Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Summer of My Broken Heart

I met Barbara at the Delta Dip in Dumas, Arkansas, home of the Ding Dong Daddy. I didn't make that last part up, it's just what they say down there in the Delta. I was finishing up my student teaching in Dumas, and I had just gotten my hamburger, and was heading back to my car. A guy I knew from Arkansas A&M called me over. He was talking to a carload of girls. When I walked over, looked in the car, I saw a couple of nice looking girls. But in the back seat, far side, I saw her. I almost dropped my hamburger. There, before my eyes, sat the most beautiful one eyed girl I had ever seen. Her hair style covered one eye up, but a little later I saw the other one too, and it was every bit as beautiful as the first one. This was it. This was the girl I wanted to marry.
     But I had this problem. Every time I met a girl I really liked, I just froze up. Couldn't think of a single sensible thing to say. In college, when I found a girl I really liked, I called her up and said something like, "You wouldn't want to go out with me, would you?" Then if she hesitated, even for a second, I threw in the clincher. "I don't blame you, I wouldn't either if I were you. Bye."
Well, you can see my situation here, looking at this girl I wanted to marry. But this girl was so bubbly, outgoing, and friendly, she would just not allow me to freeze up. Before long, I had a date with her for Saturday night.
      Following her directions, I headed for Watson Saturday night. I had misgivings. It was a well known fact at A&M, 25 miles away, that a young man just did not venture into Watson, alone, after dark. Watson had 3 or 4 really bad young dudes, they loved to fight, and they were good at it. Stories were told of one average looking guy who had mastered the art of getting in three running steps and throwing the first punch in a one – punch fight, usually against much larger guys.
     I slunk down in the seat as I drove down Main street. Well, actually, THE street. It was dark, but not nearly dark enough. Watson was like an old western town. In fact, at least one old western movie was made there. I couldn't help but remember all the men I had seen die in the dust of just such a street, in the movies. Well, I made it through town, breathing easier now, and headed for her house, out a winding gravel road three miles out through the cotton fields.
When I arrived, Barbara invited me in. I thought the whole family must be there, but no. I just barely scratched the surface of the Dunnahoe clan that night. Her little sisters, two squirmy little girls, whispered and laughed to each other about how tall I was, how big my hands were, and would you just look at those feet! Her brother, about my age, was there with his wife and baby. The brother, JD, shook my hand and all, but the look in his eye was anything but friendly. It wasn't until years later, I began to piece it all together from his stories about his "three running steps" technique, that I began to realize. JD was actually the one I had heard stories about at A&M. Little did I know, the real danger was not on the streets of Watson, but here, in this house, looking at me hard. But his Mama and Daddy were there, and things went well that night.
We got to date a few times, then student teaching was over and I was off to my new teaching job at St. Paul, Arkansas.
      I went to see Barbara every weekend I could, which meant when I was invited. But she was busy finishing up her senior year, St. Paul was a long way off, and I didn't get to see her as much as I wanted to that semester.
      At the end of the school year, Barbara was headed off to A&M to start college. I knew Barbara would be making a big splash there that summer, pretty girls like her always do. I decided to go to Oklahoma, work on a pipeline, make a little money. I knew Barbara still had ties to some guy in the Air force, and was not ready to put all her eggs in one basket yet. But we parted on good terms, each having no hold on the other.
