I wasn’t anxious to go to the Under 21 Club but as a nineteen-year-old living in a town six times the size of where I grew up and wanting to try the nightlife, I let a co-worker talk me into it.
Sally dropped her toddler off at her babysitter’s and picked me up. We drove across town to a bar that hosted an Under 21 night every Sunday. I’d never been in a bar, never gone “clubbing”, and didn’t realize how out of my element I was. We walked into the upper level and gazed down at all the bobbing heads on the dance floor below. The place was packed with pimply-faced boys and girls who were shaking things I knew I couldn’t shake. We walked down the steps to the middle level where there were tables and seating. Sally knew a couple of girls and we sat with them in a booth.
The lights grew dimmer and the bodies seemed to exude more heat and several pimple-faced boys (I knew they couldn’t be out of high school) asked me to dance. If they were fast dances I agreed because I liked to dance, but if it was a slow dance I declined. I didn’t like the idea of being pressed against a sweaty school boy for the length of the song.
I was glancing around the establishment when a guy stepped out of the crowd on the top layer and stood at the top of the stairs. He was closer to my age, had dark blond curly hair, a thick neck, muscular arms and looked as out of place as I felt. Slipping from the booth and keeping him in sight, I made my way around to the stairs. He was just stepping down to the level I was on when I stopped in front of him.
“Want to dance?” I asked.
I took his wide hand and pulled him out onto the dance floor. I could tell by his stiff movements he didn’t dance much and was a bit reserved. After the dance, I asked him if he wanted to sit with me and Sally. He nodded.
We arrived at the booth and the other girls scattered off to dance. We talked about our rural upbringings, how I more or less came to the club because I was bored and wanted to see what a club was like. He said he was supposed to come with some friends who all bailed at the last minute. He was nineteen also. He worked at a feedlot and had just purchased a semi truck and trailer to haul farm commodities.
Sally returned and said she had to leave, did I want a ride home. I looked at the guy I’d just started visiting with and asked if he could give me a ride home.
“Sure,” he said.
So he and I stayed a little longer, had a slow dance, and chatted some more. When we left the club, he walked me to a dull black 1957 International pick up that smelled like cows and had blue angel hair hanging down from the ceiling. He had to unlock the passenger side and slide across because the driver side door wouldn’t unlock from the outside.
Back at my tri-plex, he came inside and we started kissing. I wasn’t usually a first date kisser but there was something about him that I wasn’t ready to let go of. When his hand wandered under my shirt, I pulled back, and said it was time for him to leave.
He blushed and nodded. I closed the door and figured I’d never see him again. And that made me sad, because we had a lot in common and chemistry.
The next Sunday, I was in my bedroom reading. I heard the doorbell but knew my roommate was expecting company so I continued reading. She walked down the hall to her room and shouted, “It’s for you.”
When I stepped into the living room and saw the guy from the Under 21 Club, I was surprised and very happy. He had his hat in his hand and was grinning like fool.
“I didn’t think I’d see you again,” I said.
“I knew the minute I stepped out the door I’d be back. I just couldn’t get here any sooner.“ He stepped closer to me. “When you pushed me away when I got too frisky, I knew you were the kind of girl I wanted to marry.”
And we’ve been married thirty-four years. He has said someone up above made us both go to that club that night because it was out of both our comfort levels and made me be bold and walk up to him, something I have never done before. And the other irony is I fell hard the year before for a guy whose last name means the same as my husband's last name. I fell, that guy didn't. I had picked the wrong guy the first time. The second one was who I was meant to marry.
Did you know right away you were meant for your significant other?