I am learning so much about my parents in their younger years only now, and surprisingly, a lot of the information comes from the kids.
The latest installation of the adventures of my parents was when they actually had adventures. Oklahoma, winter of 1972. Winter in the Midwest is something to behold. There is nothing to block the winds and the precipitation feels like bug bites on your skin, even the snow. It hurts, to be sure. There is ice everywhere, the wind trying to blow you to Kansas, and God only knows what’s falling from the sky at each different hour. You actually have to lean into the wind to stand. Notice I don’t live in Oklahoma anymore, but I digress.
My father and mother always say they met “by accident,” and they did. They were both at a little honky-tonk off of Route 66 with friends. My father’s group decided to depart first, and when my father got into his car to wedge it out of the small parking lot, he ran over my mother’s car. That was their first encounter. My father was smitten, my mother was less enthusiastic about the “southern hick” who had just banged up her car, but my father was tenacious, and thank goodness for that!
He finally wooed her with flowers. Daisies, as a matter of fact; they are my mother’s favorite flower. Then she was smitten as well, and together they became… smut, I guess?
My mother came fully equipped with two little girls from her first marriage, two and a half years apart and cute as buttons. She was understandably slow to introduce her girls to her new beau until she was sure. Then, disaster and serendipity struck. Lo and behold, there was an ice storm in Nowheresville, Oklahoma. My mother’s power went out and it was bitingly cold. As fate would have it, my father still had power and most importantly- heat. He cordially invited them all to stay at his apartment so they wouldn’t freeze their ‘patookuses’ off, as my mother says. This sounded like a fine idea on the surface, but it came with a catch; whatever they would be using over the next few days, they had to bring with them, down to plates and silverware. WHAT?! You see, unbeknownst to the rest of the Oklahoman population, my father was the quintessential fresh-out-of-the-Army bachelor. The man had no style and he was a minimalist, at best.
It wasn’t that he didn’t have these things, it’s just that he only had one. One of everything; one towel, one fork, one spoon, one washcloth, pillow - just everything. He was a bachelor. Why did he need more than one? I’m not even sure he had more than a twin bed, to be honest. I’m sure the place was barren of pictures and knick-knacks. His tastes in the color palette lean toward tacky, at best. Think about that for a second. This is 1972 and my daddy was tacky. Lordy, mercy.
At any rate, my mom decided he really wasn’t all that bad, so the rest is pretty much history. I shudder to think of what would have happened to my poor father if my mother hadn’t come along fully equipped with a house with stuff in it, and two little girls already. My father may have felt only one was necessary. Interesting fact for another story, that family of four grew to a family of seven. They overshot their goal.
Dr. Seuss said it best:
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
My parents are still weird after all these years.
Lori Cameron has lived in Henry County for 22 years, except when she took a brief hiatus and then came to her senses and came home. She has loved to write stories and keep diaries since she learned to write, and finds inspiration in the things around her. Lewis Grizzard is her favorite author and hopes one day to hold a candle to him.