There are very few days in my life that I can recall on demand. The birth of you and your sister and
May 17th, 1997
I had been pretty excited for this day since my team and I submitted our paperwork and entrance fee to participate in the Gus Macker Basketball tournament in Merrillville Indiana. Anytime I got a chance to compete I usually did back then.
Gus Macker was a traveling 3 on 3 basketball tournament when I was a kid. This wasn’t my first but it was on of my last. However as the story goes this Gus Macker played a significant role in changing my life.
Like most competitions I barely slept the night before and woke up early. We lost our first game but won our next three. It was a long day in the parking lot of the Star Plaza Theater. I was sun burnt, tired, and had a huge headache.
It was that first summer like day in mid May. Much like yesterday the sun was out the majority of the morning and most the afternoon. I had on no sunscreen and drank little water. Plus the braids I had my neighbors girlfriend put in my hair the night before weren’t helping the headache. I had just pulled out the braids, took a cold shower, ate something, and climbed into bed when my teammates and a few other friends started knocking on my window.
C’mon Kenny. Get up.
Tuck, let’s go dude.
We’re meeting up with some girls Special K.I really didn’t want to get up
It wasn’t even dark yet but all I wanted to do was put my head back down on my pillow and get some rest. Having avoided going into the toilet bowl bracket I wanted to win two more games tomorrow, then we’d get a chance to play for a trophy, and maybe even get into the Tournament of Champions. The idea of watching my friends try to impress girls has never been a motivating factor for me. Back then I was very much a wall flower in social settings especially around the ladies. The claim that we would be meeting with any strangers, female or otherwise, didn’t hold much weight. Hopefully, you two realize by now that I gave into the peer pressure. I jumped into one of my friends car and were were on our way back to Merrillville, but this time or destination was Celebration Station.
I followed my friends as we made our way through the crowd to the group of girls we were supposed to meet. I had only heard of these girls. In fact, most of us thought they were made up. Only Josh and Adam had met any of these ladies previously. They all attended a different school and lived in different parts of Lake and Porter Counties.
They go to a different school,
Not from around here
After hanging in the background for awhile the sights and sounds of the arcade were making my headache even worse so I stepped outside for a bit to get some air. Was it a classic example of task avoidance? Or just me being me and slipping out of a scene I don’t want to be involved with? Either way watching the go carts, checking out the mini golf mountains scene, or even meandering a little bit around the parking lot had to be a better use of my time than this. I got an ice water cause it was a dime and found an open picnic table in the shade and just sat back for a bit. Upon reentering the arcade my friend found me and immediately pulled me to the side.
Where have you been?
I tried explaining to him but he immediately cut me off.
Do you see that girl
On the Sea Doo?
I looked over his shoulder. I saw a girl pretending to ride the Sea Doo game. Her hair was dark, just about shoulder length. I then noticed she wasn’t actually playing the game. I was impressed with her commitment to this plan. Even though the credits were rolling on the screen she was really acting as if she was playing. Bouncing, swaying, learning side to side. She was really selling her side of the plan.
Then, it happened. She looked over her shoulder to assess the conversation, we locked eyes, I saw her beautiful smile, the same as today. A rush of excitement rushed through my body, the same as today. I gave her an awkward upward head nod, returned her a smile, and then Higg jostled me back into our conversation. It was over in an instant but I still remember that feeling. I was in love. It was your mom.
Good scoreMe to her
I approached her. I wish I could remember what else I said or what she said during that initial introduction. But, for the life of me outside of that I have no clue. All I know is that from that moment until now she has been my one true love and desire. We walked around and talked a lot that first night. Eventually, we made our way across 30 to Blockbuster Music.
We perused the CD’s together, utilized the listening stations, introduced each other to new things and talked, same as today. We did all those things that young people did before the internet to communicate. We talked about all kinds of things, same as today. How we ended up here together, tonight. How we knew the friends that brought us together. Come to find out she had never met my friends before tonight either. Us meeting here tonight seemed like fate to me.
We were both outsiders that found each other and that has made all the difference in my life. As all nights do this one ended but not before I introduced your mom to one of the funner things my friends and I would do on the weekends. A US 30 dance party. We’d turn up the music and dance on the shoulder of 30 under the Blockbuster Music sign. People would honk, shout, and sometimes even turn in and join. Tonight however only one person had my attention. Before going our separate ways we agreed to meet up tomorrow at Gus Macker.
We lost our first game and for the first time in my life I honestly didn’t care about losing. Your mom and I walked around the tournament for the rest of the day. Although I was closer to 18 than 17 I didn’t have my license yet. Your mom, just past 16, drove me home and we have basically been together ever since.
May 17th, 1997A lucky man am I
I often wonder what would have happened if I kept the braids in. We have often wondered what would have happened had one of us not given into peer pressure. Your mom says the braids wouldn’t have changed anything. I say if we didn’t meet that day it had to have happened some other day. Probably a house party in St. John. You never now what is going to happen on any day. So always be ready, kind, and open to anything.
Check the flavor of the rhythm I wrote,
And before I start cryin,
Let me clear my throat