“Perfect! Let me try it on.” It was still a bit loose but a pair of thick socks should keep my foot from slipping up and down inside. “Steel-tipped even! That should save my toes from John Mark’s admittedly poor dancing technique, eh?” We giggled as June launched the right boot at me from the other side of the mountain of loggers’ footwear.
“Here’s the right boot. You can tell because all the others have black laces but yours are bright red.”
“Now, on to the flannel shirts. Let’s find a red one to match the laces.”
“Nope, first you need the long underwear; I’m sure they come in bright red. Check it out!” June was stretching out a somewhat faded pair of red long-johns, a one-piece, buttons down the front jobbie… complete with a rear flap for those sit-down jobs, you know.
“Hey, no way I’m wearing those! I’ll agree to the thermal undershirt, but can you imagine what a pain it‘d be to work with that flap? Put it back.
Finally, all elements of my outfit for the Foresters Ball had been purchased from the Thriftstore, including a bright red cap with ear flaps. Jewelry? Well, like the outfit, not the typical adornment one would find a lady sporting at a Ball. I had bright red suspenders holding up my worn jeans. For a necklace, I slung a tidy little gadget that appeared to be a combination hatchet and spade over my shoulder. It was dangling there right in front, just above the belly button; or, at least, that’s where it would be before the slow-dancing started. I’d flip it to my back when closeness was preferred, of course.
“Wow, you look terrific!” Okay, so John Mark was pleased with his date’s selections for the evening. His outfit was a great match with mine, too. Mission accomplished. “Uh, there’s just one teenie weenie concern I have, though. Your, uh, er, necklace… is that some kind of a warning… kinda like a fancy keep away sign?” I assured him it was movable and off we went to the Ball.
The Foresters Ball was, indeed, one-of-a-kind and one memory that lasted more than four decades. It was such fun and, probably, the only Ball where the attire was as comfortable for the girls as the guys! It was also returned to the Salvation Army the following week. No need to keep what someone else could actually use.
When Spring Break rolled around, John Mark and I drove over to Hayden Lake to meet the newest member of my family. My older sister had given birth to a beautiful little baby girl February 1st and she was now two months old. Donna, Tom, and Baby Tracy would be visiting her paternal grandparents at their lakeside home; we were invited to come visit. It was a rainy four hours of driving but, otherwise, a pleasant trip. I had lots of fun with the new baby and John Mark, also, seemed comfortable holding her.
Once we were back at the grind of Spring Quarter, I didn’t see John Mark as often because of my early morning work-study job, our class schedules, and my long hours of the various science labs. Our time together was pretty much only on weekends. I enjoyed hanging out with him and our relationship was a comfortable one. We were just friends; or, at least, that’s the way I saw it.
John Mark’s goal for our relationship was not the same as mine, but I was clueless! I was first made aware of this fact in a very public way one bright, sunny Sunday. Certainly, not at all how my little girl dreams had ever anticipated the event!
*Name isn’t the same because I just can’t remember her name, sigh.
****First-Year University: Guys and Surprises… Coming Tomorrow (hopefully)