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LOVE STORIES 2020: First comes love …

The following was submitted by Marina Shankle:

Dec. 28 is a date that will always hold a special place in my heart. It always has, ever since I was a little girl, and it’s even more meaningful to me now.

When I was little, I loved hearing my parents’ stories about their childhoods and teenage years. I loved hearing about things that happened before I was born and things that happened when I was a baby.

One of my favorite stories was the story of their first date, which took place on Dec. 28.

Mom and Dad met at church and had recently played a married couple in the church Christmas play. Dad decided a holiday themed first date would be just right, so he planned to take Mom to see the McAdenville Christmas lights.

There was just one problem: three days after Christmas, the lights were turned off … so the date didn’t go exactly as they had planned. Instead, my parents enjoyed some cheeseburgers at a Wendy’s, and Dad bought Mom a Snickers bar. It was the beginning of a lasting romance.

My first date with my husband Daniel shares several similarities with my parents’ first date.

Daniel and Marina Shankle

Our first date was also on Dec. 28.

We also went to a fast food restaurant — Zaxby’s in our case. I had a good feeling about him when he gave me his extra Zax sauce.

Afterward, we went “mud bogging,” which is something I had no idea existed until that night, something that apparently consists of getting in a four-wheel drive vehicle and sliding around in the mud … and getting stuck.

And there’s the next similarity to my parents’ first date: things didn’t go exactly as planned. We were stuck in the mud for well over an hour. I sat and watched in wonder as random country boys emerged from the woods with trucks, ropes and chains to pull our vehicle out of the mud.

It was certainly an exciting first date.

Now, more than 13 years later, I am still excited about going on dates with the quiet, smart, resourceful man I married.

Sometimes we go to the movies or go out to eat. Often, we visit comic book shops and video game stores and bookstores. We haven’t been mud bogging in awhile; I guess we’ve been too busy adulting.

And now, the romance that began with an extra helping of Zax sauce and a whole lot of mud is about to go through its next landmark event.

I am having a baby, due in August.

I wonder how much he or she will be like Daniel and how much the little peanut will be like me. Will our baby love to read and have a wild imagination like his/her mama? Will he/she have his/her dad’s steady, calm demeanor? Maybe a little bit of both?

Whatever the case, I know this baby will be dearly loved.

And one day, when my child is old enough to ask for stories, I will share the tale of that doubly blessed date: Dec. 28.