Alma Jo bit her lip as she gazed at the dresses in her closet. She’d finished her hair and her makeup. If only she could decide what to wear.
Why did I agree to go on a blind date?
A friend talked her into this. Whoever this man was, he couldn’t be as handsome as the one she’d dated a few weeks ago. Besides, anyone who needed someone else to find dates for him must have a problem.
Her eyes strayed to the clock beside her bed. Decide something. It’s getting late.
She pulled out a blue dress and fingered the fabric. It had a belt that fastened with a rose. This one made her feel comfortable, and tonight she’d need that.
But wait. What was that? The fabric on the sleeve was fraying. Her father’s long illness made it necessary to cut corners, but she refused to look dumpy. It could be mended, but not tonight.
The red dress. She tugged it out and held it up. Annie Ruth always told her the color looked great on her. After she slipped it over her head and zipped it, she peered at her reflection. A strand of hair hung in the wrong place and she snatched her comb to fix the damage.
A knock sounded on the front door, and her heart banged against her chest.
“Alma!” Her mother’s voice rang through the house. “Can you get that? Your daddy wanted biscuits, and I’ve got flour on my hands.”
A little breathless, she flicked curls one last time and hurried to answer.
A slender man with a fair complexion and a full head of dark hair stood on the porch. “Hello. You must be Alma Jo.”
“And you are Lloyd Thomas?”
“My friends call me Buddy, and I’d like to be yours.”
“So, I should call you Buddy?”
His blue eyes met hers as he gave a hearty chuckle. “Yes, please. I’d like that.”
Later she sat sipping coffee at the restaurant with him. They’d talked about siblings and parents. Now what? She hated searching for topics, and she knew nothing about him. “How exactly did Lloyd become Buddy?”
He smirked. “Well, Lloyd’s not my name. Actually, there’s a story about that. Would you like to hear it?”
She shrugged. “Sure.”
“I don’t really have a name.” He grinned. “Just the initials ‘C’ and ‘L’. My birth certificate says C.L. Thomas.”
“That’s a good question.” He chortled. “What do you call someone without a name?”
How odd. But he doesn’t seem upset. “I don’t know. What did you do?”
“My teachers wanted a name, so I told them to call me Lloyd.”
“Is that your father’s name?”
“No. His is Creed.”
“Well, that’s the C.”
“And Mother’s is Laura.”
“Hmm, Creed Laura Thomas. It doesn’t work for a boy.”
“Nope.” He shook his head and snickered. “But C. L. could stand for Cute Little Thomas.”
Alma Jo had just taken a gulp of coffee and she slapped a hand over her mouth. Her stomach quivered and she couldn’t hold back. As she doubled over with laughter, warm coffee spewed from her mouth.
She managed to get her cup back to the table without spilling any more. With a deep breath she worked to control herself. What a mess. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. I love coffee.” He guffawed.
For a moment her body shook with laughter again. But when she glanced down at her clothing, her cheeks grew warm. “I must look dreadful. My dress is drenched.”
He winked as he pressed a handkerchief into her hand. “It’s not so bad. You can blot it right up. You’re pretty when you laugh.”
“Thanks.” Her face flamed. “You never did explain about why you’re called Buddy.”
“Someone called me that in high school.” He chuckled. “It seemed to fit, so everyone started using it.”
“Yes.” She smiled as she gazed into his face. “It does fit.”
Alma Jo slipped his handkerchief into her purse. The next day she ran it through the wash. As she ironed it, she thought about Buddy. Despite her anxiety over the date, she’d had more fun with him than anybody she’d ever gone out with. Maybe he’d ask again.
On August 24, 1952, Alma Jo and Buddy married in the chapel of Highland Park Baptist Church. They were married almost fifty-six years when Momma stepped into glory. Dad followed about two and a half years later. I wonder if heaven’s full of laughter as they celebrate up there together.