I've been having fun catching up with old classmates on Facebook (Janet, this is YOUR fault!). It's nice to see that we've all grown up...and that I'm not the only one who has grown...out.
While chatting with an old chum named Polly, I remembered a fateful church bus trip to the ice skating rink in Baton Rouge, an hour and a half from our home in McComb, MS. We were probably 13 or so. That was the first part of the problem.
I happened to share a seat with Polly and a girl named Molly sat behind us. As our caretakers always did, they wrote all of our names down in order we were sitting so that roll would have read, "Polly, Holly, Molly." That was the second part of the problem.
As 13 year old girls are apt to be moody and temperamental, I was on the outs with my group that night (which is why I was probably sitting between Polly and Molly). My inner circle of friends weren't speaking to me. I was always a bit of a loner anyway and wasn't going to let it bother me. When we got to Baton Rouge and paid our way into the ice rink, I made my way to a pay phone and called my second cousin, Tara, who lived near the rink. Her dad dropped her off and we had a brilliant time - the third part of the problem.
I was so busy having a great time with Tara, I failed to notice the bus load of people I came with gathering up and leaving! I do remember suddenly looking around and saying to Tara, "I don't know anyone here but you!"
We went to the counter and found out the bus had left 30 minutes earlier. It didn't really phase me. I knew Tara's dad, my oldest cousin and one of my mom's favorite nephews would gladly take me home. We phoned him and made a plan.
Being the responsible and thoughtful man he was (Roland died when I was teenager), he left a very detailed message at the skating rink about who I was with, where I was sleeping and how I would be getting home. He took us to his mom's (my mother's sister) for a late supper. Tara made me a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and it was so good. We called my mom and all of us had a great laugh.
Just as we were settling in for the night - it was well after 10 - the church called. They had finally figured out I was missing!
Back to the skating rink we went. The bus pulled up; I said goodnight to my cousins and got a lot of razzing from my fellow teens on that bus.
It turned out that, in the loud ruckus after skating, the chaperon was practically yelling the roll call. She said "POLLY?"
Polly shouted, "HERE!"
Polly said, "I SAID HERE!!"
They had moved on to a McDonald's and the group was a tad more sedate when they took roll call again.
From then on, I was never allowed to sit near Polly or Molly on the bus and the church had a rule: absolute silence on the bus during roll call!