I had my first date with Jay on April 15, 1992.
I had observed him from a distance for awhile. And I thought he was H.O.T. When I went to visit Tommy (my brother) at La Tech, Jay was playing on a volleyball team with him. When I had casually asked about Jay (January of 1991), Tommy's response was, "Incredible athelete." And if you know Tommy, you know that is high praise. He went on to say that he loved playing on the same team with Jay because regardless of whether their team was winning or losing, Jay was the same. Always a team player. Always positive. Never lost his cool, etc. After seeing Jay, and hearing about him, and finding out he was 2 years older than me, I thought, "He is so far out of my league." I went on to finish my freshman year at Palm Beach Atlantic College and moved to Ruston in June of that year. I saw Jay around from time to time but never really talked to him, until March of 1992, in Alexandria at the Sweet Sixteen Girls BBall state tournament. I was carrying Tyler on my hip (my nephew who was 1), when I ran into Jay. (He told me later that that really threw him off, seeing me carrying a baby). We basically just said hi, but after that, I couldn't get him out of my mind. So, into April we go, and my roommate was dating another guy on that same volleyball team, Greg Hughes, who was also in accounting and sat next to Jay (alphabetical order) in some classes. Greg was over at our apt one night, and I asked if he knew if Jay was dating anyone. He said, no, and then immediately asked if I wanted to go out with him. And from the smile on my face he knew I did.
So when Greg went to the next volleyball game, he says to Jay, "Hey, you know Tommy's sister?" and Jay replied, "Niki?" and Greg said, "Yeah. You know... you can ask her out anytime." (Thanks for the subtlety, Greg!) Actually, I didn't really care because I did want him to ask me out. I waited. and I waited. and I waited, all the while, Greg is assuring me, Jay is going to call. So, being the patient person that I am (this is a joke), I called him and invited him to go with me to the Easter musical at my church. (I knew he was a believer.) He could not go, but asked me to go to a movie and out to eat in Monroe. I told myself and my roommate that I wanted just one date. Just one.
After just a few minutes into the date, on the way to Monroe, I was already hoping for another. And a week later, there was another. He took me to a crawfish boil. And I ate crawfish for the first time. And I got some of the crawfish spice in my eye, and it puffed up so nicely. Lovely! And that was the first night we had our picture taken together, and the first night Jay held my hand, and the first night he kissed me. It was not awkward or weird or too much (as those first kisses can be sometimes). It was perfect. And he's been holding my hand and kissing me ever since. 20 plus years.