I have never looked back.
I had a friend at the University of North Carolina by the name of Joe. Like me, he was an out-of-state student. Joe was from the Big Apple and he was as far from a southern accent as a person could be. He was all New York.
Joe had many attributes - one of which was the fact he was an inch or so shorter than me. Most New Yorkers at Chapel Hill were outsized basketball players. Joe was not. So he assumed the role of man about campus. He knew a lot of people and a whole lot of folks knew him.
To say that Joe was social is a gross understatement. You could always spot him a mile away. He shuffled and carried himself prematurely, a little bent over. What was absolutely unforgettable, though, was the brown striped sport coat with corduroy patches on each elbow that he wore with great frequency (aka nearly all the time). To Joe, this coat still had years of service ahead of it. To anybody else it had seen better days. But, that coat was Joe’s logo and he was proud of it.
On Tuesday, December 14, 1960, I was closing out the first semester of my senior year. Give or take a day or two, it’s been 61 years since Joe got hold of me and said he was having a pre-Christmas party that night at his off-campus house and I should find a date. A large portion of the student body had already left on Holiday Break and I was at a total loss. No worries. Joe said he’d find a date for me.
He called back a little later on my dormitory pay phone to say that his mission had been accomplished. I don’t know anything about her, but her name is Karen Lesher. She’s just for tonight. You never have to take her out again.
This girl was about to become my first blind date ever. I was greatly relieved to learn there was no long-term commitment involved. One-and-done. I’d be leaving town the next day on the train to New Jersey to enjoy some time off from my never-ending academic quests.
I woke up this morning - 61 years after the introduction to Karen Lesher - still next to that girl I would never have to take out again.
Karen Lesher Young was, and remains, one heck of a Christmas gift. Thanks, Joe.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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