The Great Brunette Chase on Highway 43
Friday, Sept. 15, 12:40 a.m., CDST.
Just got ready for bed when one of those memorable, priceless memories popped into my mind. Tired as I was, I thought more about what happened to me and two great friends in 1971 when we three guys had a day out of school due to our year-end finals were finished.
Memorable, priceless friends, although few, and a free day out of school on a hot summer day are things that every teenage boy needs to live in these rare days to help them make better citizens.
EVERY SUMMER HAS JUST ONE OF THOSE lazy, non-eventual days when three good friends are present sitting around in the shade out of earshot of any parental figures for fear that we would use ugly words the way that young men do. It was Wednesday. We, Donnie Avery, who is now deceased thanks to running into another drunk driver taking his life in a wreck, and James Childers, who is now a very successful over-the-road trucker. I have only talked with James twice since 2004. Once, when I met him at our local Walmart and twice at my home when I called him on my landline when his baby sister, Tammy, now a grown woman, a Facebook member who was good enough to give me his cell number.
On this Wednesday of memory, James had custody of his dad's 1961 Chevy sedan. The transmission didn't work that well, but a car's a car when you are a teenager, free of responsibility and seeking love from women who are known to have an unsavory reputation. Those were the women that we were hunting when a car was available.
There we sat in James' front yard. Donnie had drove to my house and picked me up and we hooked up with James at his house for a big meeting at his front yard's end. Safety and planning was crucial. That was Guy Code for we knew of two hot women in their early 30s and we had access to reliable condoms. Donnie, James and myself would sigh ever so often, look at Donnie's wrist watch and we'd sigh again. "We need to do something--the day's getting over," Donnie insisted and from his statement, we made him the leader of our threesome pack on the prowl for the women that we had seen in town the weekend before and man, did they ever look cheap. Just the kind of woman who knows what a woman is looking for. No strings. No questions. Free from responsibility. Who could ask for anything more?
"You got gas, James?" I asked to just make sure that if we were forced to get into a chase with these two women (if we seen them again this afternoon) we'd be ready. No worries. Easy marks. Fish in a barrell. As it were. Hardly anyone or anything went by the country road that ran past James' house so we just sat in a shade tree talked about how to catch these girls and have a one great time upon making the proper introductions.
But Donnie, not a patient trapper of the fairer sex, said, "I ain't needing no manners or shaking hands. I want to X%*# these gals and then smoke a cigarette," Donnie said. At least he was honest. But his statement left a few questions that remained to be answered, so we just sat there and talked about these two girls a bit more.
I think that when guys are in junior high, their minds are almost developed while most of their primal drive has yet to be tamed. So there was Donnie who was about to bite the trees around the yard if he had not scored with these girls someone told us was "easy," but we were not dumb. Even we in rural northwest Alabama knew that "easy" was a relative term and we had to find out the true definition of "easy" before our safari left the station.
THEN THERE WERE TIMES WHEN LIFE ITSELF can act like an orchestra conductor, Leonard Bernstein, who I had read about and found out that he was both eccentric and a musical genius. Life had taken on the job of Bernstein in how to get us three on the road ready to trap and love these two wayward women.
Now comes the tough part: how I need to describe them to you. I will choose my words as I do not want my hub to be flagged for inappropriate text. Both women were in their early 30s and had dark brunette hair. Both used very dark red lipstick, and enough eyeliner and mascara to look like Liz Taylor in the hit film, Cleopatra. These women, judging by their looks, were not of whore catagory, but the possibility of getting with them in a safe out of the way place and getting to know them better. And that is as loose as I can describe them. All Idid know is that when James and I had met them on the previous weekend, they were riding in a slick-looking Chevy truck. James was having some car trouble so in came the Calvary with these two beauties ready to rescue us. When they pulled next to us, the girl riding on the passenger side instantly opened the door revealing such pretty legs that my heart stopped like a dime.
James and I looked at each other. Then spoke to them. "Need some help," the equally-gorgeous woman friend who had just opened the door said in such a soft tone of voice that I wanted to take her then and there and take her to Tupelo, Mississippi and marry her. I had $65.00 in my pocket that I had saved for just an occasion.
She smiled and lit a cigarette. I was mesmerized as she smoked so stylish and cool. And ever so often she would look at me and wink showing me those perfectly-designed eyes with just the right amount of eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara. And oh, her red lipstick. Both girls wore red lipstick. My heart ached as James was trying his best to get a conversation going with them so we could get with them to take them out for a late dinner or maybe ride over to a place westward near Fulton, Mississippi where we knew of a place for water skiing, barbecuing and just hanging out: Nita Lake. But something was wrong. The girl driver was receptive to James while her friend and I were talking, but she was making too many seductive moves for me to keep a sensible thought in my head.
"So here we are--stuck at the Chevrolet Place," I whispered to James. He chuckled. "well, what do we do now?"
"You girls want to ride around with us?" James said using a time-tested question. No strings attached.
