So, when I left Big Stone this morning, I had every intention of asking Holli Gregg to be my girlfriend. I did not, however, have any sort of agenda to that effect. This made for an interesting day. We met up at Kinko’s where she was printing a present for her brother’s girlfriend. We got into her parent’s car (a PT Cruiser!) and headed to a religious gifts store for Dad. He needed his Fontanini nativity sets for the God children, and there was a lot to buy. It was some $350+. We even got to pick out miscellaneous figures, so Holli picked Esther, because it’s her favorite Bible story, and I picked Samuel and Judith because I like the nicknames Sammy and Judy. Dad informed me that there are more than 2,000 figurines in the Fontanini set, and Holli joked that she would like to see a pope figurine. I think if they can put Indian War Elephants near the Baby Jesus, then JPII should be near there somewhere.
They boxed it up, rang it up, and we drove to the mall. We walked around because she needed to find a present for her sister, Marissa, and we started the name game. The name game goes like this. You get points for seeing people you know or recognize. You get one point if you know that person’s name, or if you can express “carnal” (Bryce’s word for it) knowledge of the person. The second part is up to the opponent’s discretion. You get two points if you actually strike up a conversation with that person. In this game, the difference in scores is all that really matters, so if you see someone that you both know, it effectively cancels out. When Bryce and I played this yesterday, we ended the day with me ahead by 8 points thanks largely to the 2 point rule.
The game started off with Holli running into her brother’s girlfriend’s grandmother, and it didn’t get any better from there. She found something for Marissa, and I (in turn) found something for my aunt Karin with aid from Holli on the idea and Britty on the verification (by phone). By the way, parentheses are the new commas (boyee).
My first opportunity to ask her was lunch in the mall. But, I couldn’t get the courage. That and I kept looking around for more people I knew. When we play the name game in the mall, I look a lot like I have no idea where anything is. Finished lunch, back in the car, and off to Best Buy. She was looking for a camera memory card for her Florida trip, but she felt we could do better at Wal-mart.
She remembered that she had a whole list of things to get at Wal-mart, which made this my second opportunity. We were pushing a cart around, looking couply, but how do you just launch into that? We ended up in a clock aisle, when she saw that she had a voicemail. I took the opportunity to call Holly Smith, who was expecting
me to “come back with a girlfriend or else”. Long story short, I wasn’t very smooth, and Holly informed me that asking her out in Wal-mart was a bad idea. It was decided to head to Falls Park.
A couple things helped me out here. One, it was cold, and she didn’t wear her coat. Two, there was a family taking pictures (and they looked really cold, too), so we had something to laugh at. And three, there was actually water moving, so it gave us a nice ambience. We sat on a bench, and I put my arm around her, and I think I asked her how she was, like, three times. Then I just went for it. I told her I liked her a lot, and she said that she liked me, too. I said that that was good because that leads into my next question. Then I asked her if she, maybe, wanted to be my girlfriend.
And there was a pause.
I swear there was. I turned and looked at her, because up until that point I had been avoiding eye contact like Ray Charles (that was a Bryce simile, there). Then she smiled and said, “Yes”. Then I said, “That’s great. Good news.” She asked me what I would have done if she would have said, “No”, and I said, “It would have been a really awkward drive back to my car.”
From there we drove to aunt Karin’s place. I figure, I’ll get brownie points for showing up unannounced to visit the day after Bryce and I “snubbed” them. We didn’t really snub them, we just took too much time shopping for gifts and had to get going. I also figure that I’ll get brownie points for showing off the new girlfriend, and you know how Grandpa is with girls new to the family. Imagine my disappointment when I got there and no one was home! I called Karin, she gave me the keycode, and we let ourselves in. Eventually Grandma and Grandpa returned, stories in tow.
There was a reasonable amount of chit-chatting, then a couple stories, then some more chit-chat, then some more stories. G’ma and G’pa were in prime form. At one point, they were telling different (but related) stories at the same time. That took talent to listen to. There was one story that ha-ha-Holli (with an ‘h’ and a PT cruiser) and I walked away with. I have tried to tell it in as try to Alyce Miles style as possible.
There was a family that lived next to the Miles family in Doland (that’s D-O-L-A-N-D) that was poor. I mean, they were poor poor. They didn’t even have a car, they would have to borrow ours all the time, you know. Bright kids, too, all of them. There was one named Mary (Patty?) that went to USD, and she was just named Honorable Alumnus a couple years back. She married a doctor from USD, and they moved, you know, and had kids. Well, one night she wakes up, and here her husband had had a brain aneurysm and was having a seisure. He never did wake up, and he died a week later. Well, she was very upset. She never quite got over it. So she moves to Sioux Falls, and she was just devastated, you know. Well, and one time, she was going to take Kevin and some of his boys somewhere across town, and he offered to drive. She goes, “No, Kevin, I need to drive”, because she was a smoker and kept her window down the whole time, you see. And Kevin said she was a horrible driver. Well, one winter she was driving on the Interstate, and she turned onto the exit, and she was smoking, of course, with her arm out the window. And she lost control of the car, and it rolled in the ditch, and cut her arm off. They had to amputate it.
(I pause here to let that sink in. A depressed woman has her arm severed in a freak automobile accident. It gets worse.)
Well, that made things worse, you know. And we, of course, brought flowers and cards to the house, but she wouldn’t answer the door. It was a beautiful house, just huge, and I don’t know why she bought a house that big, she would say, “Alyce, this house feels too big for me.” So, her siblings would come and stay with her for weeks at a time, and try everything to cheer her up. And I would think, you know, she had everything going for her. Her poor daughter had grandchildren this high, and how can you be depressed around that? But, I guess. Well, she would never smoke in the house, so she went outside. And she had wrapped up in a blanket. And they think that she must have slipped and fallen into one of the window wells, you know, and FROZE TO DEATH.
(I’ll pause again as the horror sinks in.)
To add emphasis, Grandma leaned over to Holli when she pronounced the words “froze to death”, as if to say, never smoke around window wells. “And of course, you shouldn’t dwell on the horror of it, but I pray, I pray, that she was unconscious when she froze to death in the window well.” I tried to point out to her that by repeating the words “froze to death” and recounting the death in greater and greater details each time, she was in fact making it more and more horrific, but she couldn’t help herself. This goes to show that, while always entertaining, not all of Grandma and Grandpa’s stories are meant to be funny. Some are meant to give you nightmares. Forever.
We talked with the G-rents for nearly two hours, which was much longer than anticipated, but it was nice. I took the lead-in of “I could tell you some stories about Miles as a little boy…” as a good enough reason to leave. I actually started to say, “Well, I’d better be hitting the old dusty trail,” but shortened it to “Well, time to go.” In the car ride to Burger King (yes!), we recounted the details of the horrifying window well incident, how Grandma had begun calling her Polly and so my correction gave way to calling her “ha-ha-Holli with an h and an i”, how the fact that Holli was driving a PT Cruiser reminded Grandma of just how much she wanted one just like it, how both made sure to recount how many Iowa people, or license plates, they had seen recently, and how since Grandma didn’t put her hearing aid in, we had to spell a strange number of places, people, occupations, and other things. We said goodbye, packed it up, and I headed home. to play Trivial Pursuit and to save the world (with Lindsey and Chris) from David (with Bryce, Peter, and Tyler).
All-in-all, a pretty good day. :)