Monday, September 18, 2006

Summer love, con't 3 - Spring '77

By now, my summer of '76 flirtmance with Pete Ramirez has weathered fall, winter, the dawn of a new year, '77, and entered into spring.

I lived for Saturdays. Once in awhile I saw him on a weekday. Thursday was pay day, so my friend Kay Lynette and I would go up to the store after school to pick up our checks.

There was a lot of nodding, smiling, winking and flirting between Pete and me, but our so-called relationship stalled.

I decided what ever comes, comes. For a sixteen year old crazy for a guy, I wrote some profound thoughts. "I just won't worry about it. Can't fix anything if I do. God help!"

Oddly enough, this lesson of patience in love would come into play twelve years later when I met a handsome pastor named Tony Hauck.

One Saturday in April, the store had inventory and in those days, the employees counted. I closed off my register last, which needless to say, ticked me off. I need to be free, out on the floor, wherever he was.

In the middle of counting those tiny packets of Koolaide, (was that five hundred and six or five hundred and seven? Well, I'm not starting over. . . ) I glanced up and he stood at the end of the aisle, watching me.

My heart jumped out of my chest, waved and winked, then sunk back down to my toes. He sauntered down the aisle smiling his wide white smile and started teasing me.

He'd call me ugly or something then ask, "Am I making you mad?"

"No, you can't make me mad," I said, turning my nose in the air.

We joked around a few more minutes, mindful not to be caught by management. They didn't mind our storemance, but kept a close eye on disturbing the help.

Then he drops asked, "Do you need a ride home?"

Typically my best friend Lorena drove me home, but I dumped her in a heartbeat. "Sure."

"Okay, I'm punching out. I'll wait for you outside."

I stared at him. "Are you sure?" Guess I was waiting for the punch line or the change of mind.

"Yes. Hurry."

You never saw a girl count Koolaide so fast. We didn't tell anyone our arrangement. I punched out and ran out to the parking lot.

Pete had the coolest car. A blue with yellow stripe '69 Mach 1 Mustang. However, tonight he was driving his Dad's Cadillac El Dorado.

So we cruised down US 1 to Perrine where I lived.

The house was dark. My parents were in Tallahassee. Little did I know there vist there would change the summer of '77 forever.

"Are you sure it's safe down here?"

I laughed. "Yes." The road was very dark.

"Maybe I could give you a ride home next week, then we could go out."


"Maybe I'll see you later at Don Carters."

"Yeah, Lorena and Dwayne are coming to pick me up."

He smiled. "You really are beautiful, Rachel, you know that?"

Gulp. I do now.

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