Hard to believe, but it was as cold around here back in January of '84 as it is now. Or at least we had plenty of cold weather and nights where we had to turn the water off to protect the pipes.
Pete had took my phone number with him when he had left New Year's Day morn. He had to leave early. Said he had to work. Something about "pumping wells". I really only half expected him to ever use that phone number.
But he did. And we started dating regularly. Lord knows it's been awhile and the hows, whys and whens are fuzzy. But I have a collection of memories and snippets from that time. A very vivid one is that Pete was the most consistent man at things like holding my coat for me when I put it on, or helping me off with it, pulling out chairs for me, opening doors for and all of that old school chivalry of anyone I had ever dated. If he ever missed a single time, I can't recall it. So I always felt special and respected when I was with him.
I also recall how at odds Pete's nature was to how he lived. By this I mean he had a childlike joy and thirst for fun in simple things. Like a precious tow-headed boy. But he was actually in his early twenties and had lived a fairly hard, grow-up quick sort of life. The two things made him quite a paradox and I never knew quite what to expect out of him, from him. He might call me on the phone and I might answer just to find playing in my ear "I Can Help" or "Rub it In" by Billy Swan. Or he might surprise me by pulling a teddy bear shaped sucker out of his pocket for me.
We went to pool halls a lot. He liked to shoot pool and was good at it. He really didn't care to dance and hardly ever did. There were songs on the juke box he liked to play. One was George Strait's "You Look So Good in Love". He'd play it and laugh and say he was dedicating it to my ex. That it was what he was saying now. And he liked John Cougar Mellencamp's "Little Pink Houses".
We also went to the woods spotlighting rabbits. The first time he ever took me out for that I really was a little scared at first. He was dressed all in black. And we were too far out and away from any place I had been before. I thought, "Lord, Barbara, what if he's a crazy axe murderer." But it turned out all that got murdered was a rabbit or two and my Justin boots in the briar patches and mud. Every time we went out, I dressed nice.....but I never knew no matter what we started off doing when we'd end up in the woods somewhere.
I was very stern and committed to my promise to myself to make them call, make them pick me up, etc., in the beginning. I remember once we had planned for him to take me to his mama and step-father's for the weekend and he called me and said the clutch in his car had burned up the night before and he couldn't come, please follow my directions and you come here in your car. Well, I told him no, absolutely not! If you want me down there, you'll find a way to come get me. He hung up. I'm sure he simmered and cursed a little. Then he called me back and said "Look, normally, I wouldn't mind at all coming after you. But my car is torn up right now. I could borrow my mama's but I just can't see the point in doing that when YOU have a perfectly good car all of your own." So I thought this over a while and finally relented and drove down there myself. After all, it was clear he was very serious and I also figured maybe being somewhere totally new to me with people I had never met before, to have my own wheels might not be a bad thing. His mama was so kind, so welcoming. Pete had even convinced her to let us both sleep in the room he used when he was there....because he had told her, "she won't give me any, anyhow." LOL Talk about nine shades of red when I found out he had asked and told her that.
But we did. We slept with all our clothes on in that old bed, with the radio on all night long. I don't know how many times it played "I'm Gonna Wake Up in Your Arms Tomorrow" but it seemed like every single hour. (I had never been one to sleep with a radio or TV on, so I didn't sleep much at all. Mostly just lay there in his arms and listened to songs.)
Back to the cold: once Pete and I were about to leave my house and the weather was gonna be below freezing. My stepfather was gone and I told him I had to cut off the water first before we could leave. Pete offered to open up the faucet around back for me and he grabbed hold of the top of the chain link fence that separated the front and back yard, hopping over like guys often do. In about two seconds after his feet hit the ground on the other side, Spot, my stepfather's pit bull got after Pete. And Pete hopped right back over!!
Just little bits and pieces of memories swirling around my head on a very cold January day.