There had been a rape in one of the parking structures so it had been mandated, by Security, that all female employees that worked late would be escorted to their cars.
The man that escorted me that night in 1984 had a southern accent, a ready laugh, and an easy manner. That short walk to my car started one of the most loyal, loving, and durable friendships that I have ever had.
It didn’t take any time at all for us to discover that we had TWO very ‘strong similarities’. We both love to laugh and we both love to eat fish. We have eaten fish in some of the best restaurants in the area. But the most ’fish eating’ fun we have had is on the pier. We order our fish then find a table situated so that we can watch the flow of people, smell the salt water, and chat with the fisherman. Once a pelican landed on our table and decided that he needed the fish more then we did. We gladly let him have what we thought was his share and laughed as he demanded more. We watched a bride in her white gown and veil run down the pier as her groom chased her. We watched two men have a fist fight then put their arms around each other and continue their walk. And through it all we have feasted on fish and laughed ourselves silly. Once a young man asked us what was so funny, and when I said I wasn’t real certain he started laughing too. And the three of us sat there and laughed at our joy of just being there at that particular time.
One weekend I invited him to go to Big Bear with me. My parents lived on top of the mountain. He loved my mother’s cooking and my father‘s willingness to show him how to do things he had never done before. It was winter and my father warned Scott to bring chains “just in case”.
As we were heading up the mountain it began to snow. Scott is from Georgia ... he had never driven in the snow. As we slowly progressed up the hill the snowfall got heavier. It was absolutely beautiful, but I could see that it frightened Scott. When we went around a curve we saw three or four cars pulled off to the side. Men were standing in a little huddle trying to decide if chains were needed. Scott pulled over and joined the parked cars, but he sat there totally perplexed. He had chains, but neither one of us knew how to put them on. The giggle started in my throat, but I restrained myself. Scott was seriously worried.
Eventually he opened the car door and stepped out into the falling snow. He opened the trunk and pulled out the chains, but that was as far as his knowledge went. My giggle was threatening to escape, but I imagined that I looked like the model of restraint. He stood there and I could see the moment when his worry overrode his embarrassment. He slowly approached the small group of men and pointed to his car. One of the older men came walking back with him and as they passed the passenger side of the car Scott gestured for me to roll down my window. “Don’t you dare start laughing. This snow is serious s*^t,” he whispered.”
That did it. All restraint was gone. I started laughing. The snow was coming down, but it wasn’t coming down that hard.
The kind man showed Scott how to put the chains on, but every once in a while Scott would come over to peer in the window to see if I was taking this ’life or death’ situation seriously. And the more he did that the funnier the situation became to me.
When he climbed back into the car he silently crossed himself, blew on his hands, and gave me a dirty look. We made it to the top of the mountain safely only to find it wasn‘t snowing there. That is when HE started laughing.
The other day I heard him telling that story to John...
“It was a BLIZZARD, John. A BLIZZARD! And you know what she did? Exactly what she’s doing now. Laughing. Laughing, John. She was doing that laugh of hers right in the middle of a BLIZZARD.”
And then he laughed as long and as loud as I had the day it happened.
The other day he called me and said that he had a story to tell me, but I wasn’t supposed to laugh. It seems he had gotten up really early. He showered and shaved and got his cat fed. Then he set about making the house look clean and beautiful. Then he sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.
The insurance man was supposed to be there at 11:00. It was after 12 and Scott headed for the telephone to voice his anger. On the way to the phone he caught a look at his calendar and there, sure enough, in Wednesday’s square he had written “Insurance Man”. The problem was he had been waiting, and waiting on Tuesday!
As I laughed I said, “You’re getting old. Your memory’s beginning to fade. You didn’t even remember to read the calendar that you use to remember.”
He laughed and said, “I was afraid you’d say that,” And I thought to myself ...
“It looks like we have been friends so long that we now have THREE very ‘strong similarities‘!”