Friday, October 29, 2004

Wonder what ever happened to Bubba?

Wonder what ever happened to Bubba?

My sister recently hopped a plane and visited me here in Corn Capital, USA. It was so much fun. Two sisters staying up late, eating pie and giggling. It was just like the good ole days, except now we have a few more creases on our faces and our jeans don't say Gloria Vanderbilt on the pocket.

We talked about everything. World peace, her new grandson, God and our all time favorite subject... BOYS!

I'm forty and she's thirty-nine and we still found ourselves talking about boys. Boys we used to love, boys we used to hate, boys we love now and all the boys in between. Frankly, there was a lot to talk about. But that's another story.

"Do you ever wonder," she asked grinning like a monkey, "what happened to some of the guys we used to date? What they look like? Who they married? Whether they ever think about us?"

I had to admit that indeed I sometimes do. Whether my wandering thoughts are triggered by a song, or an event or the heavy scent of Musk Oil, I don't know. But once in awhile my brain will travel backwards and I'm suddenly again in the eighties, teasing and spraying my hair and putting on so much black eye liner that I constantly had to shoo away raccoons who mistook me for their mother.

I had two sisters back home in North Carolina and we were all very close in age. Can you imagine how very much my Step-mom and my Dad loved that? We were a big-haired, hormonal trio like no other. If it was male, one or the other of us was interested.

My sister Les, the one who spent the weekend with me, was the youngest. (If you're doing the math, you've figured out that we couldn't possibly all be so close in age. Technically we are step-sisters, but growing up that phrase was never used. It still isn't.) Anyway, Les had a knack for hooking up with whatever boyfriend my other sister Connie and I decided to discard. It wasn't that Les couldn't get her own boyfriends. On the contrary. She was very beautiful and had lots of guys sniffing around her leg. I think it had more to do with getting in a little dig wherever and whenever she could to aggravate her two obnoxious older sisters.

Mission accomplished. It drove us nuts.

Just when we'd finally got rid of a boy for some very legitimate reason, like he chewed with his mouth open or he drove an ugly car, we'd come home from a date with whatever was behind door number two only to find our recently dumped suitor sitting on the couch with Les in a very friendly embrace. Not good.

You see, the thing about ex-boyfriends is this... They fall under the same category as pudding, as far as I'm concerned. I'll explain.

Maybe I've just finished supper and there is pudding for dessert. Now, I like pudding as pudding goes. But, after you've had it for three nights in a row, you get good and tired of it. You hesitate to throw it away, however because who knows what you might want late one night. So, you tuck it behind the cottage cheese and yesterday's pork chops secure in the knowledge that even though you probably will never have a hankering for it again, it'll be there waiting just in case you get a sweet tooth.

I found it highly upsetting to come home from a date and find Les on the couch eating my pudding.

She didn't get them all though. Most just drifted off to the land of Misfit Boyfriends and were never seen or heard from again. Those are the ones about whom I occasionally reminisce.

Let's see now. First and foremost was J. Alan Gettys. How funny that I still remember his first initial. I guess that comes from doodling Mrs. J. Alan Gettys all over my English notebook again and again. Alan was strange and off-beat and completely different than any boy I'd ever known. He had wild, wavy brown hair and listened obsessively to bands like Judas Priest and Motley Crue, all the while writing me long, thirty-two page letters declaring his undying love for me. I loved him awful and dreamed of having his strange, wild-haired babies someday.

But, I wasn't built for long term commitment back then so it wasn't terribly long until my teenaged eye was wandering over to the other side of the fence, where I found Kenny. Kenny Alexander. Every school girl's dream.

The thing about Kenny was that he was quite a bit older than myself. The truth of the matter is, when Kenny and I first noticed one another in a church service, I was just fifteen and he was so not. In fact, he was a grown up guy with a job, a Jeep, and a boat. Whoopee! Jackpot! Kenny was no Jerry Lee Lewis though. He waited until I was officially sixteen to ask me on a date.

