What a busy time of the year. School will be out in a few short weeks and Saturday was my daughter’s Senior Prom. Several of her friends gathered at our house decked in their dresses and tuxedos and, of course, mom was busy taking pictures to upload onto Facebook for family and friends. Eventually the three couples left for the canyon park to meet up with the other five couples, with whom they conspired in the rental of a limousine, and another round of picture taking. Their presence put smiles on our faces and on those of our neighbors, one in particular who happened to be out spraying herbicide on the access road.
Our neighbor stopped me and we talked for a short while about how the memories they were creating would last a lifetime. After a while he continued with his attack upon the weeds growing from within the cracked asphalt and I went back into the house to practice my guitar, then start dinner for the three of us who would be dining at home, and try to remember an afternoon when I was seventeen so many years ago.
At the time I was driving a 1953 Ford Pickup that had the power train from a 1957 Corvette installed where once there had been a Straight 8. It was a small block 283, which had been bored out to a 302 when I had the engine rebuilt, with a 2-speed PowerGlide transmission. But, the most distinctive thing about it was the phlegm green Earl Scheib paintjob that inspired my friends to christen my truck The Green Slime. Not too flattering but somewhat apropos.
What I do remember of that late May Saturday afternoon was that I arrived at my date’s house in that ugly pickup dressed in a sky blue tuxedo, white shirt, bow tie, and rented patent leather shoes. I remember my date was wearing a full-length white dress, white shoes, and her brown hair was done up in an appropriate style for this pre-disco era. Of course, I had the requisite orchid and she had a boutonnière for my lapel. I opened the door of my pickup for her in true cavalier style, slid behind the steering wheel, and that’s pretty much where the memory ends. Did we go to the dance? Did something prevent us from creating a memory to last a lifetime that afternoon?
I like to think we went to her prom, had a great time, and someday perhaps I’ll recover that evening from wherever it got lost in the dark gray recesses of my past. Sometimes I do like to joke that I’ve reached that point in my life where I’ve earned the right to manufacture memories as needed and, If something happened to prevent our going out that evening, maybe this would be a good time to fill in the gaps with a little realistic fiction. After all, isn’t that what most memories are anyway?