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Dabney and Greg Grinnan

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At the age of 24, I was a grad student at UNC, living in a ramshackle house out in the country with two of my best friends. One of them, Leslie, was the bass player for one of the most rockin’ bands around, Southern Culture on the Skids. Leslie, in her day job, worked at Schoolkids Records where, she’d begun to recount, a tall, rather geeky, kinda cute surgery resident had been coming in to buy records. Les invited him to come hear her band play at the Cradle. One Saturday night, he did.

He arrived late on a Saturday night and realized, damn, he had no cash. He wandered into the last grocery store that ever existed in downtown Chapel Hill, Foster’s, showed them his Duke ID--he’d forgotten his wallet at home--and asked if they’d cash a check for him; he had one in his car. They said yes, gave him the 25 bucks, and he headed to the Cradle.

There, he paid the Billy the bouncer, bought a beer, and looked around. The place was packed. He saw two women dancing together: one, a gorgeous woman with spiky black hair and the other with brown spiky hair. He wondered if they were a couple. They smiled at each other as they danced, although the black haired one also kept smiling at the frenetic drummer—who was actually her husband. The song ended, the two women returned to the crowd and he decided to ask the one with spiky brown hair to dance. He reasoned that were she a lesbian, it wouldn’t sting as much if she said no.

He asked the woman, me, to dance. He looked so not my type--I’d been falling for musicians at that stage in my life and Greg looked, well, like a nerd. But he had a winning smile and I love to dance, so I said yes. The next song turned out to be the last of the night and, as we left, we kept talking. We went to Time Out, bought coffee, sat on a bench and talked for hours. When he walked me to my car, he asked for my number.

I came home that night, woke up poor Leslie at four in the morning, and told her I would to marry the geeky doctor. Three years later, in September of 1988, I did. We still dance, mostly at home, and always to the horror of our four kids. — Dabney and Greg Grinnan — Chapel Hill

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