It’s Like This By Bob Palmer

No one guarantees memories have to be good

I wonder if she remembers me? Could she even be thinking of me now? How much baggage from a single blind date is one supposed to drag around for 51 years?

I just know I have a hard time getting through Thanksgiving each year without remembering her.

She had dark hair pushed onto the top of her head, lacquered firmly into place in the required mid-60’s beehive. She wore glasses, I think. My memory tells me she was cute, but, truthfully, the image of her face has faded into the mist.

She was the younger sister, or the friend of the younger sister, of the student publications secretary at Texas A&M during the first year of my sentence there.

The secretary’s name was Judy. Either weary from having so many anemic pups hanging constantly around her desk or driven by a keen and noble sense of pity, Judy arranged blind dates for the Thanksgiving game between various consenting females and an odd assortment of deprived Journalism freshmen.

If you sense any similarity between this plot and the Burt Reynolds movie “The Longest Yard,” you are a wise and perceptive consumer of both cinema and life.

When I picked her up at the YMCA building that Wednesday afternoon, she said this would be her first Aggie bonfire and Thanksgiving game with arch-rival Texas. It would be the first for both of us.

As a freshman in the A&M Corps of Cadets, it had been my privilege (at least that was the way the upper classmen explained it) to help build the world’s largest bonfire. When not in class, for the past month, we cut trees, hauled them out of the Brazos bottoms and stacked them in a huge vertical pile behind Duncan Dining Hall.

Following the bonfire collapse 17 years ago, the annual event moved off campus as an unofficial student activity. In 1965 you were under no illusion Bonfire was a voluntary commotion.

You learned quickly that without organization, without tradition, without a system, all would have been chaos…

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