings Lane here locally, Brown-Forman, and of course all of our friends and family participating. ...And that's just day one...just imagine what I'll be like when we have kids:)
All my best thanks, and I'll keep you posted on our adventure,
Kit Helton - happier and more scared than ever.
photo: Kit & Hope Helton