The day started in a bar, as they often did back in the early 80’s. Donna’s boyfriend was on the road heading in our direction. I didn’t have a special someone. Our plan was to kill a few hours with alcohol in Pete’s Pub where Donna grew up at her daddy’s elbow. Pete’s son, Pete Junior, practiced making Kamikazes. Donna and I critiqued seven pitchers of the limey goodness between draft beers for her and gin and tonics for me by the time we determined PJ had mastered his technique. Being unofficial employees (taste tester is a real job) we drank for free in payment for services rendered.
Donna missed her boyfriend. He called to let her know he wouldn’t be able to get into town. His truck broke down at the truck stop in Elkton, Maryland. She was sad. She didn’t get to see him often. He drove a truck up and down and across the country. He lived in Arkansas. He was a married man. She was very sad. I was drunk enough to feel her pain acutely. I, too, was lonely.
Donna didn’t drive but I had a big, beautiful 1968 Dodge Coronet in silvery blue with a white rag-top. I still loved driving back then because I was fearless and didn’t care if I got a speeding ticket. My beautiful car kept me out of any real trouble. One look at that baby, and the cops fell in love and wanted to know how I was lucky enough to have her.
One winter, I tried to plow it through a snow bank on the newly finished Route 55 near Glassboro. The engine objected greatly when the pile of snow turned out to be a small mountain of frozen dirt. Cars, no matter how beautiful and special, will not put up with that shit.
But that was later. This evening, I needed to help my friend
“Let’s go to him,” I said.
We found our drunken way to my car. I don’t remember much of the three hour drive to Maryland except we made an error in judgement and almost ended up in DC. But the lure of love is strong, even when it’s not your love. We found Donna’s boyfriend. They went off to his truck and left me in the club. I didn’t mind too much. I found a partner to dance with through the night.