      About mid summer, I stuck my gloved hand into a block and tackle on the pipeline job, and the last inch of my thumb just stayed with the glove. I went over and told the foreman, who had caused my accident in the first place, that I had lost a thumb. He cussed me out really good, for messing up his safety record. My Oklahoma adventure was over, and I was headed back to Arkansas. Driving home, I had no idea how losing that thumb was about to affect the remainder of my life.
      I drove down to see Barbara, in summer school at A&M. As I expected, she was making a big splash. Pretty, personable new girls tend to do that. Well, she was dating a football star, the son of a football coach, who was making his own splash, and she still had ties to the Air Force dude, but she seemed, in talking with me, to be leaving the door open for us just a little bit, and I suddenly decided I had best go back to school the second summer term, pick up some chemistry. I signed up and went back to Wing a few days to collect my stuff. I wrote Barbara. Told her I met her football jock, and he seemed to me to think he was pretty wonderful. Well, she wrote back and turned my words right against me. She told me she had become convinced he was wonderful too, and another thing or two along that same line of thought.
      That hit me, and hit me hard. Here I was, already paid my tuition money, and I was getting the royal shaft.
      After thinking it over a couple of days, a couple of my hardest days ever, I decided to go to school anyway, as hard as that would be. I never liked to just throw away money.
My old pals tried to cheer me up. Didn't work. My buddy Sam, a one legged guy, offered to fight him for me since I was thumb incapacitated. I was kinda hard to cheer up, seeing her all cozied up with him every day.
      Barbara and I both worked in the cafeteria. One day while we were working, Barbara asked me if I would take her to church that night. I thought awhile, maybe a second, and told her I didn't see why not. I saved my celebrating until I got back to the dorm. Things were looking up! I was in a really good mood, right up until I saw them, right out in front of my dorm, hugging and such. I think he brought her over there to put on a show for me.
      Well, that didn't help my mood much, and I was pretty cool to her at church. When I pulled up in front of her dorm, the jock was waiting. He came storming up. I knew I wasn't in good fighting trim, thumb cut off and all. Actually, I have never been a good fighter, thumb or no thumb. Well, I shouldn't have worried. He did all the fighting, with his words, all aimed right at her, right there in front of me. Barbara very nicely listened to everything he had to say, just ranted himself out, ending up with, “You either leave with me, right now, or it's over!” She just looked at him, and very nicely said, “It's already over.” "Well, then, I want my picture back," he said. It was a nice, framed 8x10 and, bad as she hated to, I'm sure, she agreed to give it up.
      They say the meek shall inherit the earth. Well, that night I began inheriting the part of it I most wanted, Barbara. I was a little uneasy, as she very nicely went through the process of cutting off the other hopefuls, one at a time. By the time I had learned a little chemistry, and I was ready to head to St. Paul and my new coaching job, we were engaged. I always made sure, when I saw the jock coming through the lunch line, that I had her hugged up as she spooned food on his plate. He always got mad, red as a beet, but he never said anything.
We got married on December 26 of that year, and we headed off to New Orleans. Well, I couldn't understand those Cajun's directions, and we never found New Orleans. But somehow, it just didn't seem to matter at the time.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best Stories of 2011 - Fourche Valley School

