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Rose Petals

Bride's Wearing White: Annie's Story

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Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

September 2, 2016 | 358 views | Post a comment

She Knew What She Wanted

Walking down the stairway after Sunday School that special morning, Annie saw this fine-looking guy standing at the foot of the stairs. She first noticed his beautiful, sparkling eyes. She could tell he was waiting for her to get near enough to speak, and sure enough, he did. It was just a “Hello”, but boy did that “Hello” change her life!

Some years earlier, when Annie was a younger teenager, she had prayed about who God would have picked out for her to marry and spend her life with. She was very particular about what kind of person he should be. She even made a list of all the traits she wanted him to have ~ things they would really have in common. Her list of top priorities included:

he would be a Christian

he would like cattle and want to live in the country

he would like basketball

he would be confident

he would have a good sense of humor

Annie thought about that handsome fellow all Sunday afternoon; and when she arrived at church for Training Union that evening, she asked a friend, Myrle, who that guy was. Myrle had been a member of that church longer than Annie had been, so she was pretty sure Myrle would know him. Annie described him as having big, dazzling eyes and a beautiful smile, and sure enough, Myrle knew exactly who he was. She told Annie his name was James.

“Why, James is a teacher,” Myrle told her, “and his mother is the church organist.”

“Hmmm,” Annie thought. If he’s a teacher, that must mean he’s about 22 ~ you know, first year out of college and all. And Annie was just 16. Nevertheless, Annie said that she’d like to meet him. Annie had been hoping to find a new boyfriend since the one she had liked so much had found himself a new girlfriend months ago. But that’s another story. Since she and Matthew had broken up, Annie had dated several guys. But none of them made her insides quiver or made her to want to go out with them a second time. She had really liked Matthew, so anyone else who came along just didn’t muster up. But now, just maybe this one....

...Charlie said, “This is James. He doesn’t have a girlfriend.” Annie was speechless.

So, following Training Union, the girls all went into the auditorium for the church’s evening service, and as usual, they sat about midway down on the left side. Annie and her friends all settled in and put down their purses about 10-15 minutes before the service began. Then Annie turned around to see if that cute guy, “James, I think Myrle said his name was,” she thought, “just might show up for the evening service.” She looked back several times, and then to her delight there he was, sitting beside another friend, Charlie. Well, he wasn’t sitting right by Charlie; there was a seat between them.

Most churches in those days had theater seats, and there was an empty seat between James and Charlie. Charlie was on the outside, and as she noticed them, Charlie motioned for her to go back there. Okay. Since the services hadn’t yet begun, she hurried to the back, leaving her purse with her friends. Annie walked up to Charlie, and he asked her to sit down. (Oh-my-goodness!) She said, “My things are up there.” But he said not to worry; she could get them later. Well, Annie didn’t want to act too eager, but she sat down in the vacant seat anyway.

Then Charlie said, “This is James. He doesn’t have a girlfriend.”

Annie was speechless. And she was very nervous. But it was clear that this guy was not nervous. He was quite confident. He asked her where she went to school, what grade she was in, and so on. He acted like he’d never heard of her high school, but she later learned he knew about it before she had ever gone there!

Humph! He was just teasing with her. He also asked her if she needed a ride home from church. Well, her mother was supposed to pick her up, but this sounded like a much better offer! So after the services, Annie hurried to the church office to call her mother, but of course she didn’t answer. She had already left.

As she scurried back down the aisle, Annie met Myrle, and she said, “Well, all you have to do is say you want something and you get it!”

Annie hadn’t thought that was true about herself, but she was glad it seemed to be true this time.

Before Annie met back up with James, she went over to where she saw her mother waiting. She told her that she had been offered a ride home from this neat guy she had met in church. For some reason, Annie’s mother let her go. Mrs. Vane and Annie had a close relationship, and she trusted her daughter to make the right choices. So it didn’t seem odd for her to let Annie ride home with this young man she hadn’t met.

Then as they walked down the sidewalk, James asked Annie how old she was. She said proudly, “Sixteen!”

He asked, “How old do you think I am?”

Annie answered smugly, “Twenty-two. James didn’t say otherwise, but Annie learned much later that she had guessed wrong about that.

And then, as they approached his new car, she asked, amazed, “Is this your car?” It was a new, pale green Fairlane Ford, top-of-the-line in 1961!

He replied, “No. It belongs to the finance company.”

“Huh?” Annie thought. She figured out later that that meant the finance company owned the title and he made the payments. “Smarty-pants.” Annie was to learn that James had a quick wit, just like her father’s, and he often made remarks she had to think about to figure out. Of course, she was also young and na´ve.

Once, while waiting for their order at a drive-in restaurant, Annie saw a sign that advertised: ‘Van-Choc-Straw’. She asked James, “What’s ‘Van-Choc-Straw’?”

He said promptly, “Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry.”

“Oh,” she answered, feeling silly. And a few weeks later, when she saw ‘Air-Power’ written on the windshield of a car that was for sale, she asked, “What’s ‘Air-Power’?”

Without a blink, James said, “Kind of like ‘Van-Choc-Straw’.” And that’s all he said. She had to think about that one quite a while before she figured out it meant “Air Conditioning/Power Steering”, not standard features on all cars in those times.

And another time Annie asked James who ‘they’ had voted for, meaning his family. (The election between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy had just taken place, and Kennedy had won!) He answered smugly, “I voted for Nixon.” “Oh.” It hadn’t occurred to Annie that James was old enough to vote himself. Of course SHE wasn’t.

James and Annie had an enjoyable evening that night after church. He drove her a couple miles down the road to a place where he had his horse boarded. She was quite impressed. And on the way she experienced more of his sense of humor. And she learned that James was easy to talk to and listen to. Then he drove her to The Jet Drive-In, a popular place ~ kind of like today’s Sonic ~ and asked her if she liked The Jet. She said “No.” Now that was not the sort of answer a girl should have given, but she was too immature to realize that at the time. She just knew that her wise mother had cautioned her and her friends not to go there. It was near Lackland Air Force Base ~ that’s why it was called the Jet ~ and a lot of service men were known to hang out there. So it wasn’t a good place for young girls. Instead, she said, “I like the Bun ‘N Barrel.” Oh my. Another ‘No-No’. The Bun ‘N Barrel was 20 miles across town! But he took her there. It was obvious that he was enjoying her company!

So they pulled up to this second choice and ordered root beers. They laughed and talked and listened to the radio. Annie was impressed to discover that James enjoyed the Mandolin -- playing western music, just like her daddy did. Not very many guys liked that sort of music in those days. They mostly listened to rock-n-roll, and of course Annie liked that kind too.

Next, they drove around, finding themselves at The Sunken Gardens, near Brackenridge Park. And they parked there! James began to kiss Annie, and he also tried to mess around a little, probably just to see what she would do and what kind of girl she was. In a moment’s time, however, he discovered that kissing was all Annie was willing to do! But she really did like his kisses. The several boys she had dated after Matthew couldn’t kiss like he did; but now James, he knew how to kiss! And his kisses were much better than Matthew’s, and even better than root beer!
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