Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering a date I hope my granddaughters never have

Yesterday, I had lunch with two college roommates. We try to make it once a year, although we live in three different cities in the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex. We met our freshman year. They met the men they would later marry the same year and are still happily married to them. We discussed art, museums, books, families, grandchildren, and delicately, politics. At a really, really good restaurant. I think this makes 52 years of friendship. How cool is that?

Today, as I drove home, I saw the flash flood of Oklahoma fans flooding I35 on their way to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl and the UT-OU football game. The flood of cars reminds me of flash floods at home when we would drive up safely close to watch the flood waters and boulders wash by. Sometimes at this time,I pull up at a parking lot along the service road and watch the cars flood past. This year, ignited by yesterday, I remembered another event.

Two of us did not have parents past our teens. The third commented it made us strong. I think we were strong from birth and this made us stronger. I think all three of us are strong,smart, empathic women. But hey, that's my opinion.

And it triggered a memory of my freshman year. I had pledged a sorority. Both my parents still living then, both wanted it. So. I did. I was shy, didn't know how to flirt, and I had never been away from home before, hence no blind dates. The sorority social director got me a date with a slightly older fraternity guy who was about 5 foot six inches. I was marginally taller, and figured high heels wouldn't work. I needed some dressy flats. These were at a shopping center I was told about a mile away. And I knew nothing about the bus systems. I walked, and it was three miles. Then I walked back, reaching my dorm in time to dress, but no dinner. I was hot and sweaty and had a half-hour to dress.

We went to a huge fraternity party. I danced. He danced. Sometimes we danced together. Thank God there were snacks. I had a couple of drinks (18, no experience at all, illegal) but decided I preferred colas. He, however, got plastered. I had never been around a drunk person before so I had no idea how drunk he was. He seemed okay. We had another couple in the back seat and he started back on the freeway. I suddenly realized he was veering straight towards a car going the other direction. I screamed magnificently, grabbed his wheel manually and jerked us suddenly and violently back into our lane. He was angry, but slowed. drove sedately, and actually walked me to the door of my dorm. There certainly was no kiss.

He looked at me. "I have never heard anyone scream that loud in my life," he said.

I nodded. Heard that before, in other situations related to football stadiums and enthusiastic cheering.

We never spoke again. The social chairman of my sorority never tried to get me another date.

I was relieved, happy, and glad to be alive.

I still think I was right to grab that wheel. He probably still thinks I was an hysteric.

And we are both alive to think it.

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