He rolled up to my house in his Jeep and opened the door for me so I could hoist myself up. We had made it no more than a mile when he stopped the Jeep, leaned over and kissed me. "I figured we'd get that out of the way right off the bat so we can relax and have a good time". Oddly enough, that maneuver did not relax me as much as he had hoped. Our relationship lasted only a few months. He was looking for a future bride and I was looking for lots of other boys.

Which I soon found. Next in the testosterone conga line was Robbie Jenkins. Robbie was about the sweetest guy in the entire world. He was a farm boy, an outstanding college student and had no vices whatsoever. I swear the worst thing I ever heard him say was, 'darn it'. My Daddy said I dumped him because he was too nice. I'm pretty sure he was right.

And then there was the only boy in the history of my long-legged life that ever broke my heart and dumped me. That's right. I'm forty and have only been dumped once. You just don't forget something like that. It was the kind of devastation that sticks to your ribs.

Jason Cabaniss. The love of my young life. He was quite a bit older than I, which as you are no doubt figuring out was a pattern for me way back when. I was a sophomore in high school and if memory serves me correctly, he was a junior in college.

Jason was purty. That's the best way to sum it up. He was just plain purty. Lots of curly brown hair, a killer smile, and he was also a very talented trumpet player. What more could a teenage girl want?

I was certain that I was someday going to head down the aisle with my very own trumpet player. I have to laugh at myself now. I had no idea what his other interests in life might be. I just figured trumpet playing must pay well, and even if it didn't, we'd live on love. He'd come home every day from a hard day of trumpet blowing at the office and I'd toddle to the door to greet him in my apron carrying a pot roast and one of our 2.5 children.

But, he had other plans.

I'm not sure what happened exactly, but one day he just didn't come home from college for the weekend as planned. Actually, we never did break up officially. As far as I'm concerned, we're still going out. I'm sure Mr. Man doesn't mind.

When he stopped coming around, I flung myself into what can only be described as an epic depression. I cried, I moped and I whined. I'm sure I was the single most annoying girl in the entire state of North Carolina. But, God builds teenage girls to move on so they can date another day and it wasn't too long before I started to heal and notice other boys. And then, just as the daily weeping was beginning to subside...I suffered a horrific set back.

It was my sixteenth birthday. The day I had been waiting for since I first understood what becoming sixteen meant. Driving. Freedom. And in North Carolina, probably my first marriage. My Stepmom, wanting to mark the occasion properly, organized and threw me a surprise birthday party. She called all my friends and because we went to the same church, she called Jason's house to invite his sister. Who knew Jason was home from school that weekend?

She couldn't exclude him. It wouldn't be the Christian thing to do.

I arrived at my party, fully surprised as I was meant to be. There was a cake, tons of food, a DJ, lots of friends. It was awesome. But as I looked around the room at everyone that had come to wish me a happy birthday, there was Jason and what he was holding wasn't wrapped. It was her. The other woman! He had brought his evil college girlfriend to my sixteenth birthday party. It was entirely unpleasant and my sweet sixteen party quickly turned into a pity party. The movie Carrie suddenly made perfect sense to me.

What I should have done was taken my weekly paycheck from Shoney's and hired an old gypsy woman to put a curse on the both of them. What I actually did was smile pretty and force the DJ to keep the strobe light on them while they were dancing. I guess I was hoping she'd have a seizure or something.

I have to admit though, as I've grown older and more insightful I have come to understand why young Southern Baptist teenage girls and college boys can't date for very long. College boys are walking loads of sex hormones who can think only of boobies and paradise by the dash board lights. Conversely, fifteen-year-old Southern Baptist girls are trained to guard their boobies like the gold at Ft. Knox and paradise by the dash board lights is nothing more than a cool song you're proud you know all the words to.

It was doomed from the beginning.

So, yes Sis. I do sometimes dance with the spirits of boyfriends past. Tall ones, short ones, old ones, horn blowing ones and even the ugly one named Bubba my Daddy forced me to go to supper with one Friday night a million years ago. At forty, I'm thankful for all those sweet memories. But I guess even more than that, I'm most thankful I am not addressed in any situation as Mrs. Bubba.

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Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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