FIRST DATE by
as far back as I can remember and until I reached my early teens I was terribly
shy around girls. I suppose it might have had something to do with the fact that
I grew up with only a male sibling, my brother Sam. I didn't know how to act around
girls. I would break into a cold sweat when one of them showed an interest in
me. I was flattered, naturally, but I just didn't know how to handle it. So rather
than face the problem I always tried to avoid it.|
I was probably about
12 when we were visiting my grownup half-brother J. P. Lester, Jr. and his family
in Wink, Texas. I always idolized him because of his glib way of talking and his
confident air of authority. Where ever he went he was the center of attention,
not only because of his personality but also because of what everyone called his
"good looks". I wanted to grow up to be just like him. So when he asked me to
do him a favor I eagerly agreed. However, when I found out what he wanted me to
do I wasn't so enthusiastic. Some of his friends had dropped by to visit and they
had a daughter about my age. We were the only kids in the house and he was afraid
that we might get bored around all the adults. J.P. asked me to take the young
lady to the movies while the big folks visited. I couldn't have been more frightened
if he had asked me to escort a mountain lion.
The girl seemed to be excited
and very pleased at the prospect of our being together for the afternoon. I tried
to think of any excuse to get out of it but nothing came to me. My father gave
me the money for the show and sent us on our way. The poor girl tried to make
idle conversation as we strolled the to the "picture show". Looking back on it
I now realize it was an awkward situation for her too. I couldn't think of anything
to contribute to the conversation. The few blocks' walk seemed like miles and
I was getting more nervous with each step. I wondered, if it was this difficult
in the first few minutes what would it be like sitting through a two hour movie.
we arrived at the theater. We paused to look at the marquee above the entrance.
Eureka! It dawned on me how to get out of this terrifying experience. I announced,
with my best act of great disappointment, that I had already seen the film. I'll
never forget her look of rejection as she glanced back one last time and disappeared
through doors alone.
On the walk back to the house I felt a great sense
of relief and elation. I had avoided one of the most frightening experiences of
My sense of victory was short-lived. As soon as I entered the
house and saw the expressions on the faces of the grown ups I knew I was in deep
trouble. They wanted to know why I had returned alone. No amount of explaining
seemed to help. At the time I couldn't comprehend why they were so upset with
I guess it was years later when it finally dawned on me what the poor
girl must have gone through that day at the theater. Many times I have wished
that I could have lived the day over again and corrected my thoughtless behavior.
I then realized that this sort of thing could have a lasting effect on a young
girl's ego. I'd like to live with the thought that the experience quickly faded
from her memory.
I sincerely hope so.