The pale gold Corvair was my trusty steed as I drove around town. It belonged to my mother but I was allowed to use it as often as I liked. Its color reminded me of a palomino much like Roy’s horse, Trigger. It was a fine ride and suited my driving efforts nicely.
This particular day I was a Knight on a mission. My palomino came to a halt in front of my Lady’s castle. But wait, it’s kind of a long story. I have to go back a bit. Bear with me. It all began….
“You gonna join any clubs this year?” My buddy asked this as we walked the breezeway to our next class. Our sophomore year was fraught with decisions. Joining clubs was one of the biggest we faced. It was time to be thinking about college. On our letters to these colleges we had to have a section devoted to our membership in clubs along with extracurricular activity involvement.
“I asked to join Future Health Careers,” I said. “You know since I want to go to Med School eventually.”
“Yeah, that would be a good choice. Are you thinking of volunteering in a hospital for experience?”
“That’s a great idea,” I said. “It hadn’t crossed my mind but I guess I better check into that.” Smiling I started back toward class.
“I don’t really know what I want to do yet,” he said. “ I guess I should just join several clubs if I can fit them in. Maybe I’ll get some idea where my interests lie.”
For years he’d talked about studying to preach.
“I thought you wanted to preach?”
“I don’t know. Lately I’ve been unsure.”
“Joining several organizations here should give you some inkling of what is out there. Try FHC with me.”
After class we checked into some of the meeting times for different clubs. I went to several different ones along with my buddy. The room we entered was for the first meeting of FTA, or Future Teachers of America. We found a seat near a window and settled in to listen to the pitch.
“Hello everyone. I see a lot of new faces today and I’d like to welcome you to the first meeting of the year. My name is Babs and I am the president of FTA. We have a good year ahead of us. I have here a printout of the projected meetings of the year which I would like to pass out. Could you take these please and pass them back? Thank you.”
She was short. She was cute. She captured my heart immediately. I became a member of the FTA. I had absolutely no intention of becoming a teacher. My decision was made the moment I set eyes on her. I sat smiling through the meeting. I decided to introduce myself as she wound it up.
While the other students were exiting the room I walked to the front and stood while she spoke to a straggler. She turned to me as the other student shook her hand and walked toward the door.
We spoke simultaneously. I gave her my biggest smile.
“You’re new to the meeting,” she said.
“Yes, I am. I’m Rickey and I wanted to see about joining. I’ve been thinking a lot about teaching. This seemed like the right place to be for some preparation for the plunge.”
“Well, yes. We have a good program, I think, to help prepare the prospective teacher. What subject would you want to teach?”
Uh oh. I didn’t have a clue.
“Right now I figured it would be good to see the big picture while I settled into my biggest interest. I like all subjects about the same with a tendency to lean in the direction of English. Yeah, I think I would like to teach English.”
“What grade?” She kept asking hard questions. I hadn’t even thought about any of this. All I wanted was to ask her out.
“Yeah, you know like grammar school, middle school, high school or even college. We have program ideas for all of them and you can never be too prepared for the future.”
Huh? The future? I’d always thought med school. I only wanted to join this one to get to know her.
“It’s all new to me,” I said trying to get beyond this third degree. “Maybe we could talk about it over a Hardee burger or something?”
“I don’t think so, uh, Rickey? Is that your name?” she looked at me like I was a sophomore and she was a senior, which was actually the way it was. Seniors had absolutely no truck with sophomores unless it was to give guidance such as she offered through FTA.
“Yes, Rickey. I’d really like to …”
“Rickey, I’m a senior.” And that was it. The door was slammed.
“Maybe you will change your mind,” I replied.
“I hardly think so.” With that I was dismissed. She gathered her things and departed. I watched her walk away. It was mesmerizing. I decided to change her mind.
The next meeting would be in week. I would definitely be there.
The week dragged by. I didn’t bother to attend the Future Health Careers meeting that same week. I skipped it to attend FTA and its main attraction for me, Babs.
“Are you going to FTA?” I asked my buddy.
“I don’t know. It doesn’t seem likely I’ll ever teach.”
I looked at him wanting him to go with me.
“Give it another try,” I half begged.
“Might as well,” he said.
We arrived as the meeting was being called to order. She was at the front of the room again. Her eyes caught mine. I smiled. She didn’t. I found a chair in the frosty room. She hardly looked at me the entire time she spoke. The hour was nearly over. I grew more discouraged.
“OK, one last thing. We will have a Donut Sale to raise money for our club. Next Friday Krispy Kreme will deliver 300 dozen donuts to us here at the school. That will be ten dozen apiece for each of our thirty members. They are only fifty cents a dozen of which we will receive twenty cents to put in our koffers. Please don’t skip that meeting. We need each of you to sell your ten dozen. So I repeat, please don’t miss next Friday’s meeting.”
As we began to sidle out the door I nodded to my buddy that I’d follow shortly. I sidled over to the desk where she was gathering her books.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi. Rickey, right?”
