102104meg.jpgPacking and moving takes longer when you uncover a memory. You sit back and think about memories triggered by a photo, postcard and items that you may have bought at some place visited in the past.

She was the first women I dated seriously after a divorce in the early 1970s. We dated for more than two years in an intense relationship that brings back many pleasant memories. I shot this photo on a trip to the Bahamas as she suited up to try parasailing.

We took what was supposed to be a discreet trip to New Orleans early in our relationship, discreet because those were the days when a single man and a single woman did not go away together for a weekend. On our first night we sat down for dinner at Brennan’s Restaurant and the waiter had just served our appetizers and a bottle of wine when another waiter set off the fire of a Cherries Jubilee at a nearby table. The flames flared and hit the ceiling, sending fingers of fire in different directions and restaurant patrons scrambling to get out.

I grabbed our fresh bottle of wine and two glasses as we evacuated the restaurant and we sat on the curb outside, drank the wine and watched firemen arrive to battle the fire that gutted the famous restaurant.

When we came back home, the city editor of the newspaper where I worked dropped an Associated Press wirephoto on my desk.

The photo showed her and I sitting on the sidewalk, drinking wine and watching one of New Orleans’ famous restaurants burn. The caption said: “Unidentified couple watches the fire in pure New Orleans style.”

“This almost made it into the paper before we realized who it was,” he said, adding “you should be more careful.”

So much for discretion. Later, we would laugh about it and tell friends the story.

Like so many passionate relationships that burned so intensely, the flame eventually flickered and cooled. She married and settled in Missouri. I remained single for nearly 10 years before meeting Amy, remarrying and moving to Washington.

Ah, but the memories remain.