It was a balmy spring night in May, 1957 as I cruised the 1956 green and white 88 Oldsmobile through the Dog ‘n Suds (no beer served) parking lot. A friend and I had decided to check out the boys, as teenage girls are prone to do. She recognized a couple of guys she knew. We stopped, of course, and chatted with them. Turned out I knew one of them but not the other.
It never occurred to me at the time just how this introduction would change my life. Just several days later I answered the phone and the voice said “This is Dan. We met the other night.”
As we talked I realized that I knew several members of his extended family and cousin whom I had dated. When he asked me for a date for the following Friday, I felt safe in accepting what was virtually a “blind” date, since I knew some of his family.
As we chatted, he shared that he lived on a farm in West Gastonia . After he completed his job as a carpenter, he had spent the afternoon working on the combine to prepare to harvest the wheat.
First terrible mistake - sharing with my brother the fact that Dan was a part-time farmer. It became his top priority to tease me unmercifully that Dan was coming to pick me up on the combine. Being a farm girl, the combine was very familiar to me as I had helped tie the sacks myself. However, even a farm girl did not look favorably on using it for a means of transportation for a date!!!
What a relief - a beautiful white and light blue 1956 Victoria Ford pulled into the drive way and the same nice looking, tall young man I remembered came to the door. My heart was racing - the porch was FULL of relatives and my concern that he may decide not to be scrutinized
by so many strangers.
Then - as we went out the door my dear brother said “She has to be in by 9:00.”
To which Dan replied - “In the morning?"
Finally, my heart slowed a little and as he opened the car door for me, I felt a little less stressed. However, that state of emotion did not last long!!
Already being nervous after such teasing, I really wondered if the choice to “blind date” alone had been a wise one - how did I know whether he was as great as his extended family?
The tension truly sky-rocketed when Dan suggested it was too early for the movie and we would ride out around Crowders Mountain. Being from the east end of Gaston County I was not familiar with the west end - new territory for a nervous teenage girl!! Then when he said he wanted to try to locate a man he was going fishing with - the question marks really filled my mind!!!
As the road got more narrow, darker and lonelier, the old heart started anew beating wildly and I began to wonder about his “fish tale”, especially when we never found that man!! However, the tension and stress were for naught as it turned out to be a wonderful date and he was truly a perfect gentleman!!
The movie “Tammy and the Bachelor” became our favorite movie. He took me back to see it again the night he asked me to marry him and gave me a beautiful diamond ring!! (If that first date had been at a drive-in movie it probably would have been our last - as scared as I was.)
As fate (God’s hand) would have it he became the last boy I “dated” - for we were married two years later and enjoyed 32 years of marriage before his death on November 1, 1991.
I was the one who caught the prize fish!!!
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