I want to write this in longhand on pretty paper...
...But for right now, LJ will have to do.
I just had the most unbelievably magnificent day.
This weekend is the Prelude to Invasion Re-enactment at the D-Day Memorial, and I'm there in period clothes to "boost morale" of the division of soldiers there at the "camp"---they bring all their period tents and equipment and they actually stay there overnight on the cots and stuff. They have public demos during the day of a simulated beach landing, etc. Very interesting stuff. I know most of these guys from an event last July, and it was good to see them again---and if you don't think it's fun being outnumbered 75:1, oh MAN---I was especially looking forward to seeing Riley, as he and I had hit it off in the summer, but as it turned out, he wasn't the star attraction.
I was the ONLY girl there [that was part of the festivities, that is] and so all morning long it was my job to flit around and keep up the good spirits of our boys in uniform---and get whistled at and called "Doll" and "Honey" and one of them got carried away and sang "The Lady in Red" every time I walked by. I was up until 1:30 this morning sewing the red dress that I wore today, and I was really happy with it. I posed for a bunch of pictures, drank Coke from a glass bottle with two straws, etc.
I noticed one tall, blond, grey(!)-eyed soldier who constantly talked to me when I walked by the tent he was bunking in---with about 10 other guys---everything from a whistle to "There you are again, Glamour-puss, welcome back" to "Hey Doll, want a cookie? My Mom sent 'em down!" and I finally ended up in the tent talking to them--I walked in, he jumped up and insisted that I take his chair. I felt something with this guy as soon as I started talking to him---and when he referred to Rita Hayworth as "my girl", I knew this was good. He quoted Bringing Up Baby at me, and then, hilariously, The Aviator ("I take seven showahs a day just to keep CLEAN!"), we had an entire conversation about Lux Toilet Soap [NO LIES], and then he got out an engraved case of hand rolled cigs, gave me a knowing look, took out two, NOW VOYAGERED THEM and stuck one in my mouth. OH MYYYYYY GODDDDDD if that is not the absolute hottest thing a guy can do, I don't know WHAT is. Of course, I just puffed on it without really smoking it, but the effect was mahvelous. [Not to be confused with the flava of High Point, which is also mahvelous.]
I spent the entire afternoon sitting in that chair talking to this guy, whose name is rather badass: Tom Frost. I had to tear myself away to go home and change clothes--I was gone a hot 38 minutes---and get back in time for the period baseball game between the Hometown Bedford Boys and the Army Rangers (two halves of the same living history group). I got back and it turns out that the Rangers (Tom's team) were looking a little weak as far as players go, and Tom eyed me and goes, "I bet you can play baseball. Come out here and throw one." Well, I nearly took his hand off with my first pitch, and he got me cleared to play on their team---obviously, the only girl. They got me a t-sirt, hat and vintage glove, all the men were playing in period dress wth period stuff. SO COOL. I had on jeans and flip-flops, which I ditched over Tom's [adorable] protests that I would hurt my feet and he didn't think I should play barefoot.
We rode down the hill to the diamond in the back of a truck [which he helped me into and out of], and when we got out, I didn't realize that the seam where the pavement and concrete met actually had a raised edge, and I SLICED OPEN my left big toe at the end. It was gross, and was bleeding everywhere, and I was just hiding my foot in the grass until I got over to the dirt, where I picked up a handfull, spit in it, made mud and packed it on my toe. I wasn't about to tell anyone, least of all Tom who already didn't want me playing barefoot, so I just packed mud on it and went about my business.
And hit the first home run of the game.
The first guy struck out, the second one was out before he got to second, and I was third. The reactions of those big he-men when a girl hit a home run, flew barefoot around the bases and slid into home was kind of the best thing ever. I LOVE BASEBALL. Man, it's been so long that I'd totally forgotten how much I love baseball.
I also played first base and got three people out. I also struck out once, but we won't talk about that... Alas, the Ragers lost by two, but it was really, really, really fun. From singing the National Anthem a capella beforehand to having the field chaplain bless the food, it was so wonderful and wholesome and fun and it really felt like 1943. Nobody on their stupid cell phones, everybody cheering for everyone and ribbing each other in a nice way---a bunch of grown men behaving themselves because there was a "lady present" --and they kept saying that--"Hey, watch it! Lady present!" I am so glad to be called a LADY and be treated as such. It's so lovely.
Then they got us pizza for dinner, and Tom paid for mine before I even knew that there was paying to be done. And he asked me to go out for a drink later in the evening. As we got back up to the tents, I confessed about my wounded toe and was instantly gotten a first aid kit by a battery of eager knights. Then, with great ceremony, they presented me with my own vintage Army Rangers t-shirt and declared that I was an Honorary Ranger, because "you're a lot of fun for a skirt, you really love and understand the Forties and you play great baseball." I will treasure this freaking shirt.
Then Tom and I got cleaned up as much as was possible and went out for our drink. He opened every door, held the chair, asked me what I wanted [a Cosmopolitan] and then ordered for me..............BLISS. We had the most intense conversation about everything and nothing. He was so EASY to talk to, he understands EXACTLY about this passion for this era. He got a little emotional about the two sweet nursing-home-lady stories from my lectures. He referred to Artie Shaw as a "toolbag" and confessed a passion for Benny Goodman, whom we listened to in the car. I think I may have met someone who travels with more big band CDs than I do. We are on the exact same page politically, morally, etc. He just became Catholic and was confirmed on Easter. He lives in Syracuse, New York, but loves Virginia and wants to move here. We both realized how quickly and importantly we were picturing some future relationship, and discussed the issue of long-distance. I'm really good at long distance relationships and we are both willing to try it. Something is telling me to trust him--I already trust him. Mostly because I said, jokingly, "I'm the faithful as a bird dog type; I can't be devious." and he called me on it. LOL. We were sitting there and he just stopped and looked at me for a moment, then says, "So, I know it's corny, but..." and took my hand and put it on his heart, which was going like a jackhammer.
We got out to the car and he said, "I hope you don't think this is too forward, and you can take it however you want to, but I just thought you should know that ever since I saw you this morning, and now especially after sitting at the table with you and watching you and listening to what you have to say...I really want to kiss you." And then he acted like he was going to move right along after that announcement and starts to turn the key over and I said, "Do you still want to?" and he yanked the key out at lightspeed and kissed me...uh, several times.
We were trying to figure out where to go afterwards so we could keep talking, and so of course I took him to my barn. At 10:00 PM. And then I showed him my favorite tree (in the dark, with his headlights), and we went "parking" (very, very tame parking, like, we held hands once) on the old dirt road where Nanny and her friends went in the 30s. And on the way back to town, a bat (like, a BAT) flew into the windshield and died. Whoops. Buzzkill. LMAO. Sorry, little bat. So many emotions at the little guy's passing.
So he took me to my car and hugged me and said he couldn't wait to talk to me again and that he wants to work this out (the long distance thing) some way, and he suggested that I pretend to be a warbride. He's definitely coming back in June, for D-Day and a couple of days before to help set up at the Memorial and do a few pre-D-Day things there. June 4th isn't that far away.
And no more kisses. Three is quite enough for one evening. Especially the first evening.
But this could not possibly have been a better day. Except for maybe the bat. I don't want to forget it.