HOGMEAT SLOWS OLD TIME ROMANCE
By Norris Chambers
In the decade known as “The Thirties” I had returned to the farm and was working for an oil company for the unbelievable salary of seventy-five dollars a month. The lease maintenance work wasn’t difficult and the pay was very good. But all good things must come to an end. The oil company decided to plug the wells and abandon the lease. This left me with some spare time.
I accidently met two of our old school pals, Elbert Hall and Sam Woods, at a country dance. Elbert was playing the guitar and Sam was playing a banjo and singing. These old school friends were excellent musicians and both were top notch singers. After a brief hello and a sincere invitation I brought in my ten dollar fiddle and joined them. The dancers moved about and did what dancers do, thoroughly enjoying the music and the dancing.
During a short break Sam and I were talking about dates and girls. I told him that I had a first time date arranged for Saturday night and it would be fun to double date if he wanted to. He said it would be fun, but he didn’t have anyone to take and didn’t know if he could find someone with so little time to search. I had a cousin in mind and I told him I was pretty sure she would be available. He agreed to give it a try!
On Saturday night he arrived in his big automobile – I learned later that it was a large Hudson sedan. He insisted on driving so we headed east. The date I had picked for Sam lived about three miles down the road and the girl I had asked for a first date by mail resided about eight miles farther east. My date wasn’t exactly a stranger. I had double dated with her and another fellow one time. When the family of the girl I had been seeing weekly for a few months suddenly moved to California, taking her with them, I was without a regular girlfriend and asked Ella to go to the show with me. She accepted and assured me she would be ready. In those days a date usually consisted of a trip to the show and some cheap refreshments afterwards. These arrangements were made by letter.
When we arrived at my uncle’s house and knocked on the door my cousin invited us in. I introduced my friend Sam and told her we would like to take her on a fun trip to the picture show. The first thing I noticed when we walked inside the house was a table in the kitchen with the whole family moving around it. Then I saw the reason for the activity. They had slaughtered two hogs and the meat was piled high in several stacks. Gale pointed toward the table and told us about the activity around the table. It was obvious that she couldn’t leave with so much work being done. My uncle said that they had to get the stew meat together, the grinding done, the bacon prepared for curing and the many other things required to safely save the meat.
I asked if Gale could go with us if we helped them finish. He grinned and agreed. About an hour later we finished the job and headed east to pick up Ella, my date. When we drove up in front of the house we saw nothing but darkness. There was no light visible in the area. I was a little nervous about knocking on the door, but even though we were over an hour late I knew I had to make an effort. After knocking three times with no response I turned to make my way back to the car but before I reached the door step I heard the door open and someone spoke. “Ella has gone to bed. It’s too late for a visit now.” I attempted to explain but I heard the door slam and I knew when I wasn’t welcome.
We went to town and Sam and Gale enjoyed the show. I spent my show money playing with the marble tables in the drug store. I had about as much luck on the tables as I had experienced on my date. This wasn’t my most memorable Saturday night. I was determined to try again so I mailed my apology and asked for another try. I received a reply on Wednesday accepting the invitation and asking that I come a little earlier.
Sam came by again in his big car and we picked up Gale and Ella and enjoyed the show. After ice cream and cookies we stopped at the side of a country road and proceeded to get better acquainted. Sam and Gale seemed to have been waiting for each other. They dated for a few months and then married. Ella and I continued to date every week until she graduated from high school. On the fourth day after graduation we were married. We will soon celebrate our 73rd wedding anniversary. We have enjoyed every year of it. Sam and Gale had a long, happy marriage but both are now dead.
The lesson to be learned from this tale is this: “Don’t let a pile of hog meat mar a blind date!”