|A Date To Remember
Gary L. Benton
© Copyright 2003 by Gary L. Benton
Even redneck boys like pretty girls. I remember one evening, back in the late sixties, when my old pal Bill arranged dates for my brother and I. We should have known better. I mean if Bill dated anything like he camped, the evening could very well prove to be fatal. Bill assured me that my date was not really blind, merely a blind date. I was still concerned because with him you had to ask direct questions and hope you hadn't left anything important out. While Bill wouldn't lie to you, if you didn't ask he wouldn't tell. Like most rednecks, he was honest unless cornered, but…
When Bill arrived at our house he was driving his mom's car, which sure beat the hell out of going to town in a hay truck. He had a grin on his face like a cat that had eaten the canary. I should have paid more attention to his face (‘cept he is so ugly, I usually avoid looking at it). His facial expression was sort of like that of a used car salesman ... the "I know and you know this car is a lemon, but you're going to buy it anyway" look.
Since we were going out, we had already washed up down at the crick. Also, we were dressed our best. All three of us had our jeans on, Bubba’s Bait Shop tee shirts, and boots. Bill, of course had his cigarettes rolled up in his right shirtsleeve and Larry had his Skoal can in his right rear jean pocket. I hated smokin’ ‘cause it I choked when I tried it. And snuff was like taking sand into my mouth. No thanks to either. I would wait ‘till we got to town to get my plug of chewin’ tobacco, a real southern gentleman’s choice.
With a grin and a laugh the three of us piled into his mom's car and were soon leaving a trail of settling dust on the old country road toward town. We were to meet the girls at a drive-in theatre in a small nearby town. That meant girls, beer, and a good movie. Onliest thing better would have been a greased pig contest.
On the road, Larry kept asking about the girls (I was more worried about getting beer from Bobby Joe, the town drunk). Now, I had never seen the girls but decided to help Bill out by saying things that were probably true ....about anyone. Things like, they have real nice personalities, they really like drive-in movies, they have good smiles (this one came back to haunt me), they may be sexually active, and so, on and on Bill and I went. When Larry asked Bill about the date he had found for him, Bill told Larry his girl had a smile as big as the Mississippi River. I had double dated with Bill before and he had good taste, so I wasn't very worried. I should have been. Actually, if I had known what I was going to face that night, I would have doubled the beer order from Bobby.
Once in town we went by Bobby’s place and he got us a twelve pack of beer and a couple pouches of chewing tobacco. That and a woman is all a redneck man needs to be happy, ‘less it’s some grits and coffee in the mornings. Bobby took his usual cut, a gallon of wine that cost me two dollars. But, Bobby always did have expensive tastes. We soon had the beer in a metal washtub and all iced down.
Then it was off to the drive-in. At the entrance gate it was two dollars a carload and it made me wish, in a way, that we had brought the whole hay haulin’ crew I worked with. Then again, not that night, we were girl trollin’. We drove around the parking area a short spell and we soon found the girls(?). Bill got out and brought his and my girl over to his car. His girl was very pretty and had a nice shape too. I guess my date was all right, except for the moustache. I was trying to grow a beard at the time but shaved it off later that same evening. Why? Well, I realized it would be years before my facial hair was as good as my dates. I just lost all my motivation. Plus, I found out later that she chewed a bigger wad of ‘bakker than I did.
Bill then took Larry over and introduced him to his date for the evening. That poor boy just looked over at me like a coon dawg that has treed a skunk... that “why me” look. That look was soon followed by a “what in the Sam’s hill do I do now” look. Larry's date had a left thigh that was thicker than his waist. Now, since Larry had agreed to go on this date, he had no choice but to climb in and sit next to Nadine. See, rednecks do whatever they say they will. Larry didn’t drink, so he took no beer with him. I am sure he wished he had though right soon enough.
In less than an hour we were all wrapped up watching some alien creature eating a town up north. Nothing I enjoy more than Japanese monster movies, ‘specially ifn they be a-eatin’ Yankees. Additionally, being a southern gentleman, I shared a beer and my “chew” with my date. I opened my second beer a little later (after looking at her my first one went down quickly) and relaxed a bit. The first beer had kicked in. It was about then that my date leaned over, spit a string of brown juice out the winder, then turned toward me, leaned over, and gave me a stomach turning kiss. I say stomach turning because that is the only way to describe a French kiss by a girl with a beard that is chewing. It was sort of like kissing my uncle Henry would be, I suspect. But, while I thought I had it bad, it was nothing compared to what my brother was going through.
All hell broke loose just as the alien was eating a bus load of tourists ....a scream. A very loud scream. Now, a scream is not really that unusual during a science fiction movie, except this one was real close ...in the next car as a matter of fact. Bill and I scrambled to the car, assuming Larry's overweight date had suffered a fatal heart attack. Larry was probably hoping just that would happen, and soon.
Larry's body was forced up against the car door with his head hanging out the open window. I noticed saliva dripping from the left corner of his open mouth. Nadine was attempting to crawl up on his lap to give him a kiss. She kept calling Larry her “little porcupine”. I knew we had to act fast or my brother would end up being just a greasy spot on the front seat of a ’55 Chevy in a matter of minutes. So, in desperation, I took another drink of beer and thought on it a spell.
Nadine, finally noticing we were there, looked up at me with her lips squeezed together like she had been sucking a lemon. She said simply, "Buzz off creep.” This fine southern woman was the first person to call me this name, but for shore not the last. My ex-wife and her lawyer have almost made it a love term. But, back then I wasn't even sure what creep meant. I worked my chew to the right side of my mouth as I tried to determine if creep was a big town love name. Bill, smarter than he looks, course he would have to be, took a swig of his beer as his brain kicked into overdrive.
"Nadine," he said softly "What are you doing to Larry? He's studying to be a member of the clergy." In the hills most folks will never mess with two thangs, the church and my uncle Henry. She screamed a "disgusting!" and in a flash she was off Larry.
In less than five minutes the other two girls were in her car and only a cloud of dust showed were they used to be. All that remained was a very bad dream. And, of course, us without any women.
"Larry,"Bill said as he took a long swig of his almost empty beer, "What's the matter son? Don't you know big girls can keep ya warm in the winter? I told you she had a big smile." I suspected Bill was mad because now he had to drive home and one beer was his limit. He would have to wait until we got back home now to have another cold one.
I screwed up and laughed at all this and Bill was on me faster than my grandpa would be on an egg suckin' dog. "What are you laughing at? Didn't the bearded lady tickle your fancy?" 'With a disgusted look on his face, he shook his head and got into his momma's car. As he placed both of his hands on the steering wheel he turned to us and said, "Don't you guys know that beauty is only skin deep?"
Larry and I quietly got into the car. As Bill drove out of the parking spot the alien was being fire bombed by the U.S. Air Force and I thought to myself ...“sure as long as your date is good looking, and not the ugly one, all of this skin deep beauty stuff makes sense. If the ugly one is your date, skin deep becomes unacceptable. ‘Sides, I don’t make ‘nough money to keep me and a woman supplied with chewin’ tobacco and razors.”
To this day all it takes for me to get Larry "fired up"
is to ask a simple question Hey burrhead, wanna go see a drive-in movie?“
Usually he'll just walk off mumblin’ bad things to himself about our ancestors,
Nadine, and of course Bill.
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