“There she was, just-a standing over there, singing DO-WA-DIDDY-DIDDY, DUM-DIDDY-DO…”
And, there I was, just minding my own business, tending bar on an early, September Saturday night in my parents’ Supper Club, up there in beautiful, down town Hub City. Up in God’s country.
I had noticed her before.
When she would come over the hill with her parents from their small town about 20 miles to the west, come over to Hub City to eat at their favorite supper club. I hadn’t seen her though, in maybe a year or so, when she was still in high school.
Now, she was in college, at the university, 19 years old, and she had changed.
I was standing behind the bar, and when I heard the juke box start to play, I turned my head to see who was putting the quarters in.
And, there she was.
Standing at the juke box , picking out records.
Tall, slim, shapely, her beautiful blond hair flowing down to her shoulders.
She was a fox!
Dressed in a pretty, fall sweater, and a flowing skirt that came just above her knees, her long, slender legs stretching down to a pair of casual shoes.
Slowly she moved to the music, her body subtle with an air of sureness and confidence.
As she stood there at the juke box, her head was tilted downward to read the song titles, her left hand on top of the ROCK-OLA, her right, resting on her curvy hip.
She pressed a button, then another, and another. The juke box was set to be generous, six plays for a quarter.
She turned her head to the left, glanced at me as I stood fifteen feet away behind the bar, frozen in place, ‘seeing’ her for the very first time.
And then she smiled.
I couldn’t turn away.
Her blue eyes flashed like diamonds, her fine blond hair glistened in the soft lights from above.
With a slow twist of her head, she turned back to the glass to read some more titles.
That was it.
She had me.
In those few stunning seconds, how could I know?
I don’t know how, but I knew.
She had me.
I had never actually spoken to her before, when she would come over with her parents in the past.
Shy? Bashful? That I didn’t talk to her? Perhaps.
Now, I had to. I just had to. Could I say the right things? Or would I screw up?
I stopped what I was doing, walked out from behind the bar, over to where she stood at the ROCK-OLA, and some how said “Hi.”
She turned her head towards me, and said, “Hi,” back.
“I haven’t seen you for awhile. Have you been away to school?”
She responded, “Yes, I just finished my freshman year at the university, and then went to summer school. And now I just started back at classes last week.”
I said, “Neat. I’m a junior there this fall, having transferred from one of the state schools. Maybe I’ll see you around this fall.”
She said, “Yeah, that would be cool.”
Then she went and sat back down with her parents, who had come from the dining room and had taken seats at the other side of the bar, and I think were watching with some amount of amusement, while their daughter talked with one of the sons of the supper club owners.
After having a round of after dinner drinks, which I made for them, she and her parents left for their home.
As I watched her walk out the door, she turned her head for a moment to glance back at me, and smiled that incredible smile again, and then she was gone.
I asked myself, when would I see her again. I had to see her again. Why didn’t I talk with her more? Why? Had I blown it?
I was home for the weekend, with my younger brother, who was assisting with cooking duties back in our supper club’s modern kitchen. He and I had an apartment together in Madison, between the university and the Capitol Square, just one house off State Street, which connected the Square and the U.
He had started Culinary Classes at the nearby Tech College the week before, when I had started university classes. We had an ideal apartment location, just off State Street, close to the U., the theaters, and, of course, the 18-year old bars, where we and others our young age could go and drink when we wanted to.
We drove the 60 miles back home from Madison many of the weekends, to help out at the club, and also to earn gas, food and spending money at school.
After helping out Sunday morning at the club with the Sunday Noon Buffet, my brother and I headed back to Madison in the early afternoon in my car. As we were driving along, about half way back, I casually asked him if he had any plans for the evening.
He responded that, yes, he did sort of have plans, as he had asked a girl to go to a movie Sunday evening, which was located just up the street from our apartment. That sort of surprised me, as I didn’t believe he had anyone special that he was dating then.
I asked who he had invited, and he responded, “Oh, I asked a pretty girl with long blond hair who was at the supper club last night, with her parents.”
CRASH! INTO THE PIT OF MY STOMACH! GASP!
“You did?” I asked, my breath catching in my lungs, my face turning pale, my stomach turning into instant knots!
“Yeah, ” he says, “she and her parents stopped back in the kitchen after they had eaten last night, and talked with Dad and I, and while she and I were kind of off to the side, talking about going to school in Madison, I thought what the heck, I asked her if she would go to a movie with me tonight after I got back, and she said ‘OK.’”
A few minutes went by, and I said, “Oh boy.”
He says, “what’s the matter?”
“Well,” I said, “I’ll tell you the truth; I really have taken a liking to her and was going to ask her out, too.”
Another minute went by.
Then I said, “Would you consider allowing me to take her to the movie tonight, instead of you? I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t mind, as I really do like her.” If memory serves me correctly, I believe there was probably a bit of begging on my part, too.
He was quiet for a minute or two, then said, “That’s ok, you can take her if you want to. I’ll stay home and do some studying I probably should do anyway.”
I thanked him several times, and I think deep down, he just took pity on his big brother, and said to himself, it doesn’t matter that much to him.
So, a couple of hours later, I walked down State Street a block to the dorm where Blond Girl lived, and at 6:30pm, had the desk call her that her movie date was here to pick her up.
When the elevator doors opened and she walked out into the lobby, and over to me, and turned her head inquizitively, a bit surprised, and asked, “What’s going on; I thought your brother was taking me to the movie?”
I responded, “Well, there’s been a change. He and I talked about you on the way back to Madison this afternoon, and when he found out that I would like to take you to the movie, too, he said it was ok with him if I took you out instead. He said he really needed to get some studying done before tomorrow, so, would you mind if I took you to the movie instead…?
As she stood there for a few seconds before speaking, I kind of got the impression she was a bit amused at being popular with both brothers.
Finally, she gave me that smile again like she did at the juke box, and and said, “Sure, why not?
And away we went, and we had a fun evening. Additional dates followed, and three months later, I gave her my fraternity pin.
My brother, although younger by about a year and a half, was truly a “big brother” to me that Sunday, unselfishly sacrificing his date plans, in favor of his brother and his ‘smitten’ heart.
I have been eternally grateful.
Next installment: Blond Girl’s Surprise Birthday Party.