ONE GIRL’S DATE IS ANOTHER GIRL’S SAVIOR

Birdie and her granddaughter, Cee Cee, were having breakfast on the sunporch. Birdie was drinking her coffee and reached over for The Post & Courier. As always she went straight to the Obits like she had every day since she turned 75. Her father-in-law, Big Reed, use to say, If I don’t see my name in the Obits, then I guess I didn’t die. Maybe, I’m looking for the same thing, she thought. “Oh, my goodness, my old friend, Dr. Milo Davis passed away. He was such a good man, had to be. You know he was the only boy in his family of five sisters. I can tell you those girls made sure he knew how to treat women right. Yes sir-re -bob. He was a real Southern gentleman if there ever was one. Did I ever tell you about the time I had a date to go to our Memminger High School Junior-Senior Prom and Milo rescued me? We had to ask a young man to escort us since we were an all girls school. I absolutely hated doing that. It went against every core in my body. All of my friends were going or I probably would have passed on it, having to ask a boy and all that nonsense. I had been dating a cute basketball player from Bishop England (the Catholic High School in town) one of their finest or so I thought. His name was Sidney McCrary. I finally got up the nerve to ask him to go to the dance with me. After all, we had been dating for about two months. He was as cute as a baby puppy. It took all the courage I had to ask him. I must have dialed his number a hundred times before I actually spoke to him. I would dial and hang up when I heard his voice. Thank goodness there was no caller ID back in those days. I do recall there was a little hesitation in his voice after I finally asked him the big question, but he said yes. I was thrilled. As soon as I hung up the phone, I let out my shrieks of joy. (which Momma called screeching. “Birdie, stop that screeching right this minute.”) Momma made me a beautiful white organdy dress. It was off the shoulders and had a ruffle that went around the top. She hand stiched rhinestones all over it so that it shimmered and caught the light when I moved. I loved that dress with its crinolin and hoop skirts. I wore my sister’s rhinestone jewelry and was feeling like a princess. Momma had piled my long brown sun streaked hair on top of my head and put a rhinestone barrette in it. My cheeks were glowing with self satisfaction of myself. Looking in the mirror at myself, I was all about my vanity. I thought I looked like I had transformed into a princess. “Mr Bishop England Jock” was due to arrive at seven p.m. However, seven p.m. came and went as did seven thirty p.m. I was getting nervous. “ Where was that boy anyway? Surely, he is NOT standing me up.” Momma said, “I told you not to trust those Catholic boys. They can do whatever they want all week then go to confession on Saturday. We Methodists carry it around for a long time until we figure it out and then give it to God and ask for forgiveness.” Tears began to flow down my cheek. Momma and I both heard the doorbell ring at the same time. I thought, “It must be him.” Momma went to the door and there stood Milo Davis and his date, my good friend, Elaine Thomas. They were dressed to go to the dance. Milo looked dashing in his dark blue suit and Elaine wore a gorgeous emerald green gown that matched her eyes. Momma let them come in my room.(which was unbelievable within itself for her to let a boy come into my bedroom. Good heavens, the sky must be falling.) Elaine began to tell me the story. “Milo overheard some of the Bishop England basketball players talking. They bet your date fifty dollars he wouldn’t stand you up. One of his team mates was mad because you hadn’t invited him. Birdie, his family is really poor. They needed that money. I’m sorry, I don’t think he is coming. Milo insists that you go with us. Come on Birdie, it’ll be fun. Show them that you don’t care.” After much pleading from Elaine, Milo and my Momma, I consented to go. But it was Milo’s words that really convinced me. “Birdie, you look way too pretty to stay home and let those losers win. I’ve known you since the first grade and I know you have more fight in you than that.” I think he must’ve remembered that time at Crafts School when he was teasing me at recess and I turned around and bopped him with my penguin lunch box. So I went. Elaine shared Milo with me but after the first dance, the stag line started cutting in. They hadn’t felt threatened by my date since I had none. I danced every dance as the silver ball overhead turned and sparkled in the light. It made the rhinestones on my dress glimmer like moonlight on the ocean. I felt like Cinderella. I hated to hear the band’s refrain, “Good night ladies, good night ladies, good night ladies, we’re going to leave you now.” Everything seemed so magical. It was the best dance I ever attended in High School. One of the stags was a young man that attended Porter Military Academy. He had been bugging me for a date and called me all the time. I was always in the middle of one of my many boy friend relationships when he asked me out. But that night when he asked me if he could escort me home , I agreed. Milo & Elaine were off the hook. Momma said I should just stick to those Methodists boys or maybe a Presbyterian or Episcopalian might be okay for variety. I saw Sidney McCrary a few times after that night. He would cross the street when he saw me coming and look down at the sidewalk. Momma said he probably went to Saturday confession and had already received his absolution from the priest, so he certainly did not need one from me. However, that night was the start of a wonderful friendship with Milo. We shared a bond throughout life. I will always be grateful for Milo Davis. He made what could have been a devastating experience for me turn into a mystical, magical night. I was grateful to his five sisters too. They taught him well. It makes me sad that he won’t be around anymore in case I need a life preserver or more than that, just a good friend. What a good man he was. You know the world knows more than little of its greatest heroes. Milo was a hero to me that night. I made sure that my sons never did that to a girl (Momma would probably say, “We Methodists would never do anything like that. Little did she know). I think I would have grounded them until they were twenty- one if they had. It is the most humiliating experience for a teen-age girl to get stood up. I also encouraged them to do what Milo did, to be a unsung hero. “I sure am going to miss Milo. By the way, he was an Episcopalian. I wonder if my Momma knew that?”

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