I decided to post some of "our" stories here on Life & Faith. In part, because I love sharing them, telling them. But largely motivated to save these stories for my children. So please come along with me as we go back to Dec. 31, 1983:
This December was on of the coldest I can remember. It was 17 degrees for a high on Christmas day! Very unusual for us. And I was 23 years old. I had lost my mom less than a year before and was still living in the our home with my stepfather, Polk, as we both tried to chart out what came next. Between work and my running the roads I was actually seldom there.
On New Year's Eve of 1983 I was fed up with men. You find one treats you right, and seemed "the right feeling" never developed. Find one with the right feeling and sooner or later they let you down. Coming out of a nearly year long relationship that had gone south for no explainable reason, I had made up my mind to simply do what I pleased, go out with whomever I wanted to just for their company. New rules to play by: don't phone them, don't go to them, don't meet them, don't spend a dime of my money on them. They could do it all or nothing. I wouldn't be used, played, toyed with any more.
So on this particular evening I was at home getting dressed up to go out dancing for New Year's Eve. My best friend (who was already married), Mary Lou, phoned me up to say "come out here with us for New Year's. Glen and Connie are playing." "No, I think I'm going somewhere else." "Oh, come on" she insisted ~she was very good at insisting ;o)~"Paul is gonna be there with his fiance and Ronnie says you have to be there." "Okay, I'll come out there, but I'm not promising I'll stay there."
So I finished dressing, pulled on my cowboy boots and got a good coat and left the house. I walked into the club to find the others already there. I ordered a drink and sat down with them. It wasn't extremely pleasant for me; hearing and seeing Glen and Connie brought back nostalgic memories of the past year. I half hoped, half dreaded Rocky might walk in the door. I wanted to bolt and run. Go somewhere else, anywhere else. But each time I was about to make my excuses and cut out, someone would ask me to dance or engage me in conversation and I'd end up staying on.
It wasn't long before us girls had to excuse ourselves to the ladies room. Being single, my eyes were perusing the men I saw along the way. Sloppy, ugly, obviously taken, drunk, old so and so....then I spy a tall, slender frame bent from the waist over the pool table. His hair looked like spun gold, shining under the Bud light hanging above the table. His jeans fit his rear just right. I nudged Mary Lou in the side and said, "Oh, look at that one! The only good looking guy in here." Mary Lou said, "What? Where?" Oh, hell, she was too married to notice. Coming back by the pool table upon exit of the ladies room, I tried to catch his eye, but seemed to fail. Oh, well, back into the dark recesses of our table.
Later on, a song started, Percy Sledge I think, and Mary Lou was obviously going to be mad at Ronnie if he didn't make it back to dance with her. So I went to warn him to high tail it to the dance floor. I walked up to find him talking to the handsome young man I had noticed over the pool table. Forever full of himself, Ronnie made some crack. And then the handsome young stranger leaned in between us, tapped the side of his cheek with a long slender finger and said, "give me a little kiss, right here." I pulled back a little and took in his face. It was kind, cheerful and full of mischief. His right brow was slightly cocked. Why not? So I leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. It seems Ronnie made some quick introductions. But suffice it to say, at some point he ended up over at our table. After Mary Lou and stomped his foot repeatedly, he had asked me to dance to a slow song. And he got up once again to dance to "Auld Lang Syne" as the clock struck midnight. As the lights came up and "Turn out the Lights, the Party's Over" started blaring from the jukebox he asked about us doing more tonight. I told him I was going home. Told him where I lived and told him he could come over and watch TV if he wanted to. He assured me he'd be there. I wasn't counting on it.
I walked out to my Mustang and cranked up, started getting ready to leave. Letting some cars pull out and get away from me. Noticed in the rear view mirror that my handsome young man was packing about 5 girls into an AMX. Well, he obviously got a better deal! So much for that. And I pulled out and headed home. I was surprised to find my stepfather had not returned from a family party he had gone to. Being an old night owl, I suppose. I walked through the cold house. Lit a couple of heaters. Peed. Was kicking my boots off when I heard a car in the drive and in just a second, there was a knock on the door. I turn on the porch light and opened the door to see HIM standing there! Wow. I didn't think you were coming, it looked like you were busy. He claimed the women I had seen climbing into his car, were his three sisters and a couple of their friends he had to take home before he came over. We settled down on the couch. Watched TV. Talked. He had given me three options of names I could call him, and I never could settle on one. Polk finally came home. I made introductions. Then Polk headed for bed. We talked some more. Cuddled and kissed a little, as much from the cold as anything. Not long after Pete said he'd better head off to home, that he had to work the next day. That he was a pumper and had to check the wells every single day. I urged him to settle down on the couch instead, due to the late hour, the 15 mile drive and the whole New Year's and alcohol thing.
(It was several months later when I heard the story from his sisters about that night after the club closed. They said he herded them into the car like cattle. And literally drove like a bat out of hell, leaving them scared senseless, to get them where they were staying that night. Claimed he fairly threw them out of the car when they got there, barely slowing to a roll. It was a good 30 mile round trip from the club, to there, and back down to my house. He made it in about 10 minutes.)