January 10, 1980
He arrived to the birthday party that afternoon in a huge truck that was the color of light brown sugar. A formidable opponent it was, for the 9 inches of snow that had blanketed Vancouver that day, as it was very tall, sitting on huge tires and had a sturdy black roll bar on the back. Hopping out of his truck he looked just like an old west cowboy coming off of his horse. I noticed the way my mom looked at him like he was something special and I wondered what it was about this rugged stranger that appealed to her. He greeted her with a smile and discrete kiss. I couldn’t help but stare. Mom invited him into the house and took his winter coat and cowboy hat.
I stood half-heartedly hiding in the hallway of our little ranch rental home as my mom hung his coat. “Hi,” I said to the man who stood next to my mom. My natural curiosity never allowed shyness to win out and this was no exception. “What’s your name?”
His voice was gentle and kind, and he seemed to be a little nervous as he answered me, “I’m Vance.”
I drew in an excited breath upon learning his name. “My name is Vicki and it starts with a “V” too!” I exclaimed!
“That’s what I hear,” he replied with a friendly smile “Nice to meet you, Vicki.”
As I played with my cousins at the birthday party, I kept an inquisitive eye on the man whose name started with a “V” and who so clearly had the interest of my mom. He had a thick dark head of hair and he wore a long but groomed moustache and beard, both noticeably streaked throughout with gray. His eyes were dark and warm and behind all the facial hair he had an easy going smile. He wore an earthen brown suede vest that had a sheep sheer lining, a plaid western cut shirt with pearly buttons, jeans, and well-worn cowboy boots. His clothes, his truck, his mild and humble manner, everything about him were mysterious to me, and all throughout the party I kept careful track of the attention he gave my mom.
To Be Continued…