     I have never had any regrets that I went to a small school like Fourche Valley School, small in terms of students, but one of the larger districts in the state. There were lots of mountains and few people. Two icons of Fourche Valley that quickly come to mind were the Lowes. Mr. Lowe was the superintendent and principal. Normally, dealing with the principal was a negative, and I had lots of dealings. However, in the long run, I realize, he had a way of turning my associations with him into a positive thing. Winnie Lowe, I well remember, had a deep voice that could sound like rolling thunder coming across the room when one messed up, and it could make one shrink down in ones desk, becoming as invisible as possible. But she had a way of teaching us to be the best person we could be. Neither taught me in a classroom very often, except possibly short term. But I remember them so well, it seems like they did. They had three daughters who each became doctors in one form or another, and each is leaving a very large footprint on our country. I am sure genetics were involved, but as I said, just being around Winnie Lowe brought out the very best. One great thing about small schools, we dealt with the entire faculty on a daily basis, and I am a better person for it.My class, the Class of 1962, was made up of twelve students. Nine lived in Fourche Valley, three lived across South Fourche Mountain near Aly and Chula.
     There was no quick and easy route from Aly to Fourche Valley School. Mr. Mabry drove the Aly bus, many miles on rough dirt roads through the mountains. Few from the south side of Fourche Mountain participated in school sports, in those days. Just too far. Too complicated.
     Shelton Dishongh spotted it early. Although my class had a pretty good crop of boys for a basketball team, It was the girls who were awesome. He was our class sponsor in the seventh grade, and he was also the coach. He took us to the gym, one day, and we played, girls vs. boys. The girls beat us like a rented mule. Just wore us out. We boys never quite recovered from that, and it never got better.
     We five boys were the starting team, as seniors, early on, then we began to get a lot of help from the likes of Dobbie Wilson and Lanny Ashlock. We were 16-9, but it was the girls who won the District Tournament, and played in the State Tournament at Parkin. I asked our teacher, Rubye Singleton, single but courting heavily at that time, if she was going to Parkin. She said, "You never know!" I said, " I meant, are you going TO Parkin. Not going Parking."  She flushed bright red. We loved to make her do that.
     Jack Larry Gillum and Monty Dishongh were the ladie's men. Larry started chasing the girl's early, before I even knew "for why."  and, they chased him back. Monty never needed to chase, they chased him. Jackie Aikman didn't seem to think about the ladies much in high school.  Butch Garner was committed to the love of his life early, and never varied. I, myself, I had tons of romantic entanglements in high school. But only in my head. Nobody else ever knew about them.
     Jackie Aikman didn't rag the teachers much. He was very well behaved, compared to the rest of us. But one day in typing, he messed up. Miss Gussie Lofland, already sick of the whole lot of us for the day, set in on Jack. "Jackie Aikman, you're just as bad as the others! You're just sneaky! You're a snake in the grass!" Well, the name "snake" stuck, and he could not shed it. "Snake" Aikman."
    About the time I was ready to go off to college, I began to realize that was a very large crop of "easy to look at" girls coming up, 3 or 4 years back. That was about where my maturity level wound up, anyway. (I spent 25 years teaching ninth and tenth grade students.) Anyway, getting back to the crop. Jackie and Monty later picked a plumb from that crop, as did Butch, early. By the time that fully hit me, (I have always been slow to catch on) I was gone, off to college. If I had stayed in Fourche Valley two more years, I probably would have never left. The love of my life, when I finally found her, was in that age group. Four years younger.

