The Girl Outside of Blass

Guest written by John R. Pledger, Jr.

Little did I know that when I went to my new job I would meet a girl who grew up on a street only one block from the street I grew up on. I grew up on Highway 10 in Danville, and she grew up on Ohio Street in Little Rock. Ohio Street is only one block away from Highway 10. I also didn’t know the girl from 90 miles and one block away would become my girlfriend, my wife, my best friend, and the love of my life.

We met while we both worked for the F.B.I. That’s right, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our first encounter was in the break room at the Bureau where Cheryl, two other stenographers, and I shared our break time and some small talk. From then on I tried to make sure my break just happened to be the same time as theirs.

After several weeks of those secret meetings in the F.B.I. break room, I finally met Cheryl by accident on the streets of Little Rock one night in October. Our encounter was outside Blass (now Dillards and now closed) on Main in Little Rock. She and a third stenographer from the Bureau were shopping, I was just trolling. We visited for a while, but after we parted I decided with nerves in check that I would call and ask for a date. Knowing that the F.B.I. had done an extensive investigation of my past, she accepted.

Our first date was a movie —  good choice. The movie was Irma la Douce — bad choice. Movies were not rated then, but it would not have been a “G.” Thank goodness she overlooked the selection as the result of country come to town. For whatever reason, she accepted a repeat date the next night and the next and the next, and you get the gist.

Since we had only known each other for a few weeks, and our first date was in October, we decided a longer courtship would be in order so we got engaged in November. A month is long enough don’t you think? Weddings take a while to prepare for so the date was set for February 15, one day after Valentine’s Day. No two big days should fall on the same date.

After a short ceremony at the cathedral in downtown Little Rock we took off for a reception at the Marion Hotel (later imploded) to celebrate. I gave the bell captain $5 to watch our car, but my uncle gave him $10 to tie on the cans. Money talks. Following the reception, we took off as one with cans in tow for the Florida coast.

Our destination was the Edgewater Beach Hotel (also later imploded). Little did we know the Edgewater was a resort for a lot of old snowbirds in the winter. We were the youngest occupants by least 50 years. It was hard to blend in with the group, and they would all cheer when we came down for meals. But a honeymoon is a honeymoon and we enjoyed it.

Such is the beginning of our love story and in order to prove that I hadn’t been vamped by a big city hussy, we waited 14 years to start our family. This wasn’t really planned but we are not in charge of everything (thank goodness). We are in charge of a lot and our lot includes two kids, three grandkids, two farms, three businesses, two states, six towns, fifteen addresses (yes, we have moved fifteen times), built two houses, lots of dogs, cats, horses, cows and chickens. Our lot does not include any more implosions, divorce, or even fights. Yes, no fights. How can you fight with your best friend? How long has this been going on? I’ll ask my best friend. Wow! She says it will be 52 years the day after Valentine’s. It’s not hard when you marry the girl outside of Blass, the prettiest girl in town.

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Category: On a Personal Note

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