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"I don't know what your intentions are, but I get the sense you're looking for something long term, so you should know right now that I will probably never remarry," I announced.

Trapper John grinned subtly.

"I'm serious!" I said. "I don't want to be your nurse, your purse, your maid or your mama. I've done that, and I don't plan on doin' it again. Men take up a lot of time. I've got my own life!"

Trapper nodded.

"And I don't usually accept dinner for a first date," I continued. "Coffee. That's all they get -- coffee. A girl can last through about anything if it's just coffee. If they make it through coffee, they might get to lunch. If they make it through lunch, they might get to dinner. But they don't go straight to dinner these days, and most never make it there. Coffee, that's it."

I sat a bit straighter in my seat and turned to meet Trapper's steady gaze. He grinned again and raised an eyebrow.

"You ready to eat?" he asked.

Well, what was I supposed to do with that? I did the only thing any reasonable girl would do.

I had dinner.

That was nearly a year ago. We just spent our first Christmas together and, while we prefer experiences over tangible gifts, we still managed to amass several items for one another under the tree.

"Open this one first," Trapper said.

I tore into the pretty wrapping paper to find ... a pound of coffee.

A few days after Christmas, we set sail for the Gulf of Mexico. Trapper loves the beach. Growing up, he often visited his grandmother at her beach home in New England, and his parents regularly took him to coastal Alabama for holidays. Though his family has passed on, he's fond of returning to the water, especially in winter months.

"The beach in December?" I asked. I'd never considered this. But he assured me that it's wonderful this time of year with fewer crowds.

"Fewer," I chided, "because folks know not to go in winter!"

But he was right. Wrapped in a thick sweater, I rolled up my pant legs and sloshed in the sea while pelicans dive-bombed the deep waters nearby in search of a prize catch. Sting rays swam beside us. Dolphins leapt in the water. Sanderlings chased the ebbing tide to feed on crustaceans. We strolled along the fishing piers, feasted on incredibly good seafood and bushwhackers, and even participated in the Polar Plunge to ring in the New Year. It was wonderful indeed.

As the sun set on New Year's Day, we bundled up on a sand dune and listened to the waves lap at our feet. Trapper then dropped a knee and eloquently asked if I would have coffee with him for as long as we both shall live.

Well, what was I supposed to do with that? I did the only thing any reasonable girl would do.

I told you men take up a lot of time. For some, a lifetime...

NAN Our Town on 01/16/2020

Print Headline: What's a girl supposed to do now?

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