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Sweet memories
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I was driving between Covington and Rockdale the other day and listening to one of the “oldies” stations when the song “Moon River” played, which got me reminiscing about my first date.

I grew up in Annapolis, Md., where I had attended St. Mary’s grade and high school until I went to good old Annapolis High when I was a junior. It was a pretty sheltered life for me until I was about 16. I didn’t know anything about kissing and holding hands except what I had learned in the eighth grade in the broom closet with Maggie during spin-the-bottle. By the time I was in 10th grade, I was determined to know a little bit more about girls.

In my quest for learning during my 10th-grade year; I decided to ask a real girl to Homecoming. I had my eye on this new girl in school with blonde hair, brown eyes, the perfect set of braces and a very nice smile. I think she actually even flirted with me from time to time. I saved my money and bought her an ice cream bar every Friday, regular as clockwork.

So during the week before the big dance, I built my nerve up, bought her an ice cream bar and asked her to go to the Homecoming dance with me. After she ate the ice cream bar, she consented to go as my date.

Her name was Bitsy, and it didn’t matter one hoot to me that she was about 6 foot 2 inches and I was about 5 foot 5 inches. She was just perfect for my first “conquest.”

The week of Homecoming was also exam week; we usually took one exam a day and were off the rest of the day.So my dear Bitsy and I decided to go to the movies.

My best friend at that time was a girl named Marie, and we had been pals since the fourth grade. Her date was the star football player. We agreed to double date.

After one of our early exams the four of us went to the only movie house in town. The movie playing was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I wouldn’t have cared if “Pinocchio” was playing. We bought our popcorn and lemonade, settled ourselves appropriately in the very back row of the theater, and I prepared myself to get my first real kiss.

It didn’t quite work out the way I had planned.

I spent a great deal of the movie trying to build my nerve to put my arm around Bitsy. I actually was sweating.

I looked over at my life long pal, Marie, and realized that somewhere along the line, she had learned a lot of things she hadn’t shared with me.

I had just about maneuvered myself into position to place my arm around dear Bitsy, when the song “Moon River” began to play. This was just what I needed to make my final move with my trembling arm three-fourths the way around the back of the seat, Marie unexpectedly leaned over and asked my girl to go with her to the powder room.

The grand moment was lost, and I was devastated. Then I realized that tomorrow, at the big dance, I would have another chance.

The big night came; my mother agreed to drive us; when we got to the dance and everybody piled out of the car, my Mom called me back and said only one thing – “Son, that girl is a great deal taller than you, isn’t she?”

My mother was always very observant, and I reckoned by then she was starting to think that she had made a mistake by not teaching me from that sex book of hers.

After we got into the school auditorium, I remembered I didn’t know how to dance. Later I was glad that my hero Chubby Checker came along because anyone could do the twist. But I wasn’t going to let that ruin my big chance.

Pretty soon, a slow dance was playing, and I took Bitsy out on the dance floor and nestled my face into the largest horseshoe belt buckle I had ever seen. I didn’t move because I didn’t know how to move. Little did I know that one of the proudest moments of my life was about to happen. After some awkward moments of not moving, Sister Grace Marie, the principal herself, scolded me for dancing too close and sat us down.

It was a scolding of honor and now all of the guys thought I was cool.

Later that night, the biggest football player on our team, who came to the dance without a date, asked Bitsy to dance. Surprisingly, I wasn’t upset. The guys were still giving me high fives for being such a “stud” and having to be reprimanded by the principal. Suddenly the kiss wasn’t so important to me anymore; I was one of the “cool” guys now.

I took Bitsy home that night and at her doorstep, she leaned down and kissed me on the cheek and told me that I was very sweet. I was cool now, so I knew that I was sweet.

Later Marie and her football player married, and my dear sweet Bitsy, my first date, married her football player. I didn’t get that kiss or make any progress in the movie theater for a long time, but I will always remember “Moon River,” my dear sweet Bitsy and the night I became “cool.”

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. You can reach him at 770-787-6397 or