Early look at Wild Animal Park, troubled elephants come to the zoo, China’s panda hunter and pandas end up in San Diego, the morality of SeaWorld’s dolphins
Various Authors 3:49 p.m., Dec. 3
"Your first test in a love relationship--cooking a meal!" --Laura MacMillian, my third girlfriend, as she served a dish she made (it was yummy, btw).
A bit of my history here:
My first lady-love was a girl named Karen Anne Rainwater. She was two years older than I was when we first met, with long strawberry-blonde hair, blue eyes, and the most loving heart I had ever known in a woman so far.
Though rather plump, she had a heart full of love that, somehow, became mine for the taking. Besides, her body shape-and-size mattered not...what mattered most to me was the fact that I had fallen--hard--in love for the first time.
We met in September 1982 at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, CA. I was one month into my first semester, and Karen asked me if I remembered what I wrote in her yearbook ("If I had the chance, I'd claim you for myself!") when she graduated from Lemoore High School (she was Class of 1981, I was Class of 1982). I told her yes I did--and I still felt the same way now as I did then!
Our dating was passionate, but within limits. Her family had made it clear that Karen remained "unpopped" until she took that trip down the aisle. However, we worked around that. Let's just say that the line from Murray Head's song "One Night In Bangcok ("I get my kicks ABOVE the waistline, Sunshine!") from the Broadway play "CHESS" was our standard when it came to the limit of "how far we went."
Anyhoo...I decided to invite Karen over to the house for dinner one night. Now, my Dad was not too pleased about Karen and I having a love affair (he didn't like the fact that my choice wasn't "Playboy Perfect" in body dimensions), but he kept his opinions to himself (my grandmother Fran saw to that, remarking that Karen would be quite a catch in the old country). Donna (my dad's lover) was glad to see that Cupid's Arrow had finally taken me.
So, I decided to prepare "zweibelfleisch mit rotkohl mit apfelen und kartopfell pfankuchen." For those of you not up on your German, this translates into "Beefsteak with sour cream sauce, Red cabbage with apples, and potato pancakes."
Sounds yummy, right?
Well, one day, my Dad showed up at the West Hills Community College parking lot in the family Ford LTD. Karen and I got in the back, and Dad drove us to our house on Meadow Lane in Lemoore. The ingredients were laid out, fresh and ready. I gave Karen a quick snuggle, sent her off to the "stereo room" with a few of my ABBA albums (We were both big ABBA fans at the time) and my headphones.
Under the supervision of my grandmother, I set to work getting dinner going. (Recipies For All Three Dishes Can Be Found In The Recipe section). It took about three hours to get dinner cooked just right, but everybody seemed to enjoy the dishes I put together. Karen sure ate her portions with lip-smacking gusto! (I gave her a copy of all three recipies, her step-mom tried them out. Let's just say Ray Rainwater (Karen's dad) felt stuffed-and-sleepy afterwards.)
Two hours later, I ran Karen home to her place in South Lemoore. Donna came with us (the others were too stuffed), and I was allowed to drive the LTD for the first time. Karen gave me the longest smooch we had shared up until that point. I could see the love in her eyes--all from the "Grand Feast" now settling in her belly!
Karen and I were "an item" until 1984, when time-and-distance put our relationship to an end. However, she will always have a plave in my heart-and-soul as not only my first lover, but also the one who taught me that love comes in all shapes-and-sizes. It also showed me the power of food in a loving relationship--and how a good, home-cooked meal can win-and-sustain a loving relationship,
Wherever you are, Karen Anne--know you are loved!