Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What made me do it?

It was memories, as Dekard in Blade Runner says, “….memories, you gave them memories.” Those are our guilty parties, the memories that move us or haunt us. If we forget them, are we bound to repeat them? Maybe. But, even if we ignore them, sooner or later, some day when the water is glass and the sun is bright they will surface, like a beacon on the horizon, a speck in the ocean, to be replayed once again.

My memory was of a trip to Texas/OU weekend in the fall of 1962 while attending Monterey High School in Lubbock, Texas. My best friend Jackie Bains and I headed full bore for Dallas in his sweet little 1960 Karmann-Ghia. We had no game tickets because we were after beer and girls and the mythical after-game parties dominating downtown Dallas. The route to Dallas from Lubbock in those days did not follow Interstate Highways so we drove through every little town along the way. On highway 114 in Guthrie we stopped at a restaurant for a quick lunch. It was probably 2 or 3 in the afternoon, way too late for lunch in a small Texas town even on Saturday. The restaurant was empty except for a corner table of ranch hands in Coveralls and Cowboy hats having mid-afternoon coffee. They eyed us when we walked in, two kids from the “big city” of Lubbock. And, it also happened that we were teenagers and naturally paranoid. We immediately thought we had done something wrong, something to offend. Maybe it was our German car, it was the 60’s Texas after all!

We finished our plate lunch specials and were having the dessert of the day when one of the ranchers approached our table. Now we would find out for sure what we had done.

“Where you boys from?”


“Yeah, go to school there?”

“Yeah, we go to Monterey”, we said. By now we were more curious than worried.

“Monterey, it’s a good school. You boys oughta move here.”

Now we really did not know what to make of this one. We were just normal kids, juniors in High School and we lived at home and it was the early 60’s in small town Texas. Not like we had our own condo. We were confused but tried to be polite……..”I’m not sure we could do that. I mean, we live at home with our parents.” It seemed simple enough to us, I guess we thought that would be the end of it.

But he went on to sell the virtues of Guthrie and it’s small friendly high school and friendly townspeople and the great opportunity we would have to make top grades in a smaller school. And, he added, “…you could play football!”.

We commented that we were not jocks and did not play football at Monterey. He looked at us as if we had simply lied to his face.

After a few awkward seconds of silence he set the record straight, “It don’t matter, you boys’re big enough!”

I glanced over at his buddies in the booth and they were all staring at us, as if they were waiting for a signal from their ringleader to crank up the diesel pickups and head for Lubbock to gather up our bedroom furniture while he called the local sheriff.

I felt the need to be a bit more emphatic, “Thanks”, I said, “….but I don’t see how we could do that, what would we say to our parents? But thanks anyway.”

He stared at me for a second, and then, ”Well….you boys think about it, we sure could use a couple more guys to make our Six Man football team this year.” Then he walked back and sat down.

We didn’t feel like hanging around much longer so we quickly finished our dessert, paid the cashier and left the restaurant.

“Jackie,” I said as we got back in the Ghia, “…..what the hell is Six Man football?”

He just stared at me, shook his head and started the car. The resonators had been pulled for our trip and it sounded pretty good for a 40 horse VeeDub motor. Jackie then looked over and smiled, “Lets find some beer”. Then he wound it up through all the gears without taking his foot of the gas but for a split second. “and girls…..”, I added. Highway 114 was pretty much abandoned. Three minutes later we were almost at 55, Dallas would be a while.