The Colonial Bike Ride

So, I never admitted that I impersonated that gentleman’s long lost love. When I heard talk about the crazy guy who kept calling and insisting to talk to Hazel, I just feigned shock and amusement. I was quite content as a member of the Star-Telegram family. I had a good car, more than one dress, and my automatic deposits to my savings account had grown to over $1,000. However, there were two things lacking. It was six years after high school graduation. I regretted the lack of a college education and my biological clock was ticking.

Establishing a place in the work world was a necessity for survival. The job I had always longed for was that of wife and mother. From an early age, I dreamed of prospective children. However, my skill in the romance department seemed to be as awkward as my early typing efforts. There was the guy with the long hair, beard, and fur vest that was taken with me. On one date, we rented a bicycle-built-for-two. He decided we should use that bike to investigate what lay on the other side of the hedges that lined the Trinity River. We trudged down the steep bank and struggled through the ankle deep mud of the river bottom. Once up the opposite bank and through the hedge, we found ourselves on the Colonial Golf Course, covered in mud, with no way out other than back across the river, which was out of the question. Dodging golf balls and avoiding the stares and shouts of golfers, we frantically searched to no avail for a way to the street. We found ourselves near the clubhouse. We paused, focusing on the open door to the lobby. Between us and that door was a lovely tiled patio set with tables adorned in white linen. “Keep peddling, follow me, and don’t look back,” he said. We left mud tracks across the patio as we streaked toward the door. We hopped off the bike, carried it up the stairs and through the lobby of shocked patrons, ran down the stairs to the parking lot, jumped back on the bike and ripped through the parking lot to the street. I looked back at the guys in white aprons that boiled out the front door shaking their fists. I did not wave.

Things with that guy didn’t work out. I also didn’t stay with the guy who told me on the third date that he was married or with the one who told me he was glad I had a good job so he would be free to explore his mind. Finding a real candidate for marriage began to feel like finding a real job but a bit more chaotic.

After Mrs. Koepp and Mr. Terrell retired, Bill Horton and Maggie Floyd were the managing team. Mr. Horton announced that the girls in the classified department would produce and perform a Christmas program. Debbie C. asked for the director job and proudly put together a plan to have all of the guys in outside sales dress as women and do a lingerie fashion show. I told her that the men in lingerie idea would go over about as well as the nude woman birthday cake she presented for Mr. Horton earlier that year. She proceeded with her plan but learned that I was correct. Two days before the show, the details were conveyed to Mr. Horton who responded with “not no, but…,” well, you know. I was approached to come up with a production. “In 48 hours?” I asked. “You can do it” I was told “you make stuff up on the fly all the time.” Never one to back down from a challenge, I agreed. Using the tunes of the songs from Hee-Haw, I wrote lyrics featuring different advertising personalities. We all dressed in overalls and thermal shirts, blacked out teeth, and crazy hats. Paula M.’s husband hurriedly fashioned a fence panel with “Hee Haw” scrawled across the front. The show was a riot. We had to do it twice. Star-Telegram folks from all over the building crowded into the mezzanine to see the Classified Hee Haw. Everybody got to see the show except our new girl, Carla Crow, who stayed on duty to answer the phone.

As 1977 drew to a close, I promised myself I would start “night school” in the coming year. I also hoped to keep seeing the new guy I was dating. The fact that he could barely speak English was just another challenge.

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