In my home town they are still in the clutches of major snow and last I heard blizzard conditions. I can’t help but think of a very special snowstorm, (if indeed snowstorms can be special). I was a 7th grader and we were having our first dance as a junior high school.
Since the second grade I was having a bad (good?) case of puppy love for the girl with the pony tail. Since early on I thought that she was the prettiest girl in the entire grade school. (And she was!) At a time when I was more interested in the batting averages of my favorite baseball player, she was the only reason I was eager for school to start.
I would hope that she would be in the same homeroom so I could gaze at her, show off and hope that she would notice me. In the 5th grade, I took part in my floundering valentine caper, but that is a story for another time as my plodding Casanova act fell woefully short.
But, back to the snowstorm. She rode the bus home whereas I was in walking distance to the school. I knew about the date and time for 3 weeks but being a jr. high boy and terrified of being rejected I ask her to meet me in a quiet place before she boarded the bus. Through much stammering and looking at the ceiling, I didn’t say, “will you go?” or “would like to go?” or “I would like to ask you to go,” but I blurted out “Wanna go the dance with me?” Talk about smooth and sophisticated! But she said yes.
The storm got worse, and since my date lived out of town, I was concerned that her parents would even go out in the storm to take her into town and let her stay until the end. I was worried. After all, I had to summon up the courage to even ask her and risk the chance that she would say no and go out the door laughing hysterically.
My mom got wind of my plans when I took so much time and effort to prepare. She said that anyone who would wear a dirty T-shirt to church there had to be a girl in the equation somewhere. I fessed up and that would be my worst mistake of the night. Right away she was quick with the hints and if I taken her suggestion I would have shown up in a rented tux. And she took endless pictures. “MOM!” I begged, “Enough!”
I came across one of those pictures recently, and I looked like a poster child for “send this boy to camp,” ads. Penny loafers, white sox, tapered pants held up by a paper-thin belt and a shirt that I wouldn’t put on my son even as a punishment. And then came the Coup de grace. My dad said, I will drive you, as he pulled out a ratty coat and placed his hat upon his head.
Now let me tell you about the hat. First of all, it was ugly. Uglier than a hemorrhoid. It was one of those hats you see in movies where the villains are Russian. It was covered in fur and stood about six inches high when placed on the old noggin. And he was going to drive me to the dance – and drop me off at the front door. I was aghast.
When we got close to the school, I would offer to get out and walk the rest of the way. “What’s the matter, ashamed of your old man?” Yes I thought, no I said. But when I took another look at that hat, I practically begged him to let me out of the car. He said, “Hey, I am paying for the shoes that you want to drag into the snow.” Checkmate.
He let me out at the front door and I was out of the car like a cheetah on a trampoline. There was no one of any consequence that saw me getting out of the car or, that matter my dad’s hat. I waited inside the front door await Miss Pony Tail. (By that time I don’t know whether she had a pony tail or not, but she will always be the girl in the pony tail to me.)
I probably did not have to wait for very long, but it seemed like a long time because I was so eager. And then I saw her car drive up and she got out. She was dressed to the nines and I had never seen a prettier site! I was excited, I was insecure, I was hopeful, I was worried, I was confident, I was terrified, I felt joyful, I felt overwhelmed, all of these emotions going through me at once. I summoned all of the suave, poised, smooth, debonair confidence that I could muster and said; “Hi.”
She smiled and it was if the gods were smiling down on me. I know I wasn’t much of a date that night, but she was wonderful and I learned a few things that night. Girls smell good and are soft.
We dated all through high school and when I went to college and she to nursing school, it was hard to keep in touch although I wish I would have. She married a friend of mine and their marriage is very happy and has lasted a long time. Happy for them.