October 31, 1996, Halloween night. I was working at a local bar/dance club in Orlando, FL as a DJ and we were having a big Halloween costume party. I had lined up all the theme music I would be playing, like “Monster Mash”, “Werewolves of London”, “Ghostbusters”, “Thriller”, “Witchy Woman” and others; prepared for the Costume Contest taking place throughout the night, and set things up for the Karaoke host we had coming in for part of the evening. Karaoke was the club’s call, not mine. To me, Karaoke sucks big time (unless my daughter is singing) but that’s what they wanted so that’s what we had. Of course, this was the same management that later had the “bright” idea of changing the music format to country (sucks almost as bad as Karaoke) which resulted in such a drop in business that the club had to close its doors. Yes sir, they were geniuses.
But that night things were going as planned and there was never any indication that I would meet the woman who would capture my heart and, in true Halloween fashion, cast a spell that made me hers.
A couple of weeks earlier I had just brought home my first computer. There was a group of people who were members of a computer club that came into the bar on Friday or Saturday nights and some of them were there for the Halloween party. I came down from the DJ booth early in the evening to exchange e-mail addresses with some of them. I think all of them were in costume, but one of them stood out and captured my attention. She was dressed as a medieval wench in a long, low cut flowing dress with a laced up corset kind of thing that, shall we say, showed off her feminine charms to their fullest.
Being the shy, retiring, gentleman that I was, I stood behind her chair talking with some of her companions and when she glanced up I asked her, “Do you mind if I just stand here all night and look down the front of your dress?” She laughed it off and I thought, “Well, she didn’t get up and slap me, so that’s a good start”.
Later in the evening she came up to the booth and asked me to play a certain slow song for her. “What’s in it for me?” I asked and she replied, “I’ll dance with you during it.” I arched my eyebrow (like The Rock, only better) as if to say, “That’s all?” but later I played the song and we danced. That started one of those special little things that is still with us to this day. The club had 2 walls of floor-to-ceiling video screens and you could either have a video you were playing on them or you could activate the dance floor camera and show the crowd (or in this case, just us) dancing. I nodded toward the screens and said, “We look like Beauty and the Beast dancing” and she pulled me a little closer and said, “I LOVE Beauty and the Beast!” Back then I had long hair and with my size and goatee I could pass for a beast. Today, I’m a bit more clean cut and perhaps not so beastly. She still looks like a beauty to this day.
Five months later were married, but tonight marks 17 years since we first met. For the first 3 years we would go downtown to the Olive Garden restaurant that was on Church Street, sit in the dining room that spanned the street and watch costumed revelers walking below us, laughing and pointing out to each other some of the best costumes. Sadly that restaurant closed, but we would still go to an Olive Garden somewhere on this night and celebrate our fated meeting on All Hallows’ Eve until 3 years ago when we moved to our cabin in the woods.
“Witchy Woman” indeed.