I asked Meredith to the 7th grade dance. When I was in the 7th grade. Not yesterday.
Meredith had light brown hair and green eyes and wore the most adorable glasses. She was a little shy, and a little bookish, a really good student, and she had a great sense of humor. And because her last name started with an L, we sat next to one another in most of our classes, according to the alphabetical seating chart all of our teachers followed. This gave me a lot of opportunities to talk to Meredith.
She thought I was funny and when she laughed really hard she snorted a little. I loved that! And since I thought/think that a girl snorting when she laughs is waaaay too cute, I tried hard to make her laugh as much as I could. Being shy, she kinda sorta didn’t want to laugh and snort in class, but I couldn’t help myself! And the more she tried to suppress it, well, the worse it got! It was wonderful! She would playfully hit me on the shoulder while she laughed and say, “Stoppppppp-snort-Tonnnny!” It was pure joy for me!
She wasn’t a cheerleader and she didn’t run in the cool popular clique of girls. Think Jan, not Marsha. In fact, most of my buddies didn’t even know who she was. But I thought she was irresistibly cute. I really liked her. And the fact that she thought I was funny, and that she had that sweet laugh, endeared her to me. I couldn’t imagine going to the dance with anyone else.
Even still, I was VERY nervous when I asked Meredith to go with me, and was so relieved when she said yes. It was my first “date!”
The dance was our fall mixer. They called it a “Sock Hop,” but I never knew why. We never actually took our shoes off and hopped around.
The evening of the dance I waited for Meredith in front of the school. When her dad pulled up and she got out, I felt like the luckiest boy in the school. She looked absolutely stunning! She was wearing a dark navy blue dress, almost black, with a small white floral pattern with touches of powder blue in the flowers. I’d never seen her wear that dress to school. As I thought about it, I imagined that she and her mom might have gone out and bought that dress just for the occasion. The dress was more flattering than the clothes she usually wore to school and she looked amazing. I even noticed that her hair was in a different style than usual and that she’d probably spent a long time on it. She looked beautiful!
Me on the other hand, I looked awful. There was nothing particularly special about what I was wearing. And to make matters worse, the dance was held in the school cafeteria where it was very hot in late September. I felt like I was sweating through my shirt and looked horrid. I was very self conscious. But despite how I looked, I thought of myself as a pretty good dancer, for a 13 year old white boy, and was cuttin’ quite a rug once the dance began in the dimly lit cafeteria! Truth is, I probably looked silly and ridiculous. But if I did, Meredith never let on. She seemed to be having fun!
Everything was going just great until the first slow dance.
A SLOW DANCE?? Are you KIDDING ME?? I was terrified. We stood there looking awkward and nervous as the official slow dance music started — “Nights in White Satin” — and other couples started slow dancing. I’d never slow danced in my life! And with me being sweaty and all, I was horrified at the very thought of Meredith wrapping her arms around the sweaty mess I’d become. I was sure she’d be repulsed and pull back, totally grossed out. This made me sweat even more. I could feel my shirt clinging to my back and projectile flop sweat leaping off my forehead like rats abandoning ship. But Meredith didn’t seem to mind and we wrapped ourselves up like fishing worms and started doing that little foot shuffling circle movement that passes for slow dancing. After I quit worrying and fretting, I started to relax and enjoy my first slow dance. This was really fun, I thought, no matter how goofy I looked or how uncomfortable I felt.
Through the crowd of couples slow dancing, I spotted my buddy Ronnie over to my left. He and his date were in the darkest part of the cafeteria … and they were not only slow dancing, they were kissing too! Wow! There they were, making out!! Gosh, that looked pretty fun! I wondered if Meredith wanted to do that too.
Now, I had kissed a few girls by this time. Several of us had played Spin the Bottle in 6th grade so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the whole kissing thing. I weren’t no playah, but I sort of had a general idea how it worked.
So I managed to “dance” us over into that same corner with Ronnie and Becky. There was plenty of song left (Thank you Moody Blues) by the time I got us over to the corner to make my move. So I pulled back, looked at Meredith, calculated the distance from my lips to her’s, tried to allow for wind, lighting, and the phases of the moon, and prepared to move in for “the kiss” … and then … got cold feet and froze. Froze! Meredith — God bless her — waited patiently while I mustered up the courage to close the deal.