Best Stories of 2011 - Fourche Valley School

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best Stories of 2011 - Number Three

The King Of Fayetteville

The year was 1968 and I had just turned 24. I was flipping through the paper one day when I stopped on a picture of an old man with what looked to me like, at the time, an unbelievable large string of catfish. The caption under the picture was, "Dick Dyer Does It Again!" Seems Dick Dyer was about the best cat fisherman around Fayetteville, Arkansas. I wished I could do that, but it seemed out of my reach.
When I was a kid, growing up in Wing, Arkansas I caught lots of catfish, and we needed them. They sure tasted good, after a diet of salt pork. But they weren't real big. In the early days of Fayetteville, I had access to larger rivers, and I thought more and more about cat fishing.
Well, as it happened, shortly after seeing that newspaper article, my wife Barbara and I moved over to Anderson Place. Would you care to guess who my neighbor, right across the street was? You guessed it. Dick Dyer. I befriended him, I cultivated him, I quizzed him. After a while, Dick's MO began to emerge. I studied his techniques. He even let me go fishing with him, once. Well, he began to see that I could be a competitor somewhere down the line, and Dick dearly relished being the best river catfish catcher around. Maintaining that status consumed his whole life. He pretty well cut me off from any more information.
But I knew enough. I began to catch more and more fish, emulating his methods. Dick was OK with that, he was catching more, and bigger fish. We went along there, him doing a bit better, for several years. Then I slowly began to catch as many fish as he did, and probably about the same in total weight. He still had the largest fish, 16 pounds. Every time he saw me, he told me about that 16 pound catfish.. He never let me forget about that 16 pound catfish..
Barb and I were coming into our last months at Fayetteville. One really deep hole I fished a time or two that spring, with my limb lines probably tied to limbs I know now were too solid, with very little give, just kept breaking. The lines were 120 pound test or so, and I couldn't understand it at the time.
Barbara and I were walking along the river bank, one day in June, on a picnic. I saw two old watermelon rinds lying on the bank, and they were just covered with hundreds of June bugs. I had never heard of anyone using June bugs to catch catfish, but I knew that in the late summer, they often fed by just skimming along the surface, picking up floating bugs and whatever they could find. I had seen them doing that at night. After Barbara had walked on toward the car, I went back, pitched the rinds in the river, and the June bugs all floated up. I just scooped them all up, put them in a paper bag, and stuck them in the car. When we got home, I wrapped them up real tight in a freezer bag, and stuck them way back in the back of the freezer, out of sight. Barbara put no stock in mixing fish bait and food in the freezer. Late in the summer, I was watching TV one day, and I heard Barbara scream. I ran to the kitchen. There she was, the bag in one hand, a handful of June bugs in the other. Seems she had been going through freezer bags to find something to cook, stuck her hand in, and pulled out the June bugs. I caught it pretty good over that. As Barbara settled down some, a little later, I said, “ I've just got time for one more fishin' trip before we move, and no telling when I'll get to fish again. I'll get every one of those June bugs outta' here then.” She agreed. Catch Barbara when she's not screaming with a handful of June bugs, and she's a great gal.
Next week rolled around. I asked John Philpott if he wanted to go with me. Said he guess so, nothing better to do. We went back to that hole, where the White River and the West fork of the White River join, where my lines had been broken last spring. This time, I had a new idea. We were fishing with cane poles, very limber, and we stuck them way, way back in that mud bank. I floated each hook right on top of the water, with a June bug on it. We ran the lines at midnight, and had a couple of ten pounders and a whole passel of smaller catfish. But, right where the two rivers join, that pole was going absolutely crazy! Ever tried to get a lively 25 pound catfish into a small landing net? We finally did. The next morning, we had a couple more ten pounders and another bunch of smaller catfish.. Then, we approached that last pole, right where the two rivers join. The pole was completely pulled out of the bank, but it was still laying there, mostly out of the water. Lying in the water, either just too worn out for one more flip of the tail, or having learned from his struggles that was as far as he could go, was the brother to the last big one. He was also 25 pounds. Well, when I got home, the first thing I did was take them over to Dick Dyer. Dick came out, I held them up as well as I could. Didn't say a thing, I didn't have to. He never said a word to me. Just turned sorta sick looking, turned around, dropped his head, and walked back into the house. We moved to Hannibal, Missouri a couple of days later. I never saw Dick again.
About two weeks after we got to Hannibal, a letter chock-full of pictures arrived. A 40 pound catfish, and a whole bunch in the 20 pound range. The letter just verified the weights, And in the picture an old man was smiling. Smiling right straight out at me. Thats all. Not another word. The return name on the envelope was Dick Dyer.
I knew Dick didn't have my address. But he managed to find it. And I knew he had found my Glory Hole. All I could figure out was, he must have ragged John Philpott into telling him. I was pretty put out by this whole thing for awhile, then after I settled down some, I began to think about it a little differently. I had used Dick's methods, developed through his many years of experience. He used me to locate the Glory hole. Fair's fair.
I've never been back to that Glory Hole, but someday I will. Over the years, I think I've figured it out. There's a dam on the White River, a quarter mile upstream. Catfish naturally swim upstream. Until they're stopped by a dam. The small fish stay there, in that shallow hole at the dam. The big fish must have deep water, and they go back downriver, only as far as they need to, the first very deep hole. Right where the two rivers join. In the Glory Hole. And there they still lie. Year after year, just getting bigger and bigger. Just waiting for me to come back and challenge them again. But Dick Dyer passed away many years ago, and when he died, he was still the King of the Catfish Catchers in Fayetteville---and it just wouldn't be the same. Who else in the world could care as much about the size of the catfish I might catch there as Dick Dyer did? Nobody, thats who.
For all you fishermen out there, I know you can find my Glory hole from what I've told you here. But where will you be able to find a whole bag full of June Bugs?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Best Stories of 2011 - Number four

