The Courting Stage (Chapter 4)

courtship [ˈkɔːtʃɪp]
1. the act, period, or art of seeking the love of someone with intent to marry.

Michael gets an A++ for the courting stage! He always tried to make our dates as special as possible.  When he'd visit me in NY he always had something planned whether it be a jazz club, a show, or dinner somewhere cool. For example, he knew I liked burgers and found out there was a bar in the village that served just cocktails and different kinds of sliders. Vodka soda and sliders in a dimly lit bar late night in the village? Very cool!  Another night he took me to The Rainbow room atop Rockafeller Center to show me where he was the band leader for 2 years. I'd never been, and it was special seeing it with him.
Michael conducting the Rainbow Room Orchestra
I visited Orlando for the first time in February of 2005. Mike was performing with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in a show called "My Funny Valentine," and since I hadn't seen him perform yet it was the perfect time. Now don't get me wrong. I knew Michael was a singer, but performers are a dime a dozen in New York. If you've seen one you've seen 'em all. Well, the lights dim, and there he is onstage, and there I am awestruck! I mean.....this guy was the REAL DEAL! He was.... (I hate to use this word, but I'm going to) AMAZING!
Michael always said how happy he was that we didn't meet at one of his shows because I got to know the real him, and I know what he means. Girls swoon at his shows and he certainly doesn't walk around the house in leopard tuxes I'll tell you that!

Everytime I visited Orlando Mike would make plans for us to see some local theatre in town, or I'd see a Swingerhead show! Gotta love Mike's suit!
 And of course he took me to Disney! One day he took me to ALL 4 Parks! Granted we were so tired by the end of the day we weren't even speaking, but it was a blast. I remember he got us a room at The Polynesian (his favorite Disney Resort), and we were both so tired we collapsed on top of the bed fully dressed until the morning! We both looked at eachother and said,"How do people do this with kids?!"

During our dating year, I had this GREAT job in New Orleans helping to choreograph the shows that were on the river boats (Mississippi Queen, American Queen), going up and down the Mississippi. Katrina ruined that gig!
Anyway, I was in New Orleans for a month, and the schedule was ideal. We would rehearse the cast from about 2pm to dinnertime and were free the rest of the night. Mike would come visit me, watch rehearsal and then we'd head out to enjoy the city. We'd have traditional New Orleans dinners and then hop from bar to bar listening to the different bands. Dixieland, Blues, Rock, one better than the next! That's where the picture below was taken which is one of my all time favorite pictures of us. I can see the joy on both of our faces. It was such a fun time, and was our first picture together. New Orleans was also where he told me he loved me for the first time. Very pivotal moment!

My sister was married in August that year, and Michael agreed to be my date, so we enjoyed a trip to Aruba for the wedding. Can you think of a better place to vacation in the beginning of a relationship? Ummmmmmm no! It was a blast! Perfect weather, perfect wedding, perfect date, perfect time.

We packed a lot into 2005. There was nothing more to do than to take the next step.
Tune in tomorrow for Chapter 5. My move to Orlando!

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