A few years ago I got reacquainted with an old schoolmate of mine from Odessa, a fellow I had not seen in some 50 years.
Howard’s now a successful businessman in Fort Worth, and though he was a couple years younger than me and I did not know him well back then, it was easy to connect over lunch about our school days at Odessa High.
I actually do have a somewhat awkward and “funny-now, not-so-funny then” tale involving Howard that he remembered all too well.
Back in the day our school sponsored the annual spring “Sadie Hawkins Week” wherein the girls invite the boys out for a date, dinner and dance.
As a senior, I claimed no special gal at the time. So one brave sophomore girl “Brenda” invited me to be her date.
Now Brenda was cute, sweet and a fun gal all right, but she was two years younger than me, and I just didn’t have that spark toward her that maybe she had for me. But she really wanted me to go out and nobody else asked, so I thought “what the heck?” She’d arrange everything.
The big night came and she was at my door right on time. I stepped out of my house, and there was Howard and his date in his car waiting for us in my driveway. I did not know we were double dating.
We climbed in the backseat and were off for hamburgers and cokes, and then to the school dance. We actually had a fun evening and I was glad I went. It was good to have Howard and his date along for the company.
Then it dawned on me — when we get back to my house, Brenda’s gonna walk me to the door and probably expect a kiss.
You see, I hadn’t had much experience in those things (don’t think that kiss on Sharon’s elbow in the 1st grade counts). So on the drive home, I’m starting to dread what I knew was coming.
I didn’t want to hurt Brenda or embarrass myself so I decided I was just going to give her a nice big thank-you hug.
We pulled up in my driveway --- of course my parents had the porch light on --- when Howard just blurted out “Well, Charlie, guess it’s about time for you and Brenda to have that goodnight kiss, wouldn’t you say?”
What? Oh No! Not only am I now feeling obligated to do the deed, but in front of two witnesses to boot!
I just knew they’d be peering from the front seat of the car to view the action (or nonaction ) about to take place. I was trapped.
So, as we walked to the door, I thanked her for the evening, and gave her a quick bungling peck of a kiss somewhere on the face. I don’t remember how it felt or much else, except I did feel sorry for Brenda. I’m sure I was a disappointment to her.
Fast forward some 50 years later, and I’m with wife Carolyn in Nashville for her 45th high school reunion. We’re tooling around town, and she’s showing me some of her old haunts from long ago. She drove me by one of the houses she used to live in and stopped the car to reminisce a bit.
Then she said “see that front porch there? That’s where I had my first ever kiss.” Her remembrance and mention of it actually propelled me back to 1968 and my own humbling experience. I didn’t know quite what to say or how to react.
Then, being the mature human being I purport to be, and husband of Carolyn for 35 years, I just smiled and proudly said “Well, sweet wife, I hope your first was a lot better than mine.”
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.