Finding Love at the Piggly Wiggly (reblog)

Who’d have thought a lifelong adventure in love and laughter could have begun at a Piggly Wiggly store? I guess Studly Doright and I had a pig as a matchmaker.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2014/07/30/finding-love-at-the-piggly-wiggly/

I first posted this piece in 2014 and had forgotten about it until a long time friend tagged me on a facebook post that mentioned Piggly Wiggly. I commented on the Facebook post and the author “friended” me. It looks like the pig is still bringing folks together.

Reparations

A friend in Illinois shared on Facebook this week that her young son’s bicycle had been stolen from their front yard. Somehow in their busy day they’d neglected to bring the bike into the garage, and her son’s pride and joy disappeared, most likely forever. I felt her pain.

Many years ago our son’s bike was stolen in much the same way. It was a beautiful blue Diamondback that we’d scrimped and saved for in order to give him exactly what he’d asked for that Christmas. And that kid took great care of his bike. Until one afternoon when he didn’t.

I still remember the anger I felt knowing that someone had come into our yard and in just a few minutes stolen something that had taken us months to save for. Our son was heartbroken. Studly Doright, though, was determined to get that bike back.

We thought he was nuts, of course. Dumas, Texas, was a town of about 19,000 back then. Certainly that bike was parked safely in someone’s garage waiting to be painted or sold to some kid in another town.

Then one Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks after the bike had been stolen Studly and I were in his old pickup truck driving home from mowing lawns. We both had full time jobs, but mowing lawns provided extra cash for purchasing extras like new clothes for the kids and bicycles for Christmas. Money was tight back then.

As we neared our home, a kid on an older bicycle turned down our street, and Studly went on point like a bird dog.

“Those are Jason’s wheels,” he said.

He dropped me off at the house and took off after the kid. I’d seen the bike, a run down rusty banana seat affair, but hadn’t paid attention to the wheels. Studly, though, had been vigilant.

He was gone for a couple of hours, but when Studly returned to the house he had three teenaged boys crowded into the cab of his pickup and a tangle of bicycle parts in the back. I watched from the living room window as he supervised the crew in putting Jason’s bike back together. The lecture he gave them as they worked was one part fatherly and another part mafioso. I have no doubt he made them an offer they’d better not refuse.

Our son received a similarly stern lecture when he arrived home that afternoon, with the bottom line being that he’d better not ever leave that bike outside overnight again. As far as I know, he never did and that bike went with us to North Dakota and beyond.

Getting the bike back felt like a small victory during that period of our lives. Not much was going right for our little family at that time, but Studly turned things around. He’s still doing that, just in different ways. I’m pretty lucky to have him.

Peace, people.

The Best First

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately for those early days of my relationship with Studly Doright. I don’t know if it’s because we’re both in our sixties now, or because our oldest grandkids are near the ages we were when we first fell in love, but something has me in a mood to reflect on how this whole thing started.

We’d begun dating not long after I moved to Dumas in my senior year of high school. Studly worked as a stocker, keeping groceries lined up on grocery shelves at the local Piggly Wiggly, and as a sacker who efficiently packed shoppers’ purchases into bags and then carried those bags to their cars. My dad was his boss and even before I began dating Studly, Daddy would comment on his superior work ethic.

“That Noyes kid works circles around the rest of my crew,” he’d say. (FYI, Studly Doright sometimes answers to the name David Noyes, but don’t tell anyone.) Coming from my dad that was high praise and most likely impacted my feelings for Studly even before I’d gotten to know him.

Our first date was to the homecoming football game in 1974. I can’t remember who our team, the Dumas Demons, played that night, or even if we won. I just recall how comfortable I was with this boy, and that was not the norm for the awkward kid that was me.

When he walked me to the door after the game and kissed me goodnight I knew I was a goner, so perfect was that kiss. Once inside the little house my family was renting I shut the front door and leaned back against it. My mom had been waiting up for me and gave me this look.

