I wish I had a picture of the outfit.
It would make this entire story so much better.
But you see, this story happened when phones had cords and bangs were high and pants were stirrupped and you went to Olan Mills to get your picture taken.
And besides. No one was really thinking about pictures back then on a cold December night under the stars sitting on the curb in an Oldsmobile Cutlass with duct-taped seats and a jam box blaring out “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
It had been an amazing first date.
But I was young and he was young and I was at a college two hours away and I was leaving to go back.
A hopeless situation.
It all was going to be over before it had had ever even begun.
I paused for a moment with my hand on the door of the Cutlass.
Ready to push it open.
Ready to walk out of his life forever.
Tomorrow I was leaving to go back to Waco to college and he was staying here. Would I see him again? How could I let him know that I liked him? How could I let him know that my heart was racing? How could I let him know that I wanted him to ask me to stay?
I sighed and my shoulders drooped just a little at the overwhelmingness of the situation.
And then through the haze of anguish of disappointment and despair, I heard him ask quietly.
“Do you like Rush? I have concert tickets to go see them in a couple of weeks.”
I drew a blank.
Ummm? A band? A group? Rock? Country? Classical?
I had absolutely positively no idea who they were.
Never heard of them.
But I seized the moment. I went all carpe diem and blurted out without a second thought, “How did you know? I love them. Yes, I do. I…I….I love Rush.”
“Really?” he said in disbelief. “You like Rush?”
“Of course,” I nodded enthusiastically. “They are my favorite band in the whole world.”
We made plans for a second date and a month later he drove two hours to pick me up and bring me back to Dallas for the concert. I counted every minute until I saw him again and planned the perfect go-to-the-concert-with-a-guy-that-I-had-only-been-on-one-date-with-who-was-a-really-good-kisser outfit ready.
I planned it so carefully.
It was a prairie skirt with a concho belt and high-heeled shoes with ruffled socks and a bow puff painted with my name on it.
Classic rock ‘n roll.
And he swept me off my feet and drove me two hours back to the concert arena in his souped-up Cutlass. And I talked and giggled and held his hand and exclaimed how much I loved duct-taped seats because they were bouncy and that it didn’t really matter that the radio was broken because a jam box was so much better anyway because the music was portable and that I was on pins and needles with excitement…
…to see my favorite band Rush.
And before I knew it we were there.
Together we walked into the smoky haze of the concert hall-full of people in leather and chaps with fringe and boots with bandanas and sunglasses looking like they all just rode in from an episode of Knight Rider.
And my bow with my name on it wilted a little.
This was Rush?
I couldn’t understand what they were singing and the music was so loud and the drummers were drumming and the leather booted-people were chanting and swaying and lifting lighters in the hazy darkness.
That’s all it took for me to turn to my future husband and nervously whisper, “This group…..umm…..this isn’t the Rush group I was thinking about. I thought they would sing songs like Achey Breaky heart. I’m really sorry, but I think I was confused. I was thinking about another Rush group.”
To his credit he said nothing.
He just smiled and took my hand and guided me and my prairie skirt back through the haze and the lighters and the leather through the doors of the concert hall, outside where those same stars were twinkling in the night sky.
And kissed me all the way home.
PS The duct-tape seats and the jam boxes and the prairie skirts and the lettered bows are long gone, but sometimes on a quiet night under the stars he pulls out his guitar and strums a little Rush…
…and gives me a concert of my very own. 🙂
PPS These hydrangeas are planted next to the curb where this whole story started.