"Well, we don't have time--we need to get daddy's truck back home in time for church. He's a church pastor," the gorgeous driver said. Both mine and James' mouths were on the floorboard of his car. I did her the girls laughing as they were pulling out into the highway, "we could meet you here next weekend. Okay?" the passenger girl said and we both nodded okay.
The next weekend came. No gorgeous brunettes with perfect makeup. No girls in daddy's truck. But we were on time. We sat there for a good two hours drinking our Cokes and making more plans just in case they did show up. A guy has to have every base covered or he is left to die in the dust. TIP: smart, single guys always have a Plan B. Remember that.
We rounded our old familiar circle around town along with visiting our two best hang-out's: Jackson's Airport Drive-in and Lewis' BBQ Pit, both were three star cafe's in our day. And both had darn good burgers and sodas. The fries were the greasy kind that are able to take the lives of any healthy person anywhere in civilization. It was no problem for my friends and I to wolf down a double-order of frieds and many times forget the burgers. The fries were legendary.
Even with the food and driving around and looking out best, no 30ish looking hot girls with jet black brunette hair. Just three fools in a '61 Chevy praying that these two girls were just playing a solid game of Hard-to-Get. If this were the case, they were doing an outstanding job. These two hot gals were on their A Game long before there was an A Game.
Time to rev time back to the edge of James' front yard where he, Donnie Avery, and I were sitting in the shade contemplating just the right plan to employ in reaching the whereabouts of these two girls who had made the three of so crazy. Let me point out as a lesson plan, that if you are having trouble getting an image of these two girls into your mind, just Google "Ava Gardner," and bam! Your vision will appear. She was a level prettier than these two girls, but we were not choosy. A single guy cannot afford such menial traits when you exist in a small town.
Then, as if a genie had given us only one wish, our eyes all turned at the same time, straight into the asphalt county road, Highway 43 north, and saw within our grasp . . .these SAME two brunette's who we had met last Sunday who were riding in their daddy's pickup-truck. "Can't be!" we all said in harmony. And very loud. James' mom ducked out of the front door and asked if we were having some kind of trouble. "NOOOO!, We're just fine," we all said with angelic smiles.
"We can't wait. James get the '61! We need to get these girls . . .NOW!" I said playing the role of leader.
Donnie, speechless with the sudden shock of seeing these two brunette beauties, joined James and myself to pile into that black and white '61 Chevy. Smoke billowed from underneath the car when James started the engine. His mom, now seriously scared, asked where in blazes we were going, so I think that I was quick enough to reply that we were headed to town to see a new car that someone was selling. TIP: single, teenage guys always have a lie up their sleeves when hot girls are in our crosshairs.
Quicker than quicksilver, we were excited as James tore out of his driveway hot on the trail of the two gorgeous girls who had passed us at James' front yard. Smoke was still pouring from underneath the car's body as we roared up the first long hill up the highway (43) running past James' home. The smoke was not enough worry for us to ask what might be the trouble.
" . . .engine burns a little oil now and then," James said in his quiet, humble manner keeping his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
"Can this heap not run any faster?" Donnie yelled punching the back of James' carseat out of sheer frustration mixed with anger. Donnie was always having anger issues. James and I were on in this chase to secure the company of these two worldy looking girls who had mesmerized us.
And there it was: up ahead in what looked to be a 1968 Pontiac Catlina. Big car, two great looking girls. Yeah, this was our afternoon, I thought.
"Faster, James! Put your foot in the engine!" Donnie yelled sticking his head ouf of the back window--and shaking his fist in the air as a way to get the girls' attention.
James just smiled and kept driving now at top end speee of 85 MPH. And that was all.
Sad thing too. Because just as that little red arrow in the speedometer had hit 85, Donnie looked like he was having a stroke as he gazed through the windshield and said, " Look! See that? These girls are smoking, a good sign that they are whores! We got it made!"
Not really. As our anticipation and eagerness to catch up with these girls, it was like someone or some (thing) had cast a magic spell on their white Catalina and sped up--more and more until we saw them fade into the horizon. We all let out a gasp.
James stopped on the side of the road to see why the '61 Chevy was smoking so much while Donnie stomped the gravel and let out a string of curse words that most NAVY SEALs on liberty would not say while intoxicated and in a seedy bar.
"Funny. Tammy must have left her ball in the engine," James said. Tammy was his baby sister who loved to hide her toys. The small rubber ball was in the process of melting as James' car engine was growing hotter by the minute.
But you need to know James. He always had the composure of Sean Connery in any 007 role and the confidence of Clint Eastwood "Rowdy Yates," in any of his Rawhide series on CBS. James just tossed Tammy's little ball into the front yard. And we three just walked back to where this chase began.
Then a mischievous smile came to James' lips.
"Are we three now whores, Donnie?" he asked.
"Whores? Why in the x@$#@$%$% did you ask that?" Donnie said letting his temper flare up.
"Well," James said. "with all of the smoke that was running from under the car, you said, 'look! The girls are smoking. A sure-sign that they are whores,' so Donnie, we must be whores."
James and I had a big laugh although we did not see the two beauties in the white Catalina anymore. All Donnie did while we were laughing was head home.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery