Decades ago my mother had a friend who lived just up the road. My sister and I knew there would be no ride home from the bus on sunny days; we’d be walking the half mile up hill while our mother and her crazy friend were out having a blast on their horses. Why would I call the woman crazy? Well, for Christmas one year she gave us a jar of dead goldfish that she’d fished out of our pond. Another year we got a box of road apples…aka, horse poop. Crazy.
This crazy neighbor’s father was one of 12 children. She was the oldest of a whole passel full of cousins. One afternoon my mom, sister and I came home from shopping to find a note on our front door; “Hi, I came over with my 19 year old cousin and his black Porche convertible. Will come back later tonight!” My dad came in from working in his shop to read the note and smiled. “And for who’s benefit do you think she left this note?” he said with a smile and wink in my direction. I’m certain I perfected my eye rolling ability as a teen.
Later that night, true to her word, my mom’s crazy best friend showed up at the door with her bearded cousin and his fancy automobile. I guess she thought it would turn my head. I think he thought it would turn my head. But could it pull a horse trailer? No. In fact, I rather made the off-handed comment that it looked like an elephant had sat on it. I’m not so sure he was impressed with me at that point.
The Porche driving cousin was visiting from California for a week. In that time he borrowed his older cousin’s horse and we went out trail riding a couple of afternoons. And then the inevitable happened…he asked me out on a date. Well, one date wouldn’t hurt, right? I mean, he’d be leaving the next day and I’d never see him again…
As I said, this was decades ago. I was a senior in high school. And what do high school students do on Friday evenings in September? They go to football games. I’m not certain that’s where the cousin had in mind, but that’s where we went. Now, I must admit to the fact that I was not part of the popular crowd at school. No, not even close. And yet somehow we ended up sitting right in front of them. The air was a bit chilly, and I’d been getting over a cold. My nose was beginning to run a bit, and I kept sniffing…trying to keep it from being noticeable.
I don’t recall what was said. Does it really matter? My nose was running. Someone said something funny. I snorted. Snot flew out. Everywhere. People in front of me thought it was raining; I can only imagine the disgust from the popular crowd behind me. I was sure I’d completely grossed out my date. But hey, after tomorrow I’d never see the guy again, right???
Oh, if I’d only known…