Thursday, April 30, 2015

Small Town Boy

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away...

I remember that song growing up in dinky town Oklahoma. Mostly it played when I was playing games at the arcades. Games like Tempest, Joust, Centipede, Tron and Earthworm Jim. My brother and I would stay at the arcade for hours--drunk with video game fever. In fact, that was what we spent the majority of our after-school money in the 1980s as teenagers.

Sure we were in trouble for other bored teenager stuff like shooting out Stop signs on farmers' properties way out in the country, but that was the extent of our mischief. And the age limit for rifles back then on .22 rifles was 16, where I had a gun rack on my Sonoma pick up truck to display my firearms.

I remember this girl I had a massive crush on, Kathy Osborn, she only stayed a year in school during the oil boom. I met her at the bowling alley where my mother ran a business operating the snack bar, and it too, had a row of video games, where my sister would often reprimand my brother and me for spending all the quarters on making high scores on Galaga and Centipede. As a 17 year old, on my days off from working the snack bar or Hardee's--my brother and I had part time jobs there too, I'd spend my days dreaming of Kathy and how it would feel like to kiss her. My four-eyes coveted her walking the halls, or walking by her locker. My friend, Melisa, bumped me one day at my locker asking "when are you gonna ask Kathy out? Inquiring minds wanna know"

Like who's inquiring minds?
Me, Nancy, Heidi, Tina. You always look at her like your eyes are stuck on her. What's up with that?
Uh...I dunno. She might have a boyfriend.
She doesn't.
How do you know, smartass?
I know for a fact she doesn't.
Yeah, Heidi and Tina have her in Home Ec and they were talking about the guys in gym and they asked Kathy if she was seeing anyone and she said no.
Its your move, bucko. Everett was asking about her too so you got competition.

After Melisa said that, I made my move that afternoon. Kathy walked home from school so I hopped in my "dragon wagon"--a 1974 Vista Cruiser station wagon with glass packs, and asked her if she needed a ride home. We had 2nd hour history and 3rd hour science classes together. We talked a lot in the ten minutes it took to get to her house--I took the long way cuz I "accidentally" kept missing the streets. I asked her out one Saturday night to the drive-in and she said "Yes. I want to see that new Star Wars movie, "Empire Strikes Back".

It was smooth sailing till I realized I worked at Hardee's THAT Saturday night. Had to wrangle up something. I asked my brother to work for me, but he was already on the schedule for that night. I went down the list of friends who worked there...and finally got Mark Rundell to work for me. He was the last kid I'd ever talk to cuz he and I worked different shifts. He asked, "Whaddaya got, a hot date?" I didn't like telling people my business cuz it would be all over the school.

In dinky town nowhere Oklahoma, word gets around fast. I took Kathy to the Show-West drive-in in the next town over which was 15 miles away. All the way there we talked about Star Wars. Kathy was a natural blond, about 5'6, 115 lbs, and we both wore glasses, hers were silver-rimmed while mine were thick black-rimmed birth control glasses.

We became good friends, but I never seemed to have the balls to kiss her or make a move on her. I think the friendship was worth more to me than anything else. She moved away that summer and I never saw her again.

Small town kids....

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