4 Years and Counting

image-labellevieAlthough it’s really been more than 6 years since Heather and I fell in love, last week marked the 4th anniversary of our marriage.  For our anniversary, I brought Heather a nice silver and gold bracelet with tiny little diamonds in it, two dozen roses and [since I’m never satisfied with stock greeting cards] a card that I modified to better express the moment.  It was a simple celebration.  We stayed in had a nice slice of thin crust pizza and shared a bottle of wine.   We kept it simple because we had a dinner date the following Saturday at a place that Heather was keeping a secret.

I was a little annoyed that she wouldn’t tell me where we were going but I couldn’t really complain.  For the very first celebration we shared together was my 31st birthday–and she took me to Murray’s!  So I impatiently waited to find out where it was we’d be going on our anniversary.

The 10th of October rolled in and I had plans for most of the day.  At 5 O’Clock I left the Fall Retro Gaming party at my friend Matt’s house and went home.   I got cleaned up and put on my newly cleaned and pressed, black, pin-stripe suit.  I had worn it for a business meeting a few weeks prior and commented I needed it cleaned.  Heather had it dry cleaned just a week and a half prior to our date.  I put on a black tie (man, do I hate ties these days) and my shined shoes.  After Heather completed a few finishing touches on her long beautiful hair, we were off!

We took the Volvo.  It was a chilly October evening–a mere 40 degrees, but it was nice as I generally run hot and I was wearing a suit and that blasted tie.  I inquired as to our destination.  I was denied the answer yet again!  Heather gave me turn by turn directions until we had driven past our turn.  She then punched the destination into the GPS and we arrived minutes later just west of Lyndale kitty-corner from the Walker Art Museum.  I was driving and taking directions and when we got the the valet I had not seen where it was we had just arrived.  There was a small sign outside the building but it was dark and I had somehow not seen it.

We were greeted by the valet and walked in to a lovely foyer where we were greeted again and they took Heather’s coat.  As we passed each staff member, they all greeted us warmly with “Good Evening” and “Glad to have you with us.”  It was a bit like starring in a musical.  I expected them to burst into song at any moment!  We were seated in a nice quiet corner of the somewhat busy restaurant and the Maitre D’ dimmed the lights.  Once alone [and so as not to be embarrassed as to not knowing] I inquired again as to our location.  Heather replied, “It’s a secret!”  Now, she was just playing with me.  Luckily the waitress appeared and said, “Welcome to La Bell Vie!  Have you been here before?”  HA!  I now knew!

The linens were fine, the lighting was romantic and my wife was beautiful.  We ordered from the tasting menu.  The next two and a half hours were spent enjoying more than 11 total dishes of our “8 course meal” as the chef sent a few surprises before and after the meal.  More importantly we shared the time enjoying the company of one another.  La Belle Vie is European style dining.  The portions of each course are small.  The flavor and quality of each dish crescendos as you progress through the evening and each dish takes some time to arrive.  This allows you much time to enjoy wine and conversation with your loved ones.  If you have nothing to talk about with present company–you might find yourself complaining about the speed at which the courses arrived.  And although the first course took quite some time to arrive, we were served two small dishes and our wine to keep us occupied until it arrived.  Each dish was meticulously prepared.  Not a single dish was over or undercooked.  To put it simply:  It was a grand evening of dining with my wife!  As I loosened my neck tie, I thought to myself that the evening truly reminded me of dining in Italy–where dinner was an event and not a mere execution of mechanical function.

So, to my wife:  “Thank you for these 4 great years and here is a toast to the 5th.  May it be our best yet.  The dinner we shared last weekend was truly a taste of The Good Life.”

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