“Oh, Mom,” I said. “I think I’m in love.”

I didn’t say those words to Studly until that Christmas, though, and not until after he’d said them to me first. My family had returned to our hometown of Floydada, Texas, to spend the holidays with family. For nearly a week Studly and I had to endure being apart. I’m sure I mooned around like a lovesick puppy, and from accounts from friends, so did he.

As soon as we were reunited he took me to our favorite parking spot in his ’66 Plymouth. We were a little awkwardly sweet at first. His motorcycle helmet was in the seat beside me, and as a goof I put it on. Underneath the protective layer of that helmet I said, “I missed you a lot.”

Studly replied that he’d missed me, too.

“I might like you a little,” I confessed.

“I think I might love you,” he responded.

“Oh! I love you, too,” I said. We most likely kissed after that. I forget.

We’ve been married more than 41 years now. We’ve had some epic fights over four decades. We’ve hurt each other’s feelings and done incredibly stupid things, but on some level we’re still those two teenagers, sitting in that old blue Plymouth shyly declaring our love for each other. Every single day.

Oh, So Young!

This photo of Studly Doright and me literally fell into my lap on Thursday night. I opened a binder and out it tumbled, crudely cropped and slightly faded.

I love this picture so much. It was taken in the spring of 1975 on the night of our junior-senior prom. My mother made the dress, and I felt so pretty in it. Puffy sleeves had that effect on me. Plus, I was so in love I could hardly stand it.

Studly had better hair than I did. At least nowadays I’m ahead of him in that category. You see, I still have hair. I hope I didn’t just say that out loud—he’s sitting right here!

Note the harvest gold pole lamp that almost appears as an appendage on my back. The lamp is an indication that the photo was taken inside my family’s home because Mom was really into harvest gold. Our fridge, stove, washer and dryer were all of the same hue.

I wish I could relive that night one more time, to feel that young and pretty and carefree again. Guess I’ll settle for the next best thing, and kiss this bald guy goodnight. Puffy sleeves might help, too.

Peace, people!

Dumas, Arkansas

  
Studly Doright and I are traveling a new route through Arkansas on our way home from Hereford, Texas. We passed a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Dumas, Arkansas, and I snapped a quick photo. Our romance began in a Piggly Wiggly store in Dumas, Texas, over 42 years ago. 

Reunions

I attended two high schools back in the 70’s: Floydada high school and Dumas high school. Just three hours apart in travel time, but at that point in my life it might as well have been three hundred hours. 

I’d spent all of my school life in Floydada, Texas, population 4,000, until the end of my junior year in high school when my dad switched jobs necessitating a move to Dumas, Texas, population 10,000-ish. Eventually I adjusted to life in the “big city” of Dumas. It was tough, but I made friends and met my Studly there, and graduated from Dumas high school in 1975,  so all’s well that ends well, right?

Fast forward to 2015 and the epic forty year class reunion. I would love to attend the reunion in Dumas, and I’m even going to be in Texas the weekend it takes place. Unfortunately that’s the same weekend the the Doright Family Reunion is scheduled, and I’ll be unable to be in two places at once. 

Floydada’s class of ’75 is planning to meet in Gruene, TX, in October. I’ve already booked my hotel room for that event. After all, these are the grown-up versions of kids I went to school with from kindergarten through my junior year.

I was never “most beautiful” or “most popular,” but I always had a place among my class. And I was probably too busy dealing with my own insecurities to notice those who were more disenfranchised than I was. So I was caught by surprise when a member of the class became angry that she’d been invited to the reunion because she had felt disrespected and unnoticed during our school years.

I wish I’d noticed her more. I wish I’d been nicer, friendlier, more inclusive. I wish I’d known then what I know now–that it doesn’t diminish our own worth when we include others. Who knows how my life might’ve turned out if I’d known that years ago?

To all those who felt they weren’t included, you are loved and valued and I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this years ago.

Peace, people!