It was 18 years ago tonight, October 31,1996, that my life changed forever.
Halloween fell on a Thursday that year. I was working as a bouncer and DJ at J.D. Penguin’s Lounge on South Semoran in Orlando. They’ve since torn down the old lounge with its attached liquor store and rebuilt a new liquor/wine store only, but back in the day J.D. Penguin’s was the place to be on a weekend night. We had lots of good times, good fights and good friends.
The bar was throwing a Halloween party with a costume contest, drink specials, and karaoke (yuck, the one exception being that I always enjoyed my daughter’s singing). Customers were singing their favorite songs with the accompaniment of the karaoke machine for about 45 minutes each hour and then I would play some dance music to give everyone a chance to get up and work the alcohol through their system, lol.
I had recently obtained my first desktop computer and had also recently made the acquaintance of a couple of members of a local computer bulletin board (yep, these were the days of 28K modems, BB’s and a new graphical browser called Netscape) group that frequented the bar. They always sat together at a table or two and never gave the bartenders or bouncers any problems, which we all appreciated.
One of their group that night was a beautiful woman that I had never seen before, though to this day she swears she was coming in with the computer group for about 10 months; I never saw her and she says she never saw me. That in itself is strange because I worked as a bouncer on weekend nights and was typically all over that bar keeping trouble to a minimum. I also filled in as a DJ and worked the liquor store counter up front during the week. As a bouncer I kept my eyes on EVERYONE in the bar, yet could not recall ever laying eyes on her until Halloween night. We’ve subsequently chalked it up to fate waiting for the right moment.
Apparently All Hallow’s Eve was the right moment. She was wearing a Medieval era wench’s dress with a top cut so low it was showing enough cleavage to make Dolly Parton envious. And me attentive. But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea because as I said, she was beautiful and it was in more than those two ways.
She asked me to play a song for her and I asked her, “What’s in it for me?” She smiled and said, “I’ll dance with you” and so I did and she did. Five months later we were married.
I always loved Halloween as a child, but since Halloween 1996, I’ve loved it even more.
Happy Halloween Anniversary babe!