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Teala, My Love
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Growing up is not for sissies, especially when you are poor. It can be really hard getting through the teen years when you don’t have the resources to dress like most of the kids in your school. Even worse when you start driving and the best you can muster up for a ride is a 1950 Studebaker. If you have never seen one, it may be because you weren’t poor.
Teala, that was the name I gave my car, after the elephant in the old Tarzan movies, was a big blue mound of steel with two stovepipes painted white and fashioned into tusk that were mounted on the struts that used to hold the front bumper. Don’t laugh; it looked pretty cool in those days. Better than all those dumb cars with the red, orange, and yellow flames all over the fenders and hood.
Well, this poor fifteen-year-old boy fell in love with a sweet little girl from the other side of the tracks. You know, the side where the people lived in homes with inside bathrooms, not the side with two rooms and a path. That was my side of the tracks.
She was so beautiful and smelled so good. Not a hint of wood smoke on her store bought clothes. I was over six foot tall and she was four foot-ten inches tall on her tiptoes. Yea, we looked so cute together, beauty and the beast.
Margie was my first ever love…well, next to my old fifth grade teacher whom I adored. We went steady for two years. Our dates were always double dates because of the conditions put on us by her parents. Okay, after the first month of dating we would let the other couple off at their car, go our separate ways, and meet up later to take Margie home before her curfew. Don’t even think it! Those were different times and I was a gentleman.
Margie never complained about being chauffeured about in Teala; not even when she had to get out and push so I could pop the clutch to start the car when the battery failed, which was most of the time. I know what you are thinking; why does a six-foot boy let a four-foot- ten girl push instead of himself? Simple…her legs were too short to push the clutch…so there.
Our relationship ended when a pretty girl I met while working summers at a Boy Scout camp lured me away from her. After dating Barbara for a year she gave me the boot. My car was an embarrassment to her and she was always picking at me about the lack of class I showed in my clothing. She always pushed me to get a leather coat so I would look cool. Yea, poor boys don’t wear leather coats.
She dated me because I had become pretty famous in our community for my sports abilities. Fighting for the last biscuit can make you pretty strong. That strength helped me to excel in football and wrestling. I was the captain of an undefeated football team and I became the first state champion wrestler for my alma mater. She would wear my medals around and milk all the glory she could from them and then give them back like they no longer held any value for her.
I had exchanged someone who loved me unconditionally for the seduction of someone who appeared out of reach to me. I wanted the unattainable. I wanted to be seen with her and show her off as if she were some kind of a prize. Don’t feel so sorry for me anymore…do you? Who used whom…and for what gain?
I learned a life lesson back then. I no longer fall prey to those things of the world that would try to seduce me. I don’t feel the need to own a leather jacket or hold any trophies. I don’t miss Margie and I certainly don’t miss Barbara, but I sorely miss Teala. She was one of a kind.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (KJV) Now, that’s something worth seeking after…something worth sharing.
In conclusion, let me share 2 Corinthians 8:9, “ You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (NLT)
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