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Topic: Breaking the Rules (08/16/04)
TITLE: Lovers of Pleasure
By Teresa Lee Rainey
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Our dilemma begged for a solution. How could we pull this off and not be caught? The answer seemed simple enough to Lisa Kay and me. We would invite only one or two other people, meet in the east parking lot before our first class, go have a blast at the beach, get back by the closing bell and no one would be wiser.
The next morning we made roll-call for homeroom right on time. We stood, pledged our allegiance to the flag (thankful for the freedom we were about to cherish), and impatiently sat through Terri Jo’s morning devotion which rang meaninglessly through the loud speakers before our escape. I think she quoted something from 2 Timothy 3.
As the bell rang, everyone pushed their way through the halls and to their classroom. Well, not everyone exactly. Lisa Kay and I met at our shared locker, shoved in our books and tried to contain our excitement as we crept to the east parking lot where Stevie met us at my car.
I was fortunate enough to drive my cherished 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera that morning. The alternative was dad’s embarrassingly big, blue, three-pew van typically used to haul twelve (or more) screaming teens to church on Wednesday nights. My friends called it “The Blue Bomb”. That wasn’t cool, but we were.
Panama City was only one hour away. I drove. Lisa Kay rode shot-gun and played the seek button radio game (her pointer finger never tired) and Stevie, the movie trivia king, quoted every line from “Breakfast Club”. Time flew along with me and suddenly the beach was before us.
We quickly found a public parking lot and ran through beautiful white dunes to embrace the Gulf and enjoy the. . . Rain? OK, who forgot to check the weather? No worries. This was a only a minor setback to our day. We could go to the mall instead.
We simply packed up our beach bags and sloshed through the white dune puddles to the parking lot. “Who has the keys?” Panic began to set in as I spotted them dangling from the ignition. However, we would not be overcome. Lisa Kay waved down a very nice, young police man who graciously came to our rescue.
The sky was still cloudy, but the rain subsided on our way toward the mall. Stevie decided to roll down the back window and let the cool mid-day air blow-dry us. We sang Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” at the top of our lungs as we rolled into an available parking space in front of Panama City Mall’s main entrance.
I made sure the keys were in my hand and asked Stevie to roll up the window in case it started to rain again. My precious Ciera didn’t need her back seat washed. Stevie made the motion of rolling up the window, but nothing happened. The window had fallen and would not get up!
So much for the mall. To make matters worse, the rain returned in fury. We had to get home. I drove. Lisa Kay sat sideways in the passenger’s seat and used her pointer finger to scold as she shouted instructions to Stevie. Poor Stevie said nothing and merely followed orders by holding the driest towel to the loud, gaping, rain channel in a feeble attempt to keep the back seat from being saturated. How would we explain a wet seat when it wasn’t raining at school?
We made it back to school just before the final bell. No one questioned where we had been. It was as if we had never gone. My parents seemed to buy into the story we concocted about the window and life returned to normal.
June, 1986. I had a suspicious knot in my stomach when Mom and Dad called me to their room the night my report card came in the mail. “Teresa”, Dad spoke as he studied my charted development, “this says you were absent three full days last quarter. Mom and I can only recall two.” BUSTED.