Tan pants sideswiped with yin yang mud, my girl, vim and vinegar: vim tips the balance. From the last spill, blackened socks like Cajun pepper sweep by in roller blades. Creamy hands, small and smooth melting into grits in the hands of a dirty, rowdy, pale-faced ruddy neighbor boy who only has only one volume. Like a Letterman's jacket and class ring, she's wearing his roller blades and helmet- he's teaching the novice the trick of glide. They spin by home to show Mom and Dad the fun. Oh, she's never smiled so wide before. A million giddy moments motivated by boys in my youth flash through my mind quicker than a pot of gumbo disappearing into the bellies of famished fisherman. Slipping in the mud of the Kasilof River bank with the Carlson crew painted with gray silt looking like voodoo nightmares but innocent as first act Scarlett O' Hara playing coquettish games of tag, truth or dare the glee of summer romance plows through my mind like a bounteous cotton harvest. Pressing the breaks of my Dad's Toyota 4-Runner with the orange snow sled instead of a fender, scratched with memories of fishing with Dad, the worn Fats Domino cassette tape as much a part of this vehicle as its whistling engine I hail Maggie down, hop from the driver's seat and by golly jumping Jehoshaphat tell her the news I can't keep inside-John just kissed me! Oh, to be in love with a red-headed marine 6 years my senior. The closest thing I'd come to a sage of the sea.
Sunny Carolina, a good southern belle name if I ever heard one laughs with head tipped back and eyes shining like the Ozark River. Sub par, runny nosed buzz cut buddy who's Halloween costume was Dracula chortles an uneven cadence. Obviously quite pleased this debutante finds him to be the most engaging gent of the day. The rogue stranger that turned the noses up of girls who graze cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks at a church stake youth dance turns his old fashioned charm on...in retrospect, identifiable as girl crazy 18 year old fire- stretching his hand toward me. Stuffing the remainder of a chocolate chip doused brownie I take his hand. Jubilantly he leads me on the dance floor with confidence and what I define at the age 16 as sheer manliness. A quick sweep through the floor we runaway to the Primary room where he teaches me the grandest of moves from "Dirty Dancing" complete with the sly, inside of the arm glide transforming into a kiss. Baby, we've got it good. Totally worth being reprimanded by Sister Western for Book of Mormon distance breach.
The yellow four runner being manned by less than man, highly accomplished drummer using his steering wheel and dashboard as a substitute for a drum kit, my date to the upcoming junior prom in two weeks honks for arrival. Going to the movies. My father and mother appalled by his honk and perhaps more disappointed in my skirting to his call like a swine to the suey call.
I ask the little southern belle if she'd like a sweater. Her "Save the Earth" t-shirt mimics her unrestrainable passion for all things great and beautiful. She's living full like eagle soaring o'er the ocean on her t-shirt. Of course she doesn't want a sweater, she's too hot, of course. I smile, knowingly. Besides, would this soul-dampened momma want one more item to wash? My momma comes to mind, her endless questions of what I had done with my friends, with whom I danced with, what part in the play I hoped for remind me of precisely the details I long to know about sweet Sunny Carolina's little escapade with this boy my momma would surely shake her head at.