The Dogs of Wing
      We had no house dogs at Wing, mind you. Any dog of ours unlucky enough to stray indoors quickly caught a broom on the behind to usher them back out. I understood that they lived or died on their own good luck. Money was not spent on dogs if they got sick. But, nevertheless, dogs were a big part of my life at Wing.
     Contact with dogs came early in my memory. Spot was an aging, cancer eaten long haired dog,
nearing the end, faintly recalled in my earliest recollections. Not so faintly recalled is the rifle shot that ended his suffering existence.
Snippy was a short haired, black, chunky feist. He was a fine squirrel dog without a hunter. Harold, my older brother, his hunting partner, had gone off to college. Snippy spent his days, lying in the warm sun, dreaming of days gone by. On cold winter nights, he would jump up through the open crib door of the barn, work his way into the hayloft, and burrow in for the night. One very cold morning, with temperatures hovering near the single digits, I approached the barn. Then I saw him. Snippy lay, curled up in a ball in the snow, frozen solid. Above him was a closed, and latched, crib door.
     Next came Chubby. We just never hit it off. He was my sister Barbara Lou's dog. Very ill tempered around me, he growled when I came around, I picked at him in return, and our relationship deteriorated from there. Even as an old dog, most of his teeth gone, he would attack my shoes in a rage if I ever came near his food bowl.Chubby often liked to visit in the neighborhood, and I assume he was unwelcome. He once came home with a tin can full of gravels attached to his tail. Dad finally got tired with his constant carousing and took him to a man in need of a dog five miles away. The next morning he was home, and he stayed awhile this time. Chubby loved to chase cars, and his hobby eventually led to his undoing.
     My very first dog of my own was Champ. I built Champ a house, painted his name over the door. We wrestled and played, getting closer daily. As Barbara Lou and I rode to the cucumber patch one morning, Champ followed. When we arrived, I said, "Let me out so I can watch after Champ while you turn the truck around." But I was too late. Bumped and knocked off balance by a front wheel, the rear wheel ran over his snout. Champ got up, walked a few steps, looked at me, and I saw the light begin to fade from his eyes. Slowly he fell. I raced to kneel beside Champ, my shaking hand feeling a faint heartbeat ebbing away. It was a long time before the memory of Champ began to ebb away.
     When I first got Tooter, he was an eight week old, part German Shepherd pup. He sported a black and white cross on his chest. I carried him, resting on my forearm, the two miles back to our farm. As Tooter grew, he learned quickly. He became my constant companion, as we hunted, fished, and trapped - or just roamed the bottoms and mountains for the fun of it. He quickly learned to "stand," "heel," or "back up." Once learned, he obeyed perfectly. If I needed help getting up a slick creek bank after looking for mink sign, I had only to say "back up." Tooter backed into position, waited until I grasped his tail, then pulled me up the bank. Tooter was a world class runner, by human standards. Using the "Stand"  command, I timed him at seven seconds flat for the hundred yard dash, eclipsing the world record by two seconds or so - for a man. Tooter saved me many times. One hot summer day, as I walked barefoot down the weed covered lane to fish at Lilly Pad Lake, Tooter was in the heel position. He suddenly jumped ahead of me, then off to one side. Looking down, I saw a large moccasin, coiled and fangs bared, lying where my next step would have taken me.
     Tooter became a good squirrel dog, though not in the normal sense of the term. He did not trail squirrels, but ran, crashing through the underbrush, scaring any self respecting squirrel into movement. His sharp eyes caught the flash of fur, and another squirrel was treed. Once he had him in sight, he would follow as the squirrel jumped from tree to tree. We worked well as a team. While I quietly waited on one side of the tree, Tooter crashed to the other side to turn the squirrel. They were an important source of meat for my family. The only meat we ever ate was either salt pork, an occasional chicken, or meat I hunted of fished for.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Best Stories of 2011 - Part Two

      The job started in the middle of the year. It wasn't until later that I realized it was because they had already lost so many teachers that year. It paid two thousand dollars for the semester, big money to me. It was sort of a bits and pieces job, just fill in where a teacher had been destroyed and quit, where a senior sponsor had been run off, where another just couldn't take it anymore and walked. It didn't seem to matter that the subject matter didn't match my degree, my area of expertise. But really, at that point I had no area of expertise, although I was pretty well convinced I knew it all. I did get one physical education class, in my field, and that actually turned out to be my salvation at St. Paul

      I knew the coach, Billy Max, an old A&M grad himself. He invited me to share his trailer. I went along with him to lots of his games. His senior boys team was very short, no good, and would pass up a layup any day for the glory of gunning a thirty foot shot. Just quite naturally, they won no games that year. His junior boys showed promise, and the girls teams were fair.

      I was nearly out of transportation, having problems with my old Chevy. The fuel pump shut down on me on University Avenue in Little Rock one day, and a cop showed up and helped me get it towed back to a station. Fortunately, my brother Harold, who I had bought the car from for several cows, had saved an old fuel pump in the trunk. Said it would work in a tight. Well, I was in a tight. I had it put on, and Harold was right. It did work in a tight. Long enough for me to get back to the spot where the first one quit, and it quit too.

      As soon as I got a paycheck, I sold it and headed to town to decide between a 1966 Corvair and a 1966 Mustang. Wouldn't you just know it, I picked the Corvair, brand new, two thousand three hundred dollars.

