"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Before This Night Is Over..."

Tom Cruise would have had nothing to fear from Scott Thomas. Ditto George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon.

But, on one April Saturday night in 1974, in the back seat of an old Ford Fairlane, a nervous young lady who had been talked into a blind double date by her first cousin was not so lucky.

Scott Thomas was tall, raw-boned, and clumsy as a yearling. He had a head full of flaming red hair, and a face covered with freckles. He wore Dickey work jeans and insulated hunting boots to high school - in the middle of downtown Atlanta - during the hippie dominated culture of the 1970's.

When he talked it was like listening to Gomer Pyle, Briscoe Darling, and Larry the Cable Guy all in one voice. If a baying coon dog could have ever spoken a human language, the sound would have been remarkably similar to Scott's talking voice.

From his boyhood Scott invented all sorts of interesting phrases which meant nothing, but sounded slick - at least to him. For instance, if you passed him in the hall on the way to class, he would answer your greeting with a high-pitched, "Aww-Gaww."

No one ever asked him what this utterance meant.

Also, instead of mimicking the fad phrases of the time such as, "right on!," or, "far out, man!," Scott walked his own path. When something really impressed him he would stick out his hand for a "low-five" and in a hybrid sort of yodel/whisper would say things like, "daddy rabbit!," or, "boy, howdy!"

On most days Scott smelled like "Cooter," his German Shepherd. There was absolutely no indication whatsoever that he had been present in Health Science class on the days when coach Kennerly talked about male personal hygiene. When Scott went hunting, he never had to wear manufactured scents such as deer urine in order to attract white tail buck or any other wild game. His natural bouquet was sufficient. They all seemed to accept him as kin.

One other endearing trait of Scott's was his annoying tendency to repeatedly perform a very unique head movement. The movement itself consisted of two animated blinks of the eyes, three rapid shakes of the head, and a twitch of the mouth - always to the right side. It was assumed that he picked up this quirk as a little boy, and then proudly wore it as his calling card throughout adolescence and into early puberty.

The maneuver was usually performed swiftly and with great frequency. It is unlikely that anyone ever counted the number of times this spasm occurred during a given time period. It would have been, however, a safe bet that its frequency was at least eight or nine times per minute.

(Scott fired off this movement with an almost rabid intensity on that ill-fated blind double date night in April of 1974.)

With distinguishing features such as these, it was pretty much a given that Scott's dance card was rarely if ever going to be full on any Friday or Saturday night. If the rest of the entire male gender had suddenly been extinguished from the face of the earth, Scott would probably still have had a doozie of a time finding a consenting female companion among the eligibles in his high school.

Still, this big overgrown kid was, "warm and willin,'" as Travis Tritt says in the song, and extremely available.

Scott's best friend was Ricky Stephens. They had been neighborhood running buddies since elementary school. Ricky was a handsome, dark complected young man about the same age and grade level as Scott. Ricky could have had any number of young fillies as his steady were it not for his extreme shyness. He wound up marrying one of only two girls that he ever dated.

This brings our story to the mother of all dates.

One Saturday afternoon in April of 1974, Scott was outside washing his daddy's pick-up when his mother came to the door and said that Ricky was on the phone. "What are you doing tonight?," was the first thing out of Ricky's mouth when Scott picked up the receiver. When Scott affirmed that he was free, Ricky said, "Be ready about 6:30, man...We're going on a double date."

Ricky went on to explain how that earlier that afternoon he had finally convinced Sherry Metcalf to go out with him!

Sherry was a cute little brunette with cat-eye glasses, who lived just up the street from Ricky. Like him, she was on the shy side - but had a great body, and had gotten a reputation as perhaps the best kisser in the community. This most likely came from her performance during neighborhood sessions of "spin the bottle" and "five minutes in heaven."

"Five minutes in heaven" was a lot like its cousin, "spin the bottle," except that for five minutes (more like a minute and a half) you got to go into either a nearby closet or other room, with the door shut and locked, and experience the sweet and blessed rewards of having had the bottle land on someone like Sherry Metcalf.

During one of these very sessions with Sherry, Ricky had fallen in love.

Sherry's acceptance of Ricky's invitation was contingent on him finding a date for Sherry's cousin Judy, who was visiting from Valdosta with her parents.

"What does she look like?," Ricky asked - before promising to find a second guy for the evening's festivities. "She's cute, smart, and has a great personality!," Sherry answered, somewhat defensively. Ricky understood immediately that this was female code for, "She bears a strong resemblance to something like a cross between a possum and a moose!"

"Don't worry, I've got just the fella," Ricky promised..."They will be perfect for each other...Be ready about 7:00!"

