Below is a picture of me in 1975. You can compare what I looked like at 16 with what I look like now. I think my nose stayed the same. My parents signed for me to go in to the Air Force when I was 16 and completed basic training at 17. I was happy to get out of a small town and start over. This is a journey in my life based on truth with some fun added for interest. The story spans 30 years of growth between two interesting and adventerous personalities. You will travel from coast to coast and North to South. At 50 years old, life feels comfortable and accomplished. Come go with me and see where I’ve been and how my life has changed.
Mr. Delicious Lives With Me
Meeting Mr. Delicious
It is extremely hot in Arizona and you wear the least you can to live in it. In 1977, they were having a horrible bout of dust storms and blazing hot heat. Wind storms roll across the desert at fast speeds picking up sand and debris as it goes. The city of Phoenix sits down in a valley and is victim to these blinding events. Looking way out over the desert, you can see the wall of dust coming. It’s frightening if you don’t know what’s going to happen when it arrives. It’s also frightening if you have no where to hide from it. This is the kind of day that welcomed me to Williams Air Force Base on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona.
What would normally take maybe 45 minutes to go from the airport in Phoenix to base, turned in to a 2 hour harrowing ride. Having never left North Carolina to travel further than some short trips to see relatives in the surrounding states, I was mortified at this mad swirling wall of dust. I thought my life was over. All I had accomplished was now coming to an end. I glanced at the driver who had yet to say anything. He seemed calm and unaffected by the chaos around us. Was I worrying for no reason. I finally found my voice and ask him if we were going to make it out. He said huh–awww, this is normal ma’am.
As so it was—Every few weeks or days, a dust storm would roll through and leave grit everywhere it had been. You ate that grit for days after the storms passed. It was everywhere. You could shake your rugs, wash your clothes, vacuum every nook and cranny but you would still find grit. I had moved to a hostile land. I didn’t too much care because it was such a pretty place. I enjoyed the Superstition Mountains and watching the farmers flood their fields for the crops. I had come out West to see cowboys, Indians, and a rough and rugged terrain. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a thrilling adventure.
My humble abode was a dorm room shared with another girl who worked on the flight-line. She was never in the room so I had it made. I had the whole place to myself. It was my first place so I set about nesting and fixing it up. I went to the Base Exchange and bought a new bedspread, pillow, matching sheets, and other things to make the room personal. I stocked the fridge with Pepsi cause Southerners only drink Pepsi. I wanted some sweet tea something fierce but they don’t know what that is west of the Smoky Mountains.
I worked the second shift. My hours were from 3 to 11 which is good when you work on a desert. My job was to maintain the equipment on the flight-line that services the aircraft. I’ve never experienced heat of that magnitude. Nobody on the flight-line wore their fatigue shirt. You wore the pants, boots, belt, and hat and tee shirt. The tee shirt was white and really white lit up under the Arizona sun. It was blinding looking out at all the white shirts that looked like busy ants spread out on a sea of concrete. We worked in black boots, green fatigues, and tee shirts. Heat was constantly reflecting off the concrete tarmac. Hot and more hot would describe that job except for the hours after sunset and then it was cold. It would be 120 during the day and 50 at midnight. The body couldn’t adjust and so it just stayed in shock. These were such harsh conditions and took such a toll on my body that my monthly showing of being a woman…stopped. It stopped for about 3 years. I wasn’t complaining.
I was slight build back then. I weighed in at about 120is and am only 5 feet 4 inches. I was blessed with a pretty good figure at that time so wearing a tee shirt drew lots of attention. If you are the only woman that a man sees for days on end, you become a stark raving beauty. Everyone will ask you out. They did but I was picky and refused. I like them all well enough and some were very attractive but nothing clicked. I had my standards set high and I wanted someone who was going to make something of their life. I was not settling for flight-line life indefinitely. I wanted kids, a house, and a future. I didn’t want to return to small town America to hide my head in failure. My only choice would be working in furniture factories and no thank you.
Sandy became a good friend and she played softball professionally for the Williams AFB team. They traveled and won almost every tournament. I soon joined that team and will talk about that in another post. She and I budied around daily. She had already heard about the handsome drop dead delicious man I met last week while at the doctor’s office. I had been for a bout of tennis elbow from wrenching down bolts on big equipment. Most Air Force physicians are located right in the hospital. I was given a prescription for some inflammatory drugs and sent off to the pharmacy to get them filled. I was instructed to go down the hall and take a left at the lights. It was at night so this part of the hospital was dark. Only the doctors office and the pharmacy were lit up.
I left the doctor’s office and traveled down a long hallway clearly seeing the lights brightly shining ahead. The lights approached and upon turning the corner towards those lights, my breathe escaped me and my heart took one of the leaps that tells you your life is about to change. I locked eyes with the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. He was the best example of tall, dark, and handsome I’ve ever seen. He’s Caucasian but keeps a constant tan due to the olive tint to his skin. There he stood with dark eyes, a strong build with broad shoulders, black hair, and a very strong jaw line. Thank the precious Lord for giving it to my children! Our eyes were locked on each other. He had the good senses to ask if he could help me. I said in a tone of pitifulness for I was truly about ready to throw up, can you tell me where the pharmacy is?. He was standing under an In window and beside him was an Out window and there was a row of pill counters behind him. High above the Out and In windows was the word PHARMACY in big bold letters. He said so sweetly with a voice out of testosterone heaven, this is the pharmacy. I was feverish at this point. I felt ill and that I might faint.
