From Silly to Cool

I don’t know why this young couple did what they did, but they did…

I was a young teen, slipping slowly away from ‘pinch and giggle’ with the girls. I was done with teasing the girls, then running enjoyably from them. Somewhere, somehow, I was beginning to hope that one would catch me. I was now teasing my friends that had girlfriends, quietly jealous at the same time. I was beginning to pass notes to the friend who would pass along to the cute girl who was in my same English class. Without older brothers or sisters from which to emulate, I knew not how to carry forward until summer Saturdays at the grange.

I arrived by bicycle, others were dropped off. He and she pulled up in his coupe, She sitting close to him. She got out on his side and waved to us as she , with keys in hand, unlocked the grange door. He followed with a record player and a box full of records. Everyone helped putting chairs and tables around. He and one the older boys brought in a case of Cokes and orange pop.

She wore a bright summer dress that fluffed up daringly about her knees when she moved. I was past needing a babysitter, but if the need would ever again arise, she would be the one. As she danced and talked with him, I noticed she was wearing his junior class ring as a necklace. What would it be like to have a girl wear my ring around her neck, to publicly acknowledge that she was mine. I would have to get a ring first.

Every Saturday he wore a white t-shirt and Levis, white socks and black oxfords. Although he was thin, he worked on a summer hay crew and you just knew he had the right stuff. He had such charisma and confidence that his smiling eyes just melted away any silliness in the room.

 

They never tried to impress, but were so impressive doing it. Regardless which of us young people was talking to them, there was eye contact and interest. Dancing, they smiled at everyone and yet kept to themselves. Seated, they would drink their Cokes, hold hands, and talk while watching my young companions jerk and jive in the pretense of dancing. To have them respect us as equals encouraged us to rise to their level of maturity.

Initially I sat with the non-dancers who wished we could. The girls were paired up and dancing every dance. Slowly we were picked off by the girls and Saturday by Saturday were all at our own ‘sock hop’.

I didn’t have older brothers and sisters to learn from, I listened to a $12 AM radio I got for Christmas, I had no records, therefore no need for a record player. My models were the couple at the ‘sock hop’, the way he treated her and her response in kind. I was know longer into ‘pinch and giggle’, I was learning to be cool.

Enough about them, By the second Saturday my girl and I paired up. She would laugh at my dancing, sat laughing as I extolled my virtues, and enjoyed those moments with our friends.

One Saturday , last dance. We noticed each last dance would be a slow love song where  our couple danced together quite closely. Well, my girl pulled me up tightly and pressed against me and changed my life forever. I had heard of them, knew women had them,  and when they were pressed through my chest, I felt them. Two marvelous reasons to be cool.

Thank God for the Saturday sock hops…

 

 

 

Waiting for the Angels

This room was larger than the rest. It easily held the six chairs that were placed around the bed. All of her effects had been moved to this room as well. There was a small table which usually held  pictures that were important to her life and had embraced her nursing room walls. White-haired, frail and near the end of her time. This lady lay quietly in her bed except for the moments when her eyes awoke and looked about , then slipped again below the surface of consciousness. Noticeably absent were pictures of family. One framed picture stood at the center of the table. Many years ago this picture was taken and framed for all time.The distinction of the picture and what could be read into the picture was significant. He and her in a warm embrace, the dress had been lovingly made, white fabrics delicately formed into a gown from which a lifetime of new memories would follow. A military dress uniform added to the masculinity of the young man to be. A glance of the old woman and the picture coalesced the two into one, that pretty young woman now lay gray in this bed. Pink was her best color, full of life and possibility, followed by white , the transitional color, then the terminal gray as today.

Although I’ve never experienced this assignment before, I knew the main task was comfort and companionship to the end. Swab glycerin to moisten her dry mouth, quietly wash and massage her feet with a warm cloth. Waiting for the angels was the hardest thing I ever did.