“Uh, yeah,” I said a little startled she had to ask. “I thought I’d offer my help if you needed any with the donut drive next week.”
“All you need to do is show up and collect your dozen donuts.” And with that she was out the door.
“Man, she certainly put you in your place,” said my friend.
“I guess she did, but we’ll see about that eventually.”
“She’s a senior. You don’t have a chance.”
“I don’t count myself out yet.”
The week went by slowly once again. When Friday came around we made our way to the meeting. Outside was the Krispy Kreme truck. The driver was unloading the donuts for us to pick up.
The room was only about three-quarters full when we got there. She was up front taking a head count as we walked in looking for a seat.
I watched her hoping to catch a glance of a smile, or simply recognition, but she continued counting. Her frown became more pronounced as she began to realize several members had decided to skip this meeting.
A few others meandered in to take a seat.
“Alright, I guess we had better settle down and begin. Perhaps the others are just a little late.”
She covered last week’s minutes and launched into the new business. Every few minutes she would glance toward the door but it remained vacant.
“It appears no one else is coming. Their decision not to attend makes this difficult. I’m going to ask each of you to take more than the ten dozen donuts you were to be issued. We have to pay Krispy Kreme for every dozen stacked on the table on the breezeway. So I’m asking you to please pick up more than ten each. I’m sorry to have to ask it. I’m responsible for all of them so please help me and the club out.”
She dismissed us. We were to go to the table to collect the boxes we would be selling.
Her anxiety was evident when I moseyed to the front.
“Can I help you with anything?” I reached for her books which she snatched up.
“Yeah, you want to sell three hundred boxes of donuts?”
Before I could answer she was gone heading for the table to record who took what.
“Come on,” I said to my friend. “Let’s get the car and collect those donuts.”
We drove around the building to the front breezeway to gather up our boxes. The table was piled high with green and white containers.
“We’re here to pick up our donuts,” I said leaning the seat forward to make room.
We gathered ten apiece and stacked them in the back seat. I walked over to her.
“I’ll take another ten,” I said. “It shouldn’t be too hard to sell them.”
I gathered another ten. Her face softened and a smile inched across. The other students were lining up behind me to pick up their charges.
“Well, I guess I better go sell these. I hope the rest are taken care of.” I smiled as I climbed into the car. She smiled back. “I’ll bring the money to your house.”
It was no problem finding her house since I had followed her home one day. She lived in the Terrace. I would always remember the house.
My buddy and I circled the neighborhood going door to door selling donuts. It was Friday afternoon and everyone was happy to buy something for dessert. I had some who gave the money but refused the donuts after they found out about the organization. They were always happy to help they would say.
“I finished selling all of mine,” said my buddy. “Could you drop me off now?”
“Don’t you want to help sell the rest of these?”
“I think twenty boxes apiece is more than our share.”
“OK. I’ll take your money since I’m going to her house.”
He handed me ten dollars.
“It won’t do you any good. She’s a senior.” He shook his head as he got out.
“Thanks but I like her. I gotta try.”
It was a short ride to her house. My pocket was weighted down with coins as I jangled to the door. On her porch sat boxes and boxes of donuts. I rang the doorbell.
I saw the tears as the door slowly opened.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
“I don’t know what to do. I’ve got so many boxes of donuts left. No one will come to pick them up. I’ve called every member but they all have excuses. I don’t know what to do.” She dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief.
“First of all don’t cry about it. We’ll get those boxes sold if it takes all weekend.”
I opened the door and surveyed the scene. In my mind I pushed back the visor on my shining chrome helmet, blew the scarlet plume from my eyes and stooped to gather up the boxes of glazed donuts. My suit of armor clanked as I carried them to my trusty steed. My joints squeaked as I bent to place the containers in the back seat. I carried all of them to my trusty palomino. The back was stuffed from seat to ceiling with sealed boxes of glazed confections.
I looked back at my damsel in distress. The silky blue gauze attached to the high peaked hat waved rhythmically in the breeze. Her left hand clutched at her heart as her right hand wiped a tear from her eye with the kerchief entwined in her fingers. I blew her a kiss, flipped the visor down and mounted my golden palomino. We were off to whisk away the fears of our lady fair.
I parked my car, gathered several boxes of donuts from the back seat and marched along the street turning into each driveway determined to sell at least one box at each address. The work was steady and the sales were good. The sun was descending behind the trees when I sold the last box. It was time to return to her house.
I had placed the proceeds for the sales into one of the empty cartons, one which I had emptied gathering my strength to sell, sell, sell. The coins and bills might be sticky from the sugary glaze residue but it didn’t matter. I had sold every box. If that didn’t impression my lady fair then nothing would.
As I reached for the bell the door opened. She stood there, eyes no longer over flowing with tears. Her face lit up with the grandest smile I could have imagined.
“You sold them all? You are my knight in shining armor,” she touched my cheek then kissed that spot.
My face lit up to match the scarlet plume attached to my helmet atop my shoulders. She did not have to tell me I was her knight in shining armor. I already knew it. Our future was to be rosy in Camelot.