Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Dates

By Rob Watson

My alternate title for this piece was "An Idiot on the Loose". As you will see, this was an accurate description of my first dating experience. So, lets begin, jumping forward three full years from the incident related in my post: "Fear". Never having asked any girl for another date.  (You may recall, I claim to have been unsuccessful with the females. In this almost year long relationship DD never directly expresses any form of affection toward me and allows exactly one kiss... You be the judge. But then, six or seven years later I end up living next to this girl. She tells my first wife, that I am the one that got away.)

By some forgotten sequence of events, I am in the lake cabin of the neighbor of one of my high school teachers. Present are the cabins owner, his wife and their 14 year old daughter (lets call her DD to save typing). The time is the Autumn of my freshman year of college. The older ones have put on a humor record by Rusty Reynolds. By the record jacket one can see Rusty is a rather attractive red head. She is also the flithiest mouthed woman I have ever encountered.

The wife and mother notices that I am embarrassed to the absolute limit of my ability to cope. She takes this as a sign that I am the boy for her little girl. I am, thereafter, invited to their cabin whenever they are in town. They live about 50 miles from the lake, and, 50 miles from my college.

DD is physically well developed for a 14 year old, (or for a 20 year old) has a pretty face, keeps her auburn hair well fixed, and dresses to accent her figure without "over exposing" it. I eventually learn she emotionally flashes from warm to cold and back again at short intervals that are unpredictable in all respects.

Sometime along the way, I ask for a date and we begin to correspond by snail mail. (actually, back then, a letter deposited at the end of the day at college would be delivered 280 mile away in the next days mail... Also 50 miles away) DD liked the attention of receiving a daily letter and was quite put out when I failed to deliver. She, however, only felt the need to write once or twice a week.

While at college, my only mode of long distance transportation was hitchhiking. One week I was invited to DD's home for the weekend and hitchhiked there. Her mother picked me up and transported me to the house after I got to their town. I knew hitchhiking after dark was an iffy enterprise and, at the end of my visit, I asked to be delivered to the road back to college in late afternoon... too late afternoon.

I stood beside the road for an hour, until full dark, with my thumb out. Then, having classes the next day, began to walk. At the time it was in vogue to do 50 mile (80km) hikes in 24 hours. (a resurrection of some Teddy Roosevelt thing) I had just over 14 hours. Walking being my main mode of transport otherwise, I had developed my own technique for racewalking and switched into high gear. A faster mode, developed and fostered by the boy scouts, was to run 50 steps and walk 50 steps. As time began to get short, in the later hours of the night, I switched over to this mode. I never failed to present myself as a hitchhiker to any passing vehicle until the last one.

An hour or more could pass between cars on the road. I got very tired and decided to take a nap on a bridge... you know the footing of the bridge side rails. I was awakened by a car passing a foot or so from my nose. Thereafter I kept moving.

At 4:30 AM. I was 5 miles from my destination when I heard a car coming. I decided my ego could not stand another rejection and I ignored the man as he zoomed past. He jammed on his brakes and backed up. He asked if I needed a ride... Yep!! Forty five miles in ten hours, nap included, must be some kind of record. Heck, I could have been a Teddy Roosevelt Marine twice over, or a Stonewall Jackson Foot Cavalry, or an Idiot on the loose.

The last I saw of DD (until six or seven years later) began with an outdoor party the following summer. She, or her mother, invited 20 or so people, our age, for a weenie roast beside the lake. I spent most of the evening following DD around as if I were a lost puppy, and being totally ignored. After an extended period I began to feel like one and stopped following her. Within minutes she came and punched me in the back, wanting to know why I was ignoring her.

The next evening, we were suppose to have a date. She was out, standing on the dock, when I drove up in my family's car. I walked out to her and she turned. "Go away. I don't want to see you any more." was all she said. I said nothing, turned and walked away. Six or seven years was not enough time for the anger to go away. I lived next to her for a year and never remember speaking a word to her.

The good news was it opened the door for the Merry Bee (and Mary B. ), and, the girl from Dallas, and, more tales of an idiot on the loose.

Notes on the above: President Theodore Roosevelt  initiated  the requirement that the Marines be able to march 50 miles in a day. Someone brought this up again in the 1960's and it was the in thing to do at the time, for non military boys trying to prove their manhood.

During the American Civil War, Infantry usually moved 10-15 miles a day. Cavalry moved 25 miles. General Thomas J, Stonewall, Jackson frequently moved his infantry corps 50 miles in a day, earning the moniker: Stonewall's Foot Cavalry.

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