The Most Memorable Date

Our first home and honeymoon suite

 For our last date as singles, we moved our belongings into the house-trailer we rented. This is where we planned to live while Dan finished his senior year of college.

At this stage of our lives, we didn’t have much to move. Dan borrowed his brother’s pickup, packed his belongings and the shower gifts from his hometown and drove 80 miles to my parents’ house. We loaded my belongings and shower gifts from my hometown and headed for Southwestern State at Weatherford, Oklahoma.

As we started out, Dan told me we needed to get things unpacked as fast as we could because the borrowed pickup had a taillight out. It seemed like we had plenty of time. However, we had no experience in unloading and and setting up a home in a small house-trailer. So, everything took longer than we thought and it was dark way too soon.

We’d been on the road awhile before we saw flashing lights in the rear view mirror. Dan pulled over and waited for the officer.

“Did you know you have a taillight out?”

Dan shook his head and told one of the few lies I’ve ever heard him tell. “No, sir. This is my brother’s pickup. We’re getting married tomorrow and I borrowed it to move our things to Weatherford.” Dan accompanied the officer to the rear of the pickup to observe the broken taillight.

“Did you know the license tag is out of date?”

“No!” Dan said and I’m quite sure he was telling the truth this time. “Buford probably just forgot to change it. It’s probably in the cab. Let me look.”

Dan came around to passenger side and had me move over so he could look under the seat. There was no new tag there and we couldn’t find the current registration. But there was a gun. A .22 pistol!

“Here. Sit on this.” Dan pushed the pistol toward me. (Don’t know where the Patrolman was.)

“No!” I said to the man I would promise to love and obey in less than twenty-four hours. I was 5’6″ and 110 pounds. My tush wasn’t big enough to hide that pistol even if I was willing.

Dan grabbed the keys and locked the pistol in the glove compartment and we offered a silent prayer that there would be no need to search the vehicle.

“I’m going to have to take you in,” the officer said. “Do you want to call a tow truck or follow me?

And so we had a police escort to the county seat where Dan began trying to call his brother, Buford. But Dan’s family lived in a rural area and didn’t have a phone. He tried to call one of his uncles who lived in town but there was a revival going on and everyone was in church.

So, we waited while the sheriff checked the registration. We could see the cells and I was pretty sure the wedding was about to be postponed until the bride and groom served their time. If that wasn’t enough, I was not too pleased at the thought of calling my dad to bail us out.

While we fretted, the patrolman and the sheriff decided to go across the street for coffee and left us to answer the phone. Buford finally called while they were gone and gave Dan the new tag number. We worried that they wouldn’t believe us when we told them the call had come through.

After a few minuets that seemed like hours, the officers came strolling back into the county jail. Dan told them the call had come through. The sheriff asked Dan how far he was going and he told him he had about a three hour drive to get back to his parent’s home. The sheriff gave him a note to give anyone who might stop him again. And, that’s the story of our last date, the most memorable one. An ordinary day that something made special…

Our Most Romantic Dates


The way we were in 1959.

Dan and I shared our last date as singles 53 years ago come Monday. This once-in-a-lifetime event turned out to be the most memorable day of our courtship but far from the most romantic. (I’ll tell about that later.) As I think back now, several dates compete for the most romantic.

But, the silver metal goes to…

It was raining but we wanted to linger at the door for a goodnight kiss. Since it was Oklahoma, the wind was probably blowing and a thunderstorm may have supplied the backdrop. Dan pulled his jacket over our heads to protect us from the storm… and we lingered there… Sheltered from the rain and the porch light, kissing goodnight. In my memory, that night seems as romantic as any candlelight dinner in a fine restaurant he’s taken me to since.

And there’s tie for the gold…

I was engaged to the boy back home. Dan found out and confronted me as only he would. He said, “I didn’t intend to feel this way about a woman (I was nineteen) until I graduated, but–”

I interrupted him (pulling myself from his arms) to confess, “There’s something you should know…” And his response was, I don’t think you love him. If you did, you wouldn’t enjoy another man’s affection like you do.” (Well, that was something to think about!)

Much to my surprise, he asked me out again a few days later. And, although I knew I shouldn’t, I accepted. But, instead of slipping my engagement ring under my lamp as usual, I decided to wear it. Dan knew my secret, so what did it matter?

I was a little uncomfortable throughout the movie and we probably went for a coke after, but we ended the evening on the lighted porch with me in his arms. And then, he took my hand and looked at the ring. “I could never afford one like this,” he said. And he slipped it off my finger and handed it to me.

