I was an ugly duckling in my school days. I’d love to tell you I blossomed into a beautiful swan, but that would be a lie. I guess I ended up as a plain ol’ hen. Just one more duck in the flock.
But for an ugly duckling in a small town dates were few and far between. There were boys I liked a lot, but no one I felt was “the one.” The big L was evasive, and I had no indication that college would be any better. I was plain and more than a little weird. Not a great combination.
Then my family moved to Dumas, Texas, from Floydada, Texas, just as I began my senior year of high school. The high school was bigger. There was a larger dating pool. I went out with a few young men, but they just didn’t cut it. I might’ve been plain, but I still had standards.
Then, Studly Doright and I met. I’d encountered him on the condiments aisle at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store that my daddy managed and where Studly worked. Later, miracle of miracles, I encountered him outside the physical education locker rooms after second hour. We had P.E. class at the same time; although, boys and girls were segregated into different gyms in those days.
After many days of innocent flirtation, he asked me to attend the homecoming football game, and I accepted. During the first sweet goodnight kiss at the end of our very first date I was caught off guard. I’d tell you that I saw fireworks and that bells rang, but I did not. Instead, I just had this feeling of peace come over me, like I’d found a piece of heaven right then and there.
After the kiss I went inside the house. I closed the front door and leaned against it. Mom was sitting there waiting up for me with a questioning look on her face.
“Mom,” I said. “I think I might be in love.”
She didn’t laugh at me, or tell me I was being silly, or that it was just a first date and too early to know. She just hugged me.
I guess I’d been looking for love, but hadn’t really expected to find it. I sure recognized it when it arrived, though.
Peace and love, people.