From our Classic Archives, originally published March/April 2004 issue
If my husband hadn’t died before we met, we would never have gotten together.
I first saw Ed Crislip in the kitchen of the restaurant, the Blue Lion, in which I’d just started working. He was a beautiful cook with a black mustache and wavy hair; I was a commitment-phobic bartender with three jobs.
I was instantly riveted and had to meet this guy. He was special. Snooping among the staff, I learned his name and that he had a live-in girlfriend, which put him in the strictly off-limits column and meant I should put him out of my head. Instead, I thought about him all the time, a new experience for me. Could this be love at first sight? I found excuses to visit the restaurant’s kitchen and spied on his girlfriend when she stopped by. “Not his type,” I sniffed to myself.
A few days after spotting Ed, I went out for a drink with Sheri, a sheriff’s department dispatcher. She had a story about a dispatch call she’d taken that day: a man had been working on his Volkswagen Squareback while it was up on jacks, and the car had somehow fallen on him, fracturing his skull. He was dead when the paramedics arrived. He’d been taken to the hospital, and that was as much as she knew. She concluded her story with his name—Ed Crislip.
“Oh, no!” I cried in real distress. “I should have met him!”
Sheri gave me a sideways look. It was, after all, a fairly strange reaction to the news of a stranger’s death.
Several days passed before I heard the rest of the tale. Ed had been revived and flown to Salt Lake City, where he spent a week in a coma. Keeping my ear so close to the ground that my lobe was nearly asphalt gray, I knew when he arrived back in town, and I started keeping my eyes peeled for black mustaches. I wasn’t going to let him slip away again; we were going to meet. A few days after his return, Ed walked into the Spirits, another restaurant where I worked, and ordered lunch. My stomach did that slow, delicious roll. When he came to the bar to pay his tab, I looked at his personal check and feigned astonishment at his name.
“Hey, I heard about you,” I said. “I’m glad you’re not dead.”
Our eyes met—and locked. “So you have two jobs?” he asked.
Ah hah! I hadn’t been the only one sneaking peeks in the Blue Lion kitchen.
“I also work at the Cadillac Grill,” I told him. “Friday night, as a matter of fact.” I hesitated a second, and plunged.
“I’ll see you there,” I said.
And so I saw him at the Cadillac Grill… and seventeen years of married bliss later, we’re celebrating our sixteen-year-old son’s birthday this weekend. Ed’s working on a Volkswagen bug as a present—and he’s not using jacks.
—Kathleen Crislip from Colorado
Editor’s Note: After this was originally published in 2003, I received an email from Kathleen worth sharing… “Thank you for the nice note letting me know my story would be published! My husband bought a bottle of champagne last night after I told him the news, and we made a toast to ‘Flat Ed’ (Ed’s nickname around town after the car squished him… I didn’t put this in the story, but he also had several broken ribs and a broken collarbone and was thus considered ‘flattened’.”
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