"What does she look like?," was the first question out of Scott's mouth. "I don't exactly know," Ricky explained, "but from what I hear she has got a bodacious 'rack' on her," (tapping into the moose image of cousin Judy that had earlier flashed through his own mind) .

At the adventuresome age of 17, most southern males are motivated to overlook even the most glaring facial imperfections, as long as the girl's bosom is equal in size to your average grapefruit or small cantaloupe. When Ricky had finished explaining the potential of cousin Judy's anatomical features, there was really only one thing Scott could say...


The date was on!!!

When the guys arrived at Sherry's, Ricky was sweating it. "Man, I hope Sherry's cousin is not flat chested!," he thought, not wanting to disappoint, or be found a liar in the eyes of, his friend. More importantly, Ricky had hopes that cousin Judy would sport at least some cleavage so that Scott's energies and focus would be confined exclusively to the back seat. That way, Ricky and Sherry could have some uninterrupted peace and quiet during their own precious moments of anatomical discovery.

What a relief it was when the girls answered the door.

Sherry looked great! And, cousin Judy - well, let's just say that she was everything both young men had secretly prayed for, and about three cup sizes more. A rather skimpy halter top confirmed this fact before God and the rest of the sighted world.

Cousin Judy was truly nobody's Miss America, but it was obvious to all observers, trained or otherwise, that the Good Lord had blessed her in ways unquestionably worthy of a young man's gratitude. Scott's countenance was glowing - and his head was "going to town" with spasms of the special cranial movements he was famous for! Even a dating novice like Scott Thomas understood what a fine physical specimen this was that stood before him.

"Looks like old 'daddy rabbit' hit the jackpot tonight!," Scott whispered "out loud" in Ricky's ear as the four of them stood there on Sherry's front porch - exchanging awkward blind date greetings with cousin Judy and checking each other out.

Eventually they all piled into Ricky's daddy's 1968 Ford Fairlane and sped off to the local drive-in. A double feature of Godzilla movies was on the bill for that night. "Five minutes in heaven" couldn't have held a candle to what this particular evening was promising.

Little did anyone know that the ride to the drive-in would turn out to be more like, "five miles from hell."

Ricky's driving experience that evening was a busy one. For the duration of the trip it was: look at Sherry, watch the road, look at Sherry, check the rear view mirror to see what was happening in the back seat, watch the road, look at Sherry.

The girls were giggling and chattering away, likely out of sheer nervousness.

Scott hadn't said one word since they got in the car.

His eyes, though, were speaking volumes!

"Don't stare at them," Ricky whispered to himself, as he looked back and saw Scott blatantly glaring at the mammary gland paradise sitting next to him.

"Hey Scott, tell Judy about that twelve pointer you killed back in the fall!" Ricky was trying his best to snap Scott out of the trance he had fallen into - desperately hoping to keep Scott from offending cousin Judy.

After all...No cousin Judy - No Sherry - No Sherry - No fun!

Ricky had his work cut out for him.

Several very apparent attempts to get Scott to start talking and stop gawking failed. Even one of his patented, non-sensical noises would have been better than the lustful silence that was emanating from the back seat...

Finally, the dam "busted"...

Scott suddenly slid over in the seat, snaked his arm around cousin Judy's shoulder, and pulled her close enough for her to be overcome with the smell of "Cooter." About this time, Ricky had to stop for a traffic light. The drone of the tries on the road quieted. Too, almost as if it had been cued by an angel from above, or by a demon from beneath, the radio suddenly went silent - nothing but dead air.

All things had fallen into place...The world was on the edge of its seat...Scott Thomas was about to unleash the mother of all blind date remarks.

Cousin Judy looked up at Scott and smiled nervously...

Bless her heart...As well as the rest of the beautiful and bountiful chest that adorned it...

She looked deeply and inquisitively into the eyes of her blind date...

Scott pointed the index finger of his huge right hand in a wildly animated manner toward Judy's chest and boldly said...

"Before This Night Is Over, I Am Gonna' Git Them T_ _t_es!!!!!"

The thick steel walls of that old Ford Fairlane kept surrounding cars and pedestrians from hearing the screams, the name calling, and the initial crying and wailing that came as a result of Scott Thomas' revelation.

The only sound that was unmistakably distinguishable was that of Sherry's voice screaming violently at Ricky, "Take us home, NOW!!!"

One can only assume that, somehow, and at some point either during or after that memorable and eventful night, things finally turned around for the couple in the back seat...

Now, thirty years later, Scott and "cousin" Judy Thomas have three boys of their own!


LIB John Brown


Blogger Donna A. said...

Great story!
Donna A.

May 07, 2005 4:48 AM  
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