I began to hold her hand and talk to her as if I were her only son. As if for tea in the parlor reminiscing the old times, I told her that she was valued and respected by those who knew her and I hoped her lifetime here on earth had proven to be pleasant and fruitful.

Time passed slowly.

As she slept, I wondered about the man in the picture and why no photos of children. Whether it be true or not, I sensed that he did not return from battle those many years ago. Her love so deep that there would be no other. Whether it be true or not, I felt a longing for her to again be with her man.

With a little turn of her head and the tightening of her grasp, her eyes opened towards me. Her stare was muted , but she was there. With a hint of a smile, she drifted away. She had said adieu and now was off with the angels to find her man

 

Fall fishing

Fall fishing can be the best or the worst of fishing days. Some days the fish are so busy thinking about sex that forget to check our hooks. Other days it is like a buffet line, our finned friends will hit on anything. Sunny mornings can turn into a blustery wet afternoon.

So on this morning rendezvous at the lake, the fish failed to show.We started with worms, then proceeded to go through our fishing boxes trying every little thing we could. Eventually we started fishing worms again.

The day was cold. Bundled up and ready to leave, my fishing partner Doug nudged me. A recent arrival to our shore was a girl, ten minutes in and she was pulling  out a nice trout. We settled our belongings back down and started to fish with the thought that they were beginning to feed. They were, at the end of her pole. Our little damsel had quickly caught two more.

That did it, Doug gathered himself and proceeded over to wonder girl. They talked and he returned.

“What did she say?” I asked anxious to duplicate her success.

“I could not understand a word she said.” said Doug quite put out at the failed attempt to steal her secrets.

It wasn’t five minutes before she landed another, a big one.

That did it. This time it was my mission to discover her extraordinary luck.

” Hi , we are amazed at your luck this morning” With a blanket around her shoulders and her directed to her pole, she mumbled a sentence or two.

” I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.”

With a touch of distain, she spit into her hand, ” It helps to keep the worms warm.”

The Pose

One evening after a short wrestling practice, the basketball girls waited for the locker room. Wrestling coach at that time, I hurried the boys and left the locker room for a time. I heard screams from the entry to the locker room. There was laughter and smiles among the girls and the crowd that had gathered.

It seemed that when asked if the boys were dressed, the answer was yes, but as the girls entered, they found the muscular 98 pound wrestler bare-necked standing on the taping table in his best pose…

The girls got back at him by telling friends afterward that ‘there wasn’t much to see.”

Good Evaluation

I seemed to rolling along quite nicely in one of my basic math classes. I finished my lesson on the board and was moving from student to student to give individual instruction. I told two young cowboys to settle down and get busy. About two minutes later, they were beside me at another student’s desk.

One was bleeding from his forearm, the other with a face as white as a sheet. ” I told him to stop stabbing me with his pencil or I was going to stab him with my knife.”

As I worked to stop the bleeding from the cut, knife boy continued, ” He did it again and I poked him.” With the knife in my pocket, they accompanied me to the office, still best friends.

Later, my wife looked over the accident report, Your yearly evaluation is going to look real good, except for the stabbing…”

A snapshot

There is a man in front of me

He is old

His shoulders seem pinched and somewhat stooped

His hair, where it exists, is sparse

Where it is not, the landscape is mottled, a lifetime in the sun

The face is highly exhausted, his laugh lines are deep furrows locked in time

A slight paunch, but not bad for a man who values eating so highly

His choice for the morning is hot coffee and a sunny dawn

He strives to get his goals done for the day by lunch before he tires

An afternoon nap is on the agenda every day

His music and his garden are his soul foods

His wife is his best friend, she and he from the beginning of time

At night, he rests his bones, she comforts him and keeps him warm

They say memories occur when emotion is attached to an event

He is thankful for all those who provided emotion in his life

On the porch or in the garden, he relives those moments as if in a movie

His family is comforting and a blessing, but they need him less and less as it should be

Any thoughts of past importance are mostly in his head

Today is his birthday

As I back away from the mirror, I must remember that he is me

Well, come on old man. We still have some living to do…