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Long Distance

Carol and Craig

Ardmore, PA

Craig’s photo popped up in my eHarmony box on June 28th, 2007.  After a girls night birthday celebration in New York City, I logged in, as I did every night.  I had been dating online with various sites since 1995, but my eHarmony experiment was just a few months old.  Always up for an adventure and a little dismayed with NYC dating, I posted a 100-mile radius for potential matches. This very friendly face appeared from Philadelphia.  Complementing the face was a thoughtful description.

Over the next month, there was email, phone calls, the sharing of favorite books, songs, movies, all with contemplative explanation and wit. Soon, the first date was set. We would meet Thursday, July 26th, in New York.
Craig, a native Philadelphian, did his homework and chose a creative restaurant:  a small place named Telepan, owned by a highly respected chef.  The foodie in me was very impressed.  Craig met me at Columbus Circle, dapper in a dark suit and a French blue shirt that was almost as blue as his eyes.  We walked to the restaurant, where he presented me with a book of his favorite newspaper cartoon “Get Fuzzy”, chocolates from his favorite chocolatier in Philadelphia, and a book which would prove ironic later: Long Distance by Bill McKibben.  The book was to celebrate my completion of a triathlon the previous weekend, but it’s actually about endurance in life for the long haul.  After dinner, we continued our first adventure together, strolling the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Our first kiss was outside the American Museum of Natural History, as the sprinklers came on.  Right out of a movie.

We had much in common:  we both work in communications, we had both been journalists, and both had a passion for professional football (even if we root for bitter rivals).  But we were both very different. I’m type-A but not a workaholic.  I attack life with boundless energy that exhausts some.  Craig is more laid back and much more risk-averse.  However, he played drums in a rock band growing up while I played the oboe in an orchestra.  I run and swim and bike to train for races and compete against myself.  He likes to run and workout because it’s good exercise.  I am organized to a fault; he is Messy Marvin.  And thus the adventure began.  Almost.

A few months into our relationship, Craig pulled back a bit.  He was not quite prepared for the “real thing” as much as he liked me, and liked “us” So I, very much ready for the real thing, bid him adieu.  After about six weeks of silence, Craig said he planned to be in New York, and asked to see me.  I agreed.  At first, he wasn’t sure he could measure up.  But then another power took over his desire to want to measure up.   And then the adventure really began!

Over the next year, the 100 or so miles between NYC and Philadelphia felt smaller and smaller.  Our road took us from Park City, UT to Quechee, VT. Our families, based in Ocala, Florida and San Diego, California broke bread in Malibu, California.  Craig became my biggest cheerleader at triathlons.  We ran a half-marathon together.  In May 2008, we visited Washington, DC, where we spent 5 hours at the brand new Newseum.  With so much to see, we joined the museum. Little did I know, this particular museum would forever hold special memories.

Thanksgiving weekend, 2008.  We decided to revisit Washington over the long weekend and use our Newseum memberships.  After a long day of visiting monuments and museums, we headed to the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.  It was 4:30pm.  The museums of the Smithsonian close at 5:30pm, but the Newseum is private.  It closes at 5pm. We whizzed through the displays and went out to the terrace, where the sun was setting.  It was 4:45pm.  Many visitors had left and security guards were looming.  When my back was turned, Craig pulled out a piece of paper and said, “What is this headline?” He gave me a mock New York Times front page, where the headline said, “Will You Marry Me?” When I looked up, he was down on one knee, with a beautiful ring. Of course, I said, “yes.” But, all alone, how would we record the moment?  In true Washington DC-style, a tourist from Iowa was lingering and she took the first photo.

Our family has already grown by one, my 11 ½ Border Collie mix named Cooper has adopted Craig as his dad.  Cooper is the friendliest dog around, but he definitely likes some people more than others.  He found a kindred spirit in Craig.  So did I.

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