“Have a banana!” That is how I verbally react when the children in my audience actually say, “Abracadabra!” in my magic shows. I have been a part time children’s entertainer for better than 30 years. Ironically, that is how my relationship with my wife of nearly twenty years began.
Kimberly was sixteen. I was twenty-one. We were both attending a very formal New Years Eve party at the home of mutual friends. I went to high school with the hosting family’s daughter. Kimberly was friends with the twin younger sisters of my classmate. The hostess still remains ever the matchmaker. Okay…she’s good at it!
I was performing some close-up magic at the basement bar, when the hostess asked me to entertain a lovely young lady. That is when I met Kimberly. She was an adorable young lady who was trying to fit in with the older crowd. Though she was too young to date at my much “older” age, I found her to be a delightful audience with a great sense of humor. Happy New Year!
Fast forward a few years to a fundraiser I was hired to perform by the hostess of the New Years Eve party. Once again, I was performing my magical routines. This time, it was at a fund raising event. It was a “Mardi Gras Party” to raise funds for a local theatre group. Much to my surprise, Kimberly was working as an actress in the murder mystery cast. We met up afterwards, and since she was now at the ripe age of nineteen, I could ask her out on a date. That date was the following night, Valentine’s Day!
The date was held at the very last minute. As a way to romance my date, I invited Kimberly to my parents’ house to watch a TV show. I know. You, the reader, are overwhelmed by this romantic gesture. Furthermore, the show was the BBC science fiction series “Doctor Who”. Each episode of this cult TV show could be funded by the weekly wages of a newspaper carrier back in the 1980’s. But, we had learned that we were both fans of this long-running series. We actually had a marvelous time watching the show, and the romance developed.
Following Kimberly’s college graduation, I knew that she was the one for me. After time, careful consideration and prayer, I had purchased a ring. It was now time to ask her father for permission to marry Kimberly. Ralph was a late life father. He was fifty when Kimberly was born. Ralph had a great sense of humor, though he was lacking in hearing ability in his later years. While Kimberly was not at home, I dined with her parents to ask them the big question, “I have purchased an engagement ring. May I please marry your daughter?” Ralph immediately responded, “WHAT?” Barbara, Kimberly’s mother explained, “Tom’s asking for your Kim’s hand in marriage.” Ralph immediately understood and responded, “Aw hell. Take them both!”
Done! I had the ring. I had permission. Now it was to the course of asking Kimberly. I had it all planned. I planned to pop the question on New Years Eve at the same party, at the same place I had met her, performing magic tricks. GENIUS! I cleared it with the ever so willing hostess. I even had the trick all planned out.
New Years Eve morning I woke up violently sick with the flu. I had to call off work. I called Kimberly. She told me to stay at home, and not go out on New Years Eve. I steadfastly refused. She must of thought I had lost my mind. Later, I drove to her parents’ home, and picked her up for the party. I was wearing my tuxedo and was determined to go to this event. We found our way down to the bar where we had met. I started to perform some magic for the onlookers. Then, I asked for a finger ring. I selected Kimberly, who was wearing a costume ring. I had tied two pieces of string around a pencil. On the right side, I had threaded my own ring through. On the left side, I had threaded Kimberly’s ring. I tied the strings together so that neither ring could escape. I pulled the pencil out and tapped the string, and both rings dropped into Kimberly’s hands.
I took my own ring, and asked her if the remaining ring was hers. Kimberly examined it, and immediately recognized it as an engagement ring. I dropped to one knee.
Today, when one of the kid’s offers me, “Have a banana.” I can say, “Abracadabra?”
Nearly twenty years after our wedding, we are the proud parents of three terrific kids who are fans of the “new” Doctor Who TV series, have all helped Daddy perform magic onstage, and are a delight to both Kimberly and myself. We have been blessed by well over twenty years of love and being loved by the God who brought us together.