I never put it on again.

(I should explain that my high school sweetheart told me to date and have a good time at college. He said “Our love could withstand a few dates.”  So, I wasn’t cheating. I just happened to fall in love for real. I believe it was God’s plan for my life, and Dan’s, and the high school sweatheart.)

The Next Seed

Miss Honey appears on the first page of THE ROGUE TRUST, and I think she will play a role in other books in the series. The idea for her character came into my life about six and half years ago.

Soon after we moved to Oklahoma, we went to the animal shelter looking for a lap-cat. We’d already been there once, came home with a beautiful long-haired yellow male. But, Mussa turned out to have a strong will of his own and he was not a lap-cat except when the mood happened to strike.On this second visit, Dan made me swear to be more careful, avoid the pretty face and look for calm personality. So, on entrance, we passed by this cage with a screaming grey kitten with white paws reaching out to me. I looked him over. Sharp nose, dull grey… not my cat. We looked, petted, and cuddled, every kitten in the place, trying to avoid the cage with the screamer. But, every time I passed near, those little white paws managed a better grip my heart.

After awhile, I took a deep breath and looked at Dan. “This one really wants to go with us… maybe he’s the one.”

He shrugged. “He’s awfully loud.”

“But, he really wants to go with us… you know how cats are. They pick their owner. That’s the mistake we made with Mussa. He didn’t pick us.”

Dan shot me one of his lop-sided grins and rolled his eyes.

A few minutes later, we took our kitten to the check-out window. As we chatted, they must have thought we might back out. They found an excuse to offer us the grey kitten free. They did mention he was the noisiest one. By this time, didn’t matter. This kitten chose us. We took him home and never regretted it.

His markings resembled a tuxedo and spats so we named him Mr. Bojangles. Bo grew to be beautiful cat, fur thick and soft as chinchilla, rich grey and purest white. A great lap-cat and an even better nap-cat. Bo always followed me to the couch and settled in beside me as soon as I stretched out. I don’t know of anything more relaxing than a warm, purring cat snuggled close. He was a great companion.

After we brought him home, he had the softest meow, even after he grew to be an eighteen pound tom. Gentle and considerate, he never leaped into my lap. Instead, he sat at my feet and stared up, waiting for permission. Sweet as honey, dignified, and very polite, Mr. Bojangles was the idea seed for Miss Honey. I made a couple of changes… amber eyes to blue and male to female.

Within one week this spring, we attended my mother’s funeral, Dan’s brother-in-law’s funeral, and Bo left us. With all that going on, I haven’t fully mourned him yet. I guess I was cried out and all my grief melded together. I miss him. But, there’s Miss Honey. She was aa character in THE ROGUE TRUST long before we lost Bo. He was her role model, now she’s the tribute to his memory.

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The Rogue Trust: First Two Seeds in the Packet

[amazon_image id=”B008VTNT2S” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_image]

 

THE ROGUE TRUST was released for Kindle on Amazon last night. I feel like a new mom with a cuddly bundle in my arms. I keep looking at the cover, admiring the title, and relishing the byline. Mine. Mine. Mine. The life experience that led to the idea. The motivation and determination to complete the task. And, three years of blood, sweat, and tears… all mine. Now, I want it to be yours to read and enjoy, maybe to find a nugget of truth for your own use, and something to remember.

This book began with one tiny seed, joined by another, and over time I collected a packet of seeds that germinated in my imagination and sprouted into the setting, characters, and plot lines for this book.

It begins with yellow roses, the first idea seed I collected. My mother had a steamer trunk pushed back in the corner of my room. And sometimes, when we were alone, she’d pull that trunk out and unfasten the latches. Standing on end, it split in the middle and opened like double doors. Inside were the wonderful things she brought home and cherished from her year at the University of Nebraska… when she was the banker’s daughter… before she became the young farmer’s wife. I still remember the softness of her fur coat, the smoothness of her satin evening gowns, and the jeweled buckles on the matching slippers. She told me that one day I could wear those gowns (but I grew too tall). Then she’d pull out her scrapbook and I’d take it all in as she reminisced. I was drawn to the pressed and dried yellow rose corsage. I was always curious about the man who sent the roses and the note he wrote, “Roses of yellow from an extraordinary fellow.” And so, THE ROGUE TRUST begins with the delivery of fourteen exquisite yellow roses accompanied by a mysterious note… and a charming stranger parked across the street.

The first seeds in the packet came from the secrets in Mama’s trunk she shared with me many, many years ago.

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