Having saved up some money from my military service, plus my money I had received upon leaving the army, I had quite a few dollars on me, and deliberated buying a car. Then I decided to take a Greyhound to the town whose address I had in my pocket instead. The majority of the money I carried in an inside pocket of my suit coat, to keep it safe from thieving fingers. There had been several instances while I was in the military where soldiers had been robbed of their money. It had happened to me only once, but was enough to put me ever on my guard.
I knew that buying a car in the south should cost less money, since the standard of living in the state I was headed for was probably lower than that of the northern state I was in the process of leaving.
Heading for the Greyhound station, I spied a little restaurant, and realized how hungry I was, so I stopped in for a bite to eat. It was near noon, so I decided dinner would taste pretty good.
The restaurant was called "Aunt Martha's" or some such name; I forget exactly. Walking in, I looked around and saw they were feeding only about six people. A waitress shouted to me to take any seat I liked. Hmmm. It seemed to be a very casual, friendly place.
I chose one near a window, so I could look out at the passers-by as I ate. Then I saw her. Was that Glenda Ann Shelton? From fifth grade? No! It couldn't be. I pecked on the window glass and she lifted her eyes to me. She stopped in her tracks and our eyes met. It was! It was Glenny and she smiled at me. I hadn't thought of her in years, and now there she was, she of the golden hair and blue eyes. She headed for the door of the restaurant and I arose from my chair to meet her at the door.
Too bashful still to do anything else, I escorted her back to the table and smiled like the empty-headed fool that I was.
"What are you doing in town, Zeb? Have you been here long? Where did you all go? One day you were in school and then after Christmas vacation, you didn't come back. Where have you been?"
"Hey, Glenny. I didn't think you all would even miss me. It is a long story, but I reckon I can tell you, if you have a while. It's good to see you again." My eyes were drinking her in. Now, I didn't know if I would head south so soon as I had intended or not. " Where are you headed right now?"
"Oh, I'm on my way back to work after my lunch break. I have a job at the Savings and Loan, and I only have a few minutes of it left. Where are you staying? Can we meet for supper?"
"Well, to tell the truth, I wasn't planning on staying in town, but was heading to the Greyhound station to go south to find a friend of mine. Do you know of an inexpensive place I could get a room for a week or so?"
"Yes, you know the house that old Mrs. Grogan used to live in next to your home? Her daughter inherited it when she died and turned it into a boarding house. You might get a room there."
She got up to leave, and said, "We could meet here at around 6 p.m. for supper if you like."
"Sure, sure, that sounds good." I got up as she did and escorted her to the door, opening it for her. She waved good-bye and left me standing there, open-mouthed and waving like a fool at her departing back.
(To be continued)