Clyde and Thelma Lout

My friend Dan and his wife raised eight kids. Dan speaks of the foolishness of youth that only age cures. I qualified, and hope a lasting cure finds me soon.

I fell hard for a girl. I’ll call her Sue.

I was too young for such a relationship. Too naïve. Too much a romantic. And too head-strong. Sue was nineteen. And I only sixteen. Just out of eleventh grade. Other factors, not noted here, compounded the issue.

To her credit, Sue did not initiate the romance – nor encourage it. Not strongly. Still, our affections for each other grew. My parents were concerned and advised against the increased times together.   

I was headstrong, but didn’t think so. I was ‘in love’ – and knew so. Not helpful this – in view of mom and dad’s objections. They tried reasoning. I spurned reason. They warned. I dug in. Short of direct surveillance Mom and Dad paid more attention to my movements. So I schemed. I’ll just walk the two miles to her place after lights out. Visit with her awhile and walk back.

My games were short-lived.

Poets say love is blind. I proved them true. By forgetting how visible a horse is.

Jerry, I have one question. It was late afternoon – several weeks into my ruse. My father’s tone was ominous.

I saw Bill tethered today in front of Sue’s grandmother’s place.

I knew I was in for it. How could I have been so dumb? I had secured Bill by his bridle reins to a tree in front of the grandma’s house. Along a route my dad regularly travelled.

You were there, weren’t you? With Sue? By this time I’d become obstinate.

 The accusing edge in his tone angered me. I didn’t reply. Rather (though knowing better) I returned his glare.  My brand of love was moving from blind to idiotic. Dad’s fingers slid along his leather belt. My thoughts went to earlier years. I was ticked off once about mowing the lawn. Though I was outside, dad read my lips through a window of the house as I kicked the grass and silently formed the D*!% word. Memories evoked by his fingering the leather weren’t pleasant.

My seventeenth birthday came and went with little, if any, flourish.

After the latest confrontation my good parents felt more grief than indignation. They prayed. They deliberated. Adults – especially parents – can envision things their strong-willed children if left to themselves, cannot. Unnecessary pain. Needless grief.

Some things call for preventive medicine – extra strength.

The hard decision was made. I was actually thankful to go away. From here – even Sue for awhile. My mom and dad and I had reached an accord.

I boarded the bus.  I’d soon leave for another state. My sister’s home. I glimpsed out toward my mother and father. They both looked glum. Tired. I felt pity. Sadness.

Where will this take me? This time in Denver.

 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,

                       And forsake not your mother’s teaching

For they are a graceful garland for your head

    And pendants for your neck.

                                                                                                                                                              –  Proverbs 1, the Bible.

©2015 Jerry Lout



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