Stuck in the Mud

Only Sixteen: Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

“Well, kind of like it, right? You’re little and old and have white hair. You’d ‘pass’ for a gran.”
“Oh brother. What?”
“Who was your first boyfriend?”
“Eddy Bayleaf.”
“Was he cute?”
“Cute enough. You know, at sixteen we’re all kind of idiots and at first I was just happy he was blond and looked kind of like a surfer. It was dumb, but that was then. He was very, very nice. He was one of the best boyfriends — maybe the best boyfriend — I ever had. We got along great and he was fun and he loved me.”
“Did you marry him?”
“No. My mom thought Eddy and I were too serious and she made me break up with him. Mistake, I think. But that’s blood under the bridge as your Great-aunt Martha used to say, well, not her, but her friend Allison.”
“How did you meet him?”
“On a mission trip. We went up to Crow Agency Montana to paint the church. It was kind of weird since that’s where my mom was from and the room we used as a dorm was actually her apartment when she was teaching there.”
“Wow. Time kind of bends, doesn’t it?”
“So they say.”
“What else did you do when you were sixteen?”
“I learned to drive, the usual. It was a very classic sixteen for a girl in Colorado, I think. I remember it, but the number, the age, not particularly meaningful particularly as things intensified in the next year or two. Now I see it. The lull before the storm.”
“What did you and Grandpa Eddy do together?”
“Grandpa Eddy? I don’t even know where he is!”
“Yeah, OK whatever, but what did you guys do for fun?”
“He had a little Suzuki motorcycle we rode around on. Your great-gran Helen was always freaking out about helmets so I wore Eddy’s helmet from his soap-box derby days.”
“Not much protection!”
“No, but the bike only weighed about 7 pounds and Eddy was anything but crazy. We liked riding around downtown Colorado Springs on Sunday evenings when the ‘city’ was empty. We also liked going out east of town — where five-hundred million former Californians now live in file-drawers close to their charismatic Christian churches, and kid’s schools and Costco and Lowes. Colofornia.”
“What were you about to say before you went on that rant? Besides, aren’t you going back?”
“Yes, I am, but I’m a Coloradoan. I’ve been in exile for 30 years, that’s all. So, anyways, we used to shoot cans and bottles out at the dump.”
“Wow. That was a date back then?”
“BACK THEN??? That wasn’t all we did. There’s a stream out there — well now it’s all fancified — but back then it was a seasonal stream. We got his jeep stuck. It wasn’t a Jeep, actually. It was a 1948 Willys. Eddy’s dad owned a service station. He bought the kit from the Army surplus. It was shipped out to them and he and Eddy built that Willys. It was great. it’s what I learned to drive, though the my parents did get me driving lessons. Anyway, we got it stuck in that stream. By then I was 17, so that doesn’t count.”
“You got a four wheel drive car stuck in a stream?”
“Not only. We got it out, too.”
“Didn’t you go to proms and stuff?”
“Yeah, we did that. Eddy was a great boyfriend, as I said. He called every evening at 8. He had a job. He was kind, friendly and easy to get along with. He liked me and we had fun. I’d say Eddy is the best memory I have of being sixteen.”

6 thoughts on “Stuck in the Mud

    • Thank you! Good times with Army surplus vehicles are hard to forget. 🙂 I decided against writing about making out in his Dodge Dart in front of my family’s house, upsetting my mom so much she sent out the cat to walk around on the windshield. It was a subtle kind of message…

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