‘God doesn’t put that much prep into something that is insignificant.”
— Shannon L. Alder
When the heat gets oppressive like it is these days, I almost always think back to 1980, when we had triple digit temps for 40 straight days, a number which always seems to have biblical implications. Was it the end of the world? Well, obviously not, but it was sure hot enough to feel like it might be.
Here in Little Rock, we are supposed to hit 100 or more the next three days. I told KM we needed to head north, maybe to St. Louis where the forecast is for a chilly 95. She told me I’d need to do better if I wanted her riding shotgun.
Last week we were returning from an 11 day road trip to Montana, where the humidity runs around 19 percent. Remembering those cool nights makes me wonder why I came back so soon to this sauna.
Joke: It’s so hot that Dick Cheney is waterboarding himself.
But back to 1980. A significant year for me, notwithstanding the record heat wave. On August 30 I took a walk down the red-carpeted aisle of St. Andrews Cathedral. After KM and I repeated all our lines back to Father Royce Thomas, as the late-great Reverend Jim Workman (representing my Methodist half) looked on, we kissed, turned, and walked out, at a quicker pace than that which we had entered.
A photo of that young couple was taken at just the right moment to catch my lips form the word, “Whew.”
From there we moved into the back seat of my father’s 1978 black Olds 98, which he no longer needed after his heart had given out back on May 24, a night filled with images I remember clearly to this day, like watching my brother Dean try desperate CPR on him.
Three months later was a happier night, with Dean changing from possible hero to my best man, not to mention chauffeur of the 98. He drove us across the river to the parish hall of Immaculate Conception, where KM had gone through the eighth grade before entering Mount St. Mary’s in the late summer of 1971. At about the same time her future spouse, who she hadn’t yet met, was getting off a bus, not far away at Catholic High.
Little did I know then that the Fates were already weaving their tapestry of our life together, dictating destiny through their belief that our joys and struggles on this earth were to be shared with each other. In any case, they got that right.
I credit the Fates because with the difference in our ages KM could have been easily placed into the class ahead of me. With that December birthday of hers we may never have met. And then there is the issue of me almost not getting into CHS at all. As proof, I have a letter from Father Tribou to my parents, concerning my application and basically saying thanks but no thanks, something about there not being enough room.
But Mom, bless her, was a force of nature in her own right. She called my grandfather, who had among his impressive credentials, a former presidency of Hendrix College. In a letter to Father Tribou (also now in my possession) my grandfather wrote what a fine young man I was and that he was sure I would be a credit to Catholic High (I’m reminded here of the wisdom of George Costanza, who once said to Jerry, “Remember, it’s not a lie, if you believe it.”)
So I got in (“We need the dues!”).
KM and I would formerly meet three years later but it took me another year after that to work up the courage to ask her out on a date.
I’m sure I gave the Fates, fits.
Stay cool out there.