      Teaching went pretty well, everything considered. I had a hard core group of hillbilly boys in my PE class, but I was a hard core hillbilly too. Some of these guys, I knew, were at the forefront in running off teachers, so I put in a little segment on distance running right off. Since I had just come from being a college distance runner, I led them out on a two mile route. They were determined to not let a teacher outdo them in anything physical, and they kept up until they just, one by one, collapsed. They respected physical things much more than teaching ability, fortunately, and we got along OK. One of my boys collapsed to the point that I had to load him up in my car and take him to the doctor in Huntsville, twenty miles away. We were late getting back, he was still pretty much out of it, so I drove him home and milked his goats for him.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Best Stories of 2011

Since May 2011, I have posted 169 stories on my blog. As we near the end of 2012, I have decided to post the five most-read stories from 2011, starting today with the fifth most read story, Meeting her Family and Milking Goats. I have added to or changed some of them, even the name. I hope you enjoy them!
     Barbara and I have spent the last two weeks going over and proofing my book, Spreading Wing. Four hundred pages worth. It should be ready for sale on in America and Europe in December 2012. I hope you enjoy it!

Meeting Her Family and Milking Goats - A two part story

     I met Barbara at the Delta Dip in Dumas, home of the Ding Dong Daddy. I knew immediately I wanted to marry this girl. But, I had this problem. I just could not talk to a girl I really liked. Well, Barbara was so fun, outgoing, bubbly and pretty, she just brought out the real me. I managed to set up a date with her for the next week. The time was January, 1966.

     Following her directions, I headed for Watson Saturday night. I had misgivings. It was a well known fact at A&M, twenty-five miles away, that a young man just did not venture into Watson, alone, after dark. Watson had three or four really bad young dudes, they loved to fight, and they were good at it. I slunk down in the seat as I drove down Main Street, well, actually, THE street. It was dark, but not nearly dark enough. Watson was like an old western town. In fact, at least one old western movie was made there. I couldn't help but remember all the men I had seen die in the street of just such a place, in the movies. Well, I made it through town, breathing easier, and headed for her house, out a winding gravel road three miles through the cotton fields.

     When I arrived, Barbara invited me in. I thought the whole family must be there, but no. I just barely scratched the surface of the Dunnahoe clan that night. Her little sisters, two squirmy little girls, whispered and laughed to each other about how tall I was, how big my hands were, and would you just look at those feet! Her brother, about my age, was there with his wife and baby. The brother, JD, shook my hand and all, but the look in his eye was anything but friendly. It wasn't until years later, I began to piece it all together from his stories. I began to realize, JD was actually the one I had heard stories about at A&M. He was not real big, but he had mastered the art of getting three running steps in and throwing the first punch in a one punch fight. Little did I know, the real danger was not on the streets of Watson, but here, in this house, looking at me hard.
Barbara's dad, I liked immediately. But her mom quickly found things to do in another part of the house when I came in, so I didn't get a chance to really know her that night.

     I was going to Wing one weekend, to see Mom and Dad. Barbara was going to Little Rock that weekend, to see sister Frances. So we set up a date to go to a drive in movie Saturday night.
On Saturday, Mom wanted me to take her to Gravelly to pick up a bunch of cats someone was giving away. They were guaranteed rat catchers, and Mom had a pretty good crop of rats at the cow barn. We did, and they were a wild bunch. I finally got all of them in a tow sack, and we headed home. Halfway there, they somehow got out of the sack, and tore up jack, running all over my clean car all the rest of the way. Well, after I got them delivered to Mom's barn, I cleaned that car up really good for my date with Barbara.

     We were in the middle of the drive in movie, and things were going good. All of a sudden, Barbara sits up real straight, and pointed toward the windshield. "What IS that? Every little bit, I see these little things float by, looks like a cat hair!" "I don't know, Barbara. Sometimes, a fellow just sees little things floating around in your vision. Perfectly normal, they say."

     Barbara told me once about her long school bus rides home every day, and how tired she got of that. The bus gets to within half a mile of her house, then turns off on a very long crooked side road to deliver another bunch of kids, then came back out. Barbara decided one day it would just be simpler if she had the driver just let her off when he made the turn to the side road, and she could walk that last half mile, and it would be a lot quicker. So she did. She was about two hundred yards from home when she heard the bus coming. She had to sprint all out that last two hundred yards. She was not about to let that driver pass her trudging along. The next day, the driver asked her if she wanted to get off at the turn again. "Nah'. I'll just ride with you."

     Barbara and I got to date a few more times, but then student teaching was over, and I was headed to the hills of St. Paul, Arkansas in my 55 Chevy to begin my teaching career.