Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bobby Joe and Me

When I first met him we were in a honky tonk western bar and dance hall. I saw him dancing with some girl and thought, “Boy would I like to dance with him!” He was dancing the jitter- bug, or swing, as some people call it, but there he was, dancing with, probably his girl friend. Anyway I was with someone also and that fixes that! Then the dance ended and he took her back to her seat and he returned to his table where two other guys sat. Oh! He was not with a date. How great is that? But wait, I am with a date, so how do I get around this? Well happy days! My date excused himself to go to the restroom. As soon as the music started again, up I got and trotted over to his table and boldly said, “Would you dance with me?” He looked up, rather surprised and said, “I don’t know if you can follow me or not. I am from New York and I do the “Eastern Swing.” “So?” I thought to myself, but sweetly said, I think I can, but do you want to try? He did not look too happy, but obliged me and we got on the floor to dance. When it ended he said, “that was great, you surprised me. A lot of girls can’t do New York.” Well, I am not a lot of girls, but I did not tell him that. My date came back and said, ”I see you were dancing with Lucky.” I said, “Oh, do you know him?” It was a small place and I guess most everybody knew everyone else. Days later I went back there with a girl friend after work and he was sitting at the end of the bar with some guy. We acknowledge each other, and the jukebox was playing so I again asked him to dance. He declined, saying, “I just got off work and my clothes are dirty and I probably do not smell so good, but can I take a rain check?” That was that until quite some time later. I had talked my two sisters and their husbands into taking me there. This time it was he who came and asked me to dance. It was a slow piece titled “The Twelfth of Never.” This later became “our song” through many years. I was working as a waitress at the Santa Rosa Hotel. One day he just shows up for a cup of coffee. He was excited to show me a Christmas present he had received from the bar. It was a small thin wallet type thing with the bar’s advertisement on it. Oh my gosh, I felt so awful that this was all he was going to get for Christmas and he was so tickled with it. His family was back East and I guess they were not givers or else they did not know his address or whatever. Anyway he was happy so I went along with it and said it was great. He asked for my phone number and also if I would accept a date with him, which I did. He never showed up! After a reasonable time I received a call from someone else I knew wanting to know if I wanted to go to dinner. Yep! I did! We had finished dinner and were back at my house, just sitting and chatting when the phone rang. Good golly miss Molly, it was him. He was all upset and apologetic saying he had lost my phone number and it took him forever to find what he had done with it. He was wondering if I could meet him uptown at a very nice place to have a drink. I cannot remember what kind of an excuse I made to get rid of this guy who owned a flower shop and had brought me a lovely bouquet and dined with me in a very lovely place, but I did it, and when he left I ran and got into my car and was off to have a drink with Lucky! I forgot to tell you that he had this nickname attached to him during World War II when he was supposed to go out on a ship that was sunk by the Japanese, but his last name began with a “Y” and he was too far down the list to get called. Anyway, we met and snuggled ourselves into a booth to talk. He was thirty-one and had never been married. He said he had never met the right girl. I was thirty-five and had been married and had two children. He seemed to be so smitten with me that I said to him, “I bet you would marry me right now if you could.” He said, “Yes, I would. Let’s go get married tonight.” Well we both were excited and headed for home to make plans. It was late at night so we decided to start in the morning and go to Reno. He insisted on sleeping on the couch while I went to my bedroom and bed…alone. I later asked him how come he had not made a pass at me and he said, ”Because I was afraid you would change your mind if I did.” What a guy! Well next morning arrived and a new day dawned and my head became screwed on correctly. Good sense started replacing all that excitement and thoughtless planning that had entered my head last night. I cuddled up next to him on the couch and said, “I can’t marry you, not like this. I do not even know if I love you!” He hates it when I tell this, but tears came to his eyes and he said, ”I knew it. All my life, I have never gotten anything I really wanted.” Well, I tried talking sense to him, but he was so hurt and I am such a ninny to feel sorry for people that I said, “O.K. we’ll do it.” I got a sitter for my boys, and in my old Buick convertible, which we filled up with gas and put anti freeze in,(it was January and snowing in Reno) we took off. Of all the dumb, absolutely, ridiculous decisions I have ever made, this was at the top of the list! One date, and I marry the guy?? Turned out to be one of the smartest moves I ever made. This guy was a jewel, and I was married to him for forty-two years. He adopted both my boys and they adored him. In all those forty-two years, he never missed a day saying he loved me. On our first Christmas I wanted to make it something special for him. I found the old wallet from the bar that he had tucked away in his dresser drawer. I wrapped it up so beautifully and put a note in it telling him this Christmas was going to be different for him.
He said he would like it if I worked three more months and then quit my job to stay home and be a mom to my boys and a wife waiting for him to come home. No problem there. I never worked outside the home again except for doing home parties with a girl friend. I am a hobby person so I did a lot of homemade items and held garage sales for myself and six to eight other girls. I got up every morning at 5:A.M. to fix his breakfast and get him off to work. I did this until he said I should not get up anymore, as he was not hungry that early. By the time he got to the town where he worked he would stop and have a bite with some of the guys before going on in. At the lumber yard where he worked, his job was on the green chain. That is one of the hardest jobs in the mill. They refer to it as pulling the green chain. He was always telling me he wished he could get promoted to one of the big saws. I asked him why he did not try to get one of those jobs. His answer was that in order to do that you had to know arithmetic. Fractions to be exact, and he did not know how to do fractions. He had not finished school. I told him if he would bring home some pieces of lumber and the paper work that went with it, I would teach him fractions. Well, he did just exactly that and we set up a work table in the garage and went to work learning. He explained to me what the order forms meant and I taught him how to do fractions. He was a very quick learner. Long story short, he ended up being one of the top saw operators, and guys would sometime come to him for answers to their orders. He got so he could figure things in his head without pencil and paper. When Bob retired from his job at the lumber mill, I always had my coffee and paper waiting for me in the morning, and he always wiped down my shower walls for me after I had had my shower. Then he would get a little stool we had, and bring it in front of me where I sat in my chair, put my feet up on his lap, and give me the greatest foot massage. This he did every time. In return I fixed his cocktail for him before dinner and brought his coffee and ice cream to him after dinner. We were a team. If we had a difference of opinion at any time we went to sit on the sofa and without raising our voices or becoming angry, we discussed it until it was settled agreeably. I am so blessed to have had those forty-two wonderful years with my Bobby Joe! What we did was not very smart and I would not advise it for anyone else, but it was a blessing for me!