Back in 1957, kissing Carol Ann behind the barn in the middle of
a windswept field of Goldenrod with a sudden deer watching was something
special, let me tell you. Back then, bobby sox and big barrettes and ponytails
Like many farmers, Carol Anns father had a console radio
in the living room, and every Saturday night the family would gather
round with bowls of ice cream and listen to The Grand Ole Opry. It was
beamed all the way from Nashville I was told more than once, since
I was from Chicago and sometimes wore a tie so how could I know.
On my first visit, I asked Carol Ann if the Grand Ole Opry was
the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of country music and she said not to say that to
her father. She suggested I just tap my foot to the music and let him watch me.
Otherwise, Id best be quiet and say Yup, Nope or
Maybe if asked any questions which she didnt think would
happen. No need to say much more, she said, and after a few visits, I
Over time, I learned to tap my foot pretty good to the music
because when Id come to visit, her father would insist I have a bowl of
ice cream with the family. I liked the ice cream but not so much the Grand Ole
Opry. Id been weaned on Sinatra in the city. Big difference, let me tell
But back in 1957 kissing Carol Ann behind the barn was something
special since we couldnt do much more until I found employment. Only
then, her father said, could we get married. I found no jobs in town, however,
for a bespectacled man with degrees in English.
Still, I always found the weekend drives from Chicago worth the
gas my Rambler drank because kissing Carol Ann brought a bit of heaven down
behind that barn, especially on summer nights when fireflies were the only
stars we saw when our eyes popped open. It was like the Fourth of July with
tiny sparklers twinkling everywhere.
Now, 55 years later, Carol Ann sometimes mentions fireflies at
dusk as we dance behind the cows to coax them into the barn for the night.
Im still not too good with cows despite my John Deere cap, plaid shirt
and overalls which proves, she says, that all that kissing behind the barn in
1957 took the boy out of the city but not the city out of the boy.
Hee Haw is all I ever say in response because I know
why Im there. Its to keep tapping the cows on the rump till we get
them back in the barn so we can go back in the house and start with a kiss and
later on come back downstairs for two big bowls of ice cream.