the story of a gentleman and a lady

December 13, 2004

I have a story to tell. It’s been itching to be put to words since yesterday, but waited until this moment due to concerts to perform and a work day to be done. You see, my grandmother turned 77 yesterday, and we celebrated with a meal and a gathering she hosted at their house. She didn’t want anyone to know, before coming, that it was a birthday party and to feel the need to bring gifts as a result, so she just invited her friends for Sunday dinner.

Once everyone was full with a good meal and good fellowship, my grandfather explained to everyone that it was, in fact, an occasion we had gathered for. And then he proceeded to delightfully shock us all, my GramBea and I included.

Now, a couple of things should probably be explained for anyone who does not know my grandparents. They are, by all accounts, adorable. As silly as that may sound, it is the honest truth. I have grown quite accustomed to comments like, “Ooohhh—are you one of Bea & Charley’s grandkids? I just love your grandparents!” . . . “Your PaCharley, he is one special gentleman . . . have I ever told you what he did for my family and I? Oh, we just think the world of he and your grandma both” . . . “How do they ever manage to do all that? You’d think they were spring chickens or something!” . . . You get the picture.

So, imagine a group of seasoned folks, gathered in a cozy Southern living room, celebrating this ever-generous, kind, and Godly couple. My grandfather clears his throat in that soft-spoken manner of his, indicating that he is going to say something important–a man of few words, they are always well-chosen and important, so that ears perk up when he begins to speak . . . “It’s so good to have you all here . . . we are honoured to have such good friends here to celebrate Bea’s birthday with us. I thought I might use this occasion to tell you all how I first met Bea. You see, I actually met her first when she was hitchhiking one day, and I gave her a ride . . .”

PaCharley then proceeded to hold up a 9″ x 13″ photo he had blown up, proudly displaying this black and white print of GramBea by the side of the highway, looking all glamorous–as she always did–in short shorts and a tied-front blouse, one hand on her hip, and one up in the air, with a come-hither look on her face. PaCharley had printed up a caption on the bottom that said, “Goin’ my way?”

GramBea gasped and stammered, “Charley, now that’s not the way it happened at all!!” And the rest of us gasped, and then roared with laughter. After we had time to gather ourselves again, PaCharley passed the photo around, and then did concede that he had perhaps embellished their meeting tale slightly. Now, I just happened to know the real story behind the photo, though no one else did. The truth is they were married at the time, and on a road trip shortly after Mom was born–and they were just goofing off. But, no one ever did get around to asking that, because Pa Charley then told the true story, which is just as interesting, it turns out . . .

PaCharley was working in a friend’s workshop at the time, though officially in the Army, I believe, as he was drafted during the War. At any rate, he had a factory job during which, on day he noticed this “beautiful brunette” walking across the street. After that, he began to see her regularly, as she would walk around running errands during her work day. After a bit, he asked a friend if he knew who she was–he did: “Well, that’s Beatrice Fox!”–who was being courted at the time by one of her suitors, of which I think there were many . . .

Well, after that, PaCharley continued to watch for her–sure enough, he kept seeing her, and he simply could not get her out of his mind. But, he just knew that she was too good for him . . . He kept working, and kept being distracted. So finally one day, he decided he had better just get it over with and ask her on a date, seeing as how he was rather impaired in getting his work done as it was. So, he knew her name, found her number, and called her up. “Uhh . . . Beatrice?” Yes, this is. “My name is Charley Hicks. I work at . . .” Yes, I know who you are.

At that point Pa Charley paused in his story-telling, to explain to us all that he was shocked that she knew who he was. I mean, he had already gotten to 1st base! We laughed. And he continued his story . . .

Then, still on the phone, he asked if she would like to go somewhere sometime. She said yes. And now, he suddenly realized he had a bit of a dilemma. You see, he hadn’t anticipated an acceptance at this point–he thought she would turn him down. So now, Pa Charley was faced with the small issue that, well, he didn’t have a car to take her “somewhere.”

So, Beatrice gave Charley a ride.

And the rest is . . . well, it’s history. My history, eventually . . .


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One Response to “the story of a gentleman and a lady”

  1. […] dear reader: if you so desire, you may read the story as I originally wrote it, by going to this “story of a gentleman and a lady” link from my blog archives. One more note about this evening, however, before I leave you: […]

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