Time seemed to pass in slow motion as I attempted to achieve radar lock-on for the guidance to Meredith’s waiting mouth. I knew what to do … but I just … couldn’t … move. I was terrified and started over thinking and over analyzing it all. And the longer I lingered the more awkward it became.
At last I managed to unfreeze myself. Unfortunately at the exact same moment that I finally started to make my “make-out move,” Meredith decided to save the moment and end my embarrassment by resuming the slow dance posture, moving her face toward my shoulder.
The result was that I completely missed her lips and her cheek … and ended up kissing her right ear.
My first school dance … I have a really cute girl who is waiting for me to kiss her … and I totally fowl it up! I kissed her ear. Actually it was a combination of her ear and her hair. Either way, I felt like a complete moron.
“Did you just try to kiss me?” she asked sweetly.
“Uh … no.” I lied unconvincingly.
The rest of the dance went without incident … or a kiss. But we had a really good time anyway. I thought. And the night ended when Meredith’s dad picked her up in front of the school. Ronnie and I stood there as I waved goodbye. I felt like a big goober.
“Did you kiss her?” Ronnie asked, as we waited for his dad to pick us up.
“Yes,” I lied.
A couple of months later, at the Christmas break, Meredith’s family moved from my hometown. I never had a chance to go on another “date” with her. And although I never saw her again, I’ve never forgotten her either.
Timing and opportunity aligned that night at the dance and I blew it. I missed my chance to kiss my first date.
Timing and opportunity are things we’re presented everyday. Maybe not with kissing at a Sock Hop, but with other more meaningful things. More important things. (Is it time to get back in the Stock Market? Maybe so! Is is time to come back to Boot Camp? Absolutely!)
Timing and opportunity.
Sometimes the door of opportunity opens only once. Be prepared to move! The universe rewards action. And even though this was a silly little story about a 13 year old me and a “move” that I never made, opportunities of all kinds are presented to us everyday. Be prepared all the time to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you!
Luck favors the prepared!
How many opportunities have you missed because you were frightened? Or not ready? Or simply moved too slowly? And how many times have you moved quickly on an opportunity and the most amazing things happened?
When opportunity knocks … OPEN THE DOOR and invite her in!
Thanks Meredith, wherever you are! I had a great time!
5K RUN AT CHRIST METHODIST THIS SATURDAY
Ready for a 5K run? Here’s an opportunity!!
Why not run this Saturday at CUMC!? The race begins at 8 AM at the church. You’ll need to register at the church this week, or race morning. Proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Housing Opportunities under the Memphis Leadership Foundation!
Talk to Jan Averwater or James Hanrahan at CUMC Recreation and Athletic Ministries.
PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS
Please keep Teri Trotter and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Teri’s surgery was a success last week and they are preparing for the next step in the process.
We love you Teri!
Congratulations to these AWESOME Boot Campers who ran the Natchez Trace Duathlon (2 mile run, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run) at Natchez Trace State Park this past Sunday! Way to “du” guys!
SPRING HALF MARATHON TRAINING
Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Training for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville on April 25, 2009 (or the Louisville Half Marathon or St. Louis Half Marathon) will continue at 0800 this coming Saturday, 28 March!
We’ll meet at 0800 in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms.
IF IT IS RAINING, MEET AT THE U of M PARKING GARAGE ON ZACH CURLIN
The training schedule is posted on the blog page of our website: http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/
THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES
I try to promote and patronize Boot Campers in their businesses. I am also a member of a business networking group (BNI – Business Networking International) that meets weekly to promote one another’s businesses.
Every week I’ll be introducing you to three businesses, either owned by one of you guys or one of my BNI buddies. Maybe you’re not a business owner, but you work on commission and would like to be mentioned, please send me your info!
Today’s Big Three are:
1. Dana Whitmore (Boot Camper) In-Rel Management — Commercial Office Space Leasing at some cool locations! 901-333-8654, email: email@example.com
2. Anna Haug (Boot Camper) Graphic Systems Incorporated — printing distribution, 901-487-6580.
3. Lynn Street (BNI) Street’s Accounting Service — taxes, bookkeeping, general accounting, 901-759-0359.
What would you do today if fear were not a factor, failure were not an option, and money were not a question?
To your continued good health and fitness,
Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
4888 Southern Ave
Memphis, TN 38117