He was steady and took my prescription slip. He ask for my phone number. MY PHONE NUMBER! I gave it willingly and then we chatted a bit. I suddenly became aware that I was not dressed to meet Prince Charming. I later learned that yes I was dressed to meet the man of my dreams. Since the age of 16, there has a been a pair of overalls in my existence that has gotten shorter and more ragged with wear. It was loved and cherished. It was comfy and most always was accompanied by a mid-drift cut shirt with a plunging neckline. I was’t trying to be exposed, just comfortable in the blazing heat. Who would think you would be out to meet your future husband. There was me, the bib overalls, mid-drift shirt, and whole North Carolina Daisy Duke attitude metting Mr. Delicious. It would take me a week to eat again.
Poor Sandy heard nothing else but news about the one chance meeting with Mr. Delicious. She heard about his profile, his hands, his ambiance, his manners, his perfectness and then she heard it again. When was the phone going to ring and put me out of this misery?? I gave up and a week went by with no calls. Figuring my future had no Mr. Delicious, me and Sandy went to a base softball game since we had a lot of friends playing on different teams. She thought it would be good for me to get away and get my mind off the ordeal.
We got to the ball field and took our places on the benches. I surveyed the crowd and then the two teams. I noticed that the hospital team was playing the mechanics shop. I knew folks from the mechanics shop but no one from the hospital. OH wait! Who is that at shortstop! My tongue got stuck in my throat and my body started feeling really weird. There was a tingling all over that I couldn’t control. It was him!! And oh my word, he was in ball pants. Mr. Delicious just got more delicious. He was even more grand and there aren’t words to tell you what it did to me. The game was ending and Sandy said maybe he would come over to us. He was walking our way but that’s cause we were seated behind the batter’s box. He had to go that way to get out off the field. His every move was causing my nerves to become super sensitive and when Sandy spoke again, I jumped and yelled in her ear, WHAT! She laughed uncontrollably at me and my fool attitude.
He came closer and closer till he was right in front of me. Never hardly ever have I been at a loss for words. He had to speak first cause Sandy hadn’t been properly introduced. He’s polite and clearly saw what he was doing to me. I found my voice and manners. Sandy this is, oh my gosh what is his name. In my nervousness, I couldn’t think of his name. No last name or first name came to my lips. Somewhere in the far reaches of an overdosed hormonal state, Steve came to me. Sandy this is Steve and Steve this is Sandy. They exchanged pleasantries and he invited us to go out to eat. Everything in me willed Sandy to say no but she was amused and not about to miss out on my idiot behaviour.
Mr. Delicious had an equally delicious Toyota Celica. It was sporty and convinced anyone who had eyeballs that he was cool. I got to sit upfront thank goodness. Sandy was not that mean. We went to Mickie D’s and they ate. I watched and chatted nervously about who knows what. I still need therapy about that night. It was most unpleasant on my self esteem. My knees felt weak and all I could think of was the gorgeous children he would give me. I was almost lactating.
The sporty cool Celica drove us back to base and with all my being a part of me was engineering a way to stay in the car after we dropped Sandy off. She got out and I stayed put. He took the lead and said let’s go for a ride and we drove off leaving Sandy in our passionate dust. We drove and the smell of him and his new car intoxicated me. By now, there were love birds nesting in my naturally curly hair. Seems like we were destined for some place both physically and emotionally. We clicked on a scale not in any page in my life.
When the car started climbing a hill, the curious side took over. Where were we going? A ranger station was ahead with a man inside that winked at me as we payed. Naive is a good word that describes my character. My dating was limited to a few stolen kisses and some romantic attempts by boyfriends of my teen years. Well, I was still a teen but this time a world traveler. I’d been to Texas for basic training, Illinois for technical training, and now Arizona. That was more than three fourths of what the rest of the girls from my home town had experienced. I could handle this! We continued until a breathe taking view arrived and the sun was setting. Little cool car parked at the very end almost pushing us over the edge of the mountain. If I died right now in a car wreck, I’d be happy. This mountain is known as Signal Mountain in Phoenix, AZ. I’m so simple minded that I was enjoying the view and his presence but not in any remote way prepared for what came next. Suddenly aware that he was staring at me and looking like I could have had his kids right there and then, he leaned close to me. He leaned closer to me with every word spoken both his and mine. My conversation wasn’t making any sense and I was choking on my heart that was shoved in to my throat.
His hand went behind my head and those delicious lips kissed me and my toes curled. Never in all my 19years had anything both foreign and domestic affected me in such a way. All my thoughts turned to passion and a desire to be with him for the rest of my life. You might say he was taking advantage of me and clearly he had a lot more confidence than I in these matters. But he was a gentleman and treated me with respect. It’s a good thing someone had control cause it sure wasnt’ going to be me. He still has that affect on me. It’s just chemistry. After a few good trips to the lips, we went back down the mountain. I was surprised there hadn’t actually been fireworks that night cause it sure passed my field of vision not once but numerous times.
We’ll continue this story another day. I gotta go get ready for him to come home from work. Where is my favorite shirt and his favorite perfume? Oh, his name isn’t Steve or anything even close to Steve. He let me call him Steve for two weeks before he told me his real name. He has a very dry sense of humor. I love it.