December 15, 2006

Sweet 16

AW wrote a post today about 16. Read it, it is a good one. Makes me remember 16, which wasn't really that long ago but seems like a lifetime ago. Sixteen was a mixed bag for me. I loved it, but I'd not like to go back. And sweet? Not a word I knew then.

16. I had worked at Dairy Queen starting at 14 so that I could spring for a car at 16. My daddy said the Zephyr I wanted with the 2 Holly 4-barrel carbs was "too fast for a girl". So I got Dave. Dave was a Chrysler Lazer and he talked. If you left the doors open or the hatch he told you. If you left on your lights, he told you. I remember Wendy's commercials where everyone thanked Dave Thomas - so we began thanking Dave for reminding us to turn off those lights. I loved that car. I bought Dave before I turned 16, had my permit three months before and my license on the day I turned 16 and there was no looking back.

I'd take all my buddies to school and we'd get bent on a quiet country road before getting to school. Then after school we'd head to the trailor court to watch soaps, eat and drink beer before my shift at the D.Q. at 5. I'd head to work and after work we'd do shots till my mom came home (remember I was supposed to be in bed at 9 on days I didn't work!). I could drink a 5th of Beam at 16. I can't even smell the stuff now. I remember my sweet 16 like it was yesterday. Though not fondly. I spent the night and most of the next day in the tub with alcohol poisoning!

The summer I was 16 had us at the lake or the pool. Back then I could turn heads in a bathing suit and those tans! We'd sit with our feet in the water singing along to my bad guitar playing or Ozzy Ozbourne or Hendrix and Playing the bass cords to Rising Sun and giggling. Of course, flirting with the lifeguards was mandatory. I'd made it a point that year to kiss both of the cute lifeguards and the checkout guy at the beer barn - I won $50 bucks for it too.

We'd roll down the windows in Dave and crank up Janis and blow through the McDonald's parking lot so everyone knew we'd been there. Or we'd cruise the strip going nowhere but loving it. We hit every cool concert within a 50 mile radius that year (well, the ones we could afford). The Dead, Bob Dylan, Kansas, Clapton even a christian rap group called DC Talk. I seem to remember a couple country ones too. Oh, and Souxie and the Banshees and the Femmes. I got in a jam at the Dylan concert and had to be rescued by some very sweet Harley guys who made it a point to put me at stage-middle for the concert. Bob sang "Just Like a Woman" right into my face - though my sixteen year old self was just thrilled I could touch him as he sang.

I was never a popular girl in the traditional sense but everyone knew me. My crowd consisted of farmers and firefighters, slackers and druggies. We threw a few jocks and cheerleaders in there - cause they usually had the cash - I was the "smart one" but mostly I knew just what to say to score booze or beer. We were a motely crew but we knew how to have a good time. We'd do weekend trail rides on horses so we could drunk square dance or we'd hit a field and slam dance to the femmes. We'd dirt-bike to parties or go mud-bogging and see whose truck we'd blow up. It wasn't about what category we belonged, it was just about the good time.

My best friend got beat up by her boyfriend that year. Badly. So, we threw a party in a field. Invited everyone we knew. The boyfriend came. He had to be carried out. Boys and girls alike had their fun with him and by fun I mean he got a taste of what it was like to be bloodied up. I'd bet he never hit a woman again.

Sixteen was the year of changes for me too. The steady boyfriend dumped me. The best friend left me behind and the focus was more on college than high school for me. But sixteen, man that was a time I'll not forget soon.

The song that takes me back? Tupelo Honey. I don't know why exactly but it was the song playing on the last night of the summer as we sat next to the lake drinking irish coffees and laying in the sand watching the stars. There were just a few of us - one of whom was my on-again, off-again boyfriend since the 5th grade and still a good friend today. I'm sure we were wondering what was in store for us in the year ahead. But laying there in the dark with the moon dancing on the water - a good buzz and some good friends was all that mattered.

By the time Brown-Eyed Girl hit the tape deck we were dancing in circles, laughing and singing. Sure that 16 was so great 17 could only be better! In some ways we were right. 17 brought DH into my life . . . it's not been the same since!

Posted by Oddybobo at December 15, 2006 11:18 AM | TrackBack

yeah I would not do it AGAIN...

but the Christmas cards from my girlfriends have been a sweet reminder...

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at December 15, 2006 12:55 PM

Sounds like a blast! And like something never to repeat... ;-)

Posted by: Richmond at December 15, 2006 01:11 PM

my 16 was so tame by comparison.....

ah well, to be that young and stoopid again!

Posted by: caltechgirl at December 15, 2006 01:31 PM

Whew! I led a comparatively sedate existence... ;)

Posted by: pam at December 15, 2006 03:08 PM

geee Oddy, aren't you glad we didn't put everything down? ;)

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at December 15, 2006 04:45 PM

And here I thought we Catholic girls knew how to party!!

Posted by: Mrs_Who at December 16, 2006 01:41 PM

Mrs. Who?!

Posted by: Bitterroot at December 19, 2006 08:45 AM