Use Your Imagination


I just heard on the radio that 1400 people are moving to Texas every day!  I say to these folks…Welcome, come live in the only state that has a balanced budget and a couple of billion in reserve.  We wish you success and encourage you to work and use your talents to get ahead in your endeavors, BUT…don’t start telling us how to run our state.

Here is a flashback to share: (The facts of this story may be a little jumbled, but it actually happened!) It was a June Friday night in the small Texas town of Pampa.  Three friends, Culpepper, McIlvain, and Griffin are sitting in their autos side by side… Cro (Bill) Culpepper in his 1948 black 4-door Plymouth; PJ (E Jay) McIlvain in his white, 4-door 1941 Pontiac with blue fender skirts; and the Zeker (Gary) Griffin is in his 1938 black 2-door Ford Coup, with painted white wall tires.  Is that cool or what?

We are visiting with one another at Caldwell’s Drive-In with our dates.  Cro, who is a 6’3” Harvester football player, with his date Nicki Lewter, a 4’11” twig-shaped beauty; PJ, at 6’3”, a PHS forward basketball player, with Anita Wedgeworth, who is around 5’5” Miss Personality; and me, clocking in at 6’4” center for PHS basketball team, with the tall, and shapely Johnnie Lee Smith, the first Miss Pampa in the Texas Miss America contest (it’s our 3rd date).  Each couple had a tray hooked to the driver’s side window with drinks and fries. 

We had done the drag a few times, did a little racing from one light to the next, and now we’re bored.  So, it’s time to put our heads together and think of something to do…ah, the POWER OF CREATIVITY.  Ah-Ha!  My brain is working fast and furious!  I told everyone to get into Cro’s car, the largest of the three with the lovely bench seats.  PJ and I moved our cars behind the building and joined the others.  Six people in a 4-door sedan…can’t be done in today’s sedans!  I get behind the wheel, and we start moseying down Hobart Street.  Everyone must close their eyes (except the driver) and not peek. The driver has five minutes to try and get the others lost.  Then, stop the car, and everyone, still with all eyes closed, gets a guess as to where we are in town.  Each one must tell where they think we are before opening their eyes.  We do this several times, even switching drivers. The person with the most right guesses wins an order of a shrimp basket when we go back to Caldwell’s, which is shared by all. 

I remember when PJ took us behind the Sunshine Dairy at the end of Foster Street.  He stopped in the parking lot with all the milk delivery trucks, and not one of us guessed right on that one!

Now, another trip was when Cro took us to the cemetery, with a visit from the groundskeeper knocking on the window and scaring the whole bunch of us to death! Our first reaction was to scream, thinking it was one of the local residential spooks saying hello!  Much fun!!  This became a very popular game that spread throughout PHS high school.  The groundkeeper asked us to leave, and we were happy to do so!

Oh, by the way, Johnnie told me five years later that she went home that night and told her mom, “I’ve decided I am going to marry Gary Griffin.”  Her mom replied, “Does he know it?”  “Nope!” 

I’ve often thought about that statement!  Like, what did she do differently? Are there “rules” for girls or a “proven strategy?”  Are there certain things to say or do??  I’ve racked my brain over situations and conversations that we had. Still, nothing jumped out at me, so, I decided that she had all the things I was looking for in a mate…we both liked to laugh a lot, we agreed on just about everything, and our Christian faith was an essential part of our lives, and she was tall and gorgeous! 

She is still my honey after 55 years (this is 2014)!  When I ask her why she married me, she says, “You were tall and good-looking, sweet and considerate, and you loved me.”  I can live with that!

Ahhh…Those were the days!