The First Time, by Brian Van Handel

People remember their first time for the rest of their lives.  Some people grasp that first love and let it grow. I remember my first time just like it was yesterday.

            It was a warm September day. The sun was beaming and the weather forecast for the day called for a high in the low to mid 70’s. Of course, like any other day in Wisconsin, there was a chance of scattered showers throughout the day. Growing up in Wisconsin, I had learned to expect the ever present chance of a spattering of rain. This day seemed like any other September day I had experienced hundreds of times over. Little did I know, my life would be forever changed on this day.

            My girlfriend, Christie approached me and questioned, “Are you doing anything today? If not, do you mind taking a road trip with me as I have some business to take care of?”

            “How long would we be gone and what do you have to do?” I asked.

            “Most of the day and don’t worry we will have fun as the business aspect is the shortest portion of the trip,” explained Christie.

            Not sure what was going on, but knowing that I had no plans and had only been dating Christie for a little while, I figured I would play along. “Sure, do I need to bring anything?” I inquired as I approached the car.

            “Just yourself, honey!” she belted out.

            Of course, this peaked my interest. What business did she need to take care of? Where were we headed? Is this girl really into me? All great questions that I hoped would be answered by the end of this trip.

            We had been on the road for over two hours and I had little luck in prying any piece of information out of Christie as to where we were going and what the intentions were when we arrived there? I knew that we were heading north on I-43 and a warm breeze flooded the vehicle with the faint smell of burning leaves. Traffic wasn’t horrible, but mildly congested. I continued to try and pry out any bit of information from my, suddenly much quieter, girlfriend. There was no cracking this girl. She was just not giving up anything.

As we passed Sheboygan, my thoughts raced at where this journey was headed and what we were going to be doing. I guess she wasn’t kidding that the business aspect would be the shortest part of the trip. I conceded that I would just have to wait until we arrived at our destination to see what she had up her sleeve.

“Are we close yet?” I sighed.

“Patience honey, it will be worth the wait,” she said in a sultry voice.

Now the anticipation was killing me. What could it be? I again sat back into a now suddenly uncomfortable bucket seat and waited in eager anticipation. All of a sudden, the car slowed to a snail’s pace. We were caught in traffic in what seemed like a line of vehicles waiting to pay a highway toll. I thought to myself, Wisconsin does not have toll roads. I realized that there was a Packer game going on and unfortunately, we were arriving at what seemed to be the same time as people going to the game were arriving. The breezy, sunny day now seemed like a distant past as we had been in the car for what seemed like enough time to fly Florida and now were stuck in traffic. Being somewhat frustrated at this point, I exclaimed, “I sure hope we are close to wherever it is you are taking us!”

Not daunted, she replied, “Patience honey, we are just about there.”

All of a sudden, out my window gleams the shining beacon of NFL history, known as Lambeau Field. I have never witnessed her grandeur in person before. She is majestic against the clear blue skyline and is the envy of all football fans nationwide; even though most will not admit it. All these people were flocking to her, as if she was some sort of super model. Tom Brady may have Gisele Bundchen, but Packer fans have Lambeau Field. When Gisele has long since left Tom, Lambeau Field will still be the loyal companion to all Packer fans. I abruptly realized I was staring out the window when I looked back at Christie and she was smiling. Puzzled, I inquired, “What are you smiling about?”

Proudly she said, “This is our destination and the business I have to take care of is attending today’s Packer game with you.”

I was floored. I was about to experience the pinnacle of what every Packer fan strives for. The love affair is completed and the connection grows stronger once you have been able to witness your beloved team on its hollowed ground.

The anticipation on that day continues to be a memory that I wish I could capture and duplicate. It was this day that I realized my first love was something to be cherished. In the short time that we had known each other, Christie knew me well enough to know that this would be something that I would remember for the rest of my life. My love for this woman started on this day. I grasped that love and let it culminate into a lifelong commitment. This was the women who I would marry.

It is true, everyone remembers their first time.

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