Sunday afternoon, I met a friend of mine at the airport. She was flying back to Texas after spending the week with her daughter-in-law and her new grandson, Ransom. The son is at Army Ranger school.
We had not seen one another for 37 years.
I’ve known Mary since we were 13 years old. I was smitten on sight, just as every other boy in Germantown, Ohio was when she walked into the 8th grade at Germantown Jr. High.
We met at church. Her dad, a pastor as well, had just moved the family back to Germantown and had taken a church in Franklin, Ohio nearby. They were visiting the church where my Dad pastored, and where most of her uncles and aunts attended.
The memory is vivid. She was illegally beautiful and had on a tangerine polished cotton dress which was cut square at the neck with wide straps; a 1960s sundress, if you will. Her flat shoes were dyed to match. Shoulder-blade length black-brown hair framed her tanned face, revealing a beautiful smile, that implied a beautiful soul. She was lovely, a vision, I was thunderstruck.
Her mother taught Piano lessons, I took UP the Piano.
Best dressed, best looking, drill team captain, Prom court princess, homecoming court, Christmas Dance court, and Miss Basketball, Mary was loved by everyone.
When she cut her hair, many others followed. If she wore jumpers, jumpers were in. Her silver Mary Janes at the Basketball Homecoming Dance were the talk of the evening. Girls wanted to be her, and all the guys wanted to date her.
No one compared, and most of the guys didn’t stand a chance! I had a lot of company in that category.
Alas, we were “just friends”. And although she’s one of the worst correspondents alive, – seriously, I don’t think she’s ever written a letter in her life – we’ve stayed in touch for 40 years…off and on.
At the reunion, which she was unable to attend – darn that new grand baby – everyone asked me; “Is Mary coming?”, “Have you talked to Mary lately?”, “What do you hear from Mary?”
One guy, who lives in town and didn’t attend (which I’m still annoyed about ) said, “If Mary comes, call me, I’ll come out.”
Like I said, everyone loved her.
Now a mother of three handsome men (one an Army Ranger), a step-mother to four , and a grandmother of seven, she’s still beautiful. And it was great to see her.
We talked a lot, well, I talked a lot. We caught UP, her kids, my kids, her grandchildren, my…grand cat. Germantown, Valley View, growing UP, life, being a PK, piano, family.
The thing that struck me most is that she didn’t realize the impact she had on the kids around her.
She said, “When ever anyone said anything nice about me, I was always surprised.”
Talk about surprised!
I was stunned.
The afternoon was great. We only had two hours together, but as we sat and had lunch we covered a million things. We noticed fashion faux pas at the airport, and we laughed. Although there were opportunities galore, I refrained from snapping pictures! I just hate getting a conscience at this point in life!
Lunch was great, made better by the company, and the memories were precious and plentiful.
We took pictures.
We shared stories, we remembered, we laughed, and it was hard to believe that nearly four decades had passed since we last saw one another.
I reminded her that I, like every other boy, was crazy for her in high school.
She told me that I was always a trusted friend, someone to whom she could tell anything.
I think that’s a pretty good thing to be!
(Check out the Urban Cowboy today…I’m the Monday Maverick! You can see it by clicking here.)