I was sitting in a coffee shop at LAX going over some notes and music for my studio session in Nashville. I was oblivious to anything around me and totally focused. I was chain smoking and drinking coffee trying to stay awake as I’d been up for almost twenty-four hours.
Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned slowly and looked up. There stood a vision of beauty. She was about 5’7” tall, beautiful blue eyes, long light brown hair, and a warm smile. Have I died and gone to heaven, I thought.
“Hi. Is your name Ronnie?” she asked. “Ronnie Karcz?”
“Yes it is. Do I know you?” I answered.
“Well, you should,” she answered softly, still smiling.
“Y’know…if I’ve met you and forgotten you, I should be put to sleep. I don’t think I’d ever forget someone as beautiful as you.”
“Well, thank you, kind sir. May I?” she responded, pointing at the empty seat next to me.
“You’ll have to forgive me. I’m still in shock at the vision,” I answered as she sat down. “Please tell me about how you know me.”
“Why don’t we get a booth? You’re going to need to be comfortable, I think,” she said with a wink.
As we walked over to a vacant booth I was thinking, Who in the hell is this?
“I don’t even know your name,” I said as I slid into the booth facing her. She was absolutely gorgeous…peaches and cream and with very little makeup.
“I’m Nancy,” she responded and paused. “Still drawing a blank, Ronnie? I can’t believe you’d forget me.”
“Why don’t you tell me the story about how you know me,” I responded. “Maybe that’ll jog my memory.”
“Okay. You’re from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. You were a somewhat shy person around other kids but you were a great little athlete. You have diabetes and that was always a big concern of yours and by the way, cigarettes and coffee aren’t good for you. You always loved fishing and working on cars. You played trumpet for a short time in junior high school. You were also very smart and on the honor roll a lot.”
I was totally engrossed and mildly in shock.
“You can’t be one of my doctors because I outlived the six who said I’d be dead by the age of thirty. By the way, I drink Crown Royal, too…lot’s of it and especially after moments like this,” I commented sarcastically. “Who are you, really?”
“Just a minute more,” she answered. “Do you remember a place called Laurel Pond?”
“Sure I do,” I answered with a smile. “I have a lot of great memories there.”
“Do you remember the little wooden footbridge that crossed in front of the waterfall?”
“You bet I do. That was good fishing right there,” I answered.
“Do you remember a skinny girl with a flat chest and braces who stood about two inches taller than you? Do you remember holding her hand as you walked across the bridge? Do you remember how scared she was to walk across the bridge? Certainly you remember kissing her? It was your first, as I recall?”
I was stunned and in utter disbelief as I stared at her.
“Nancy? Nancy Waters?” I asked as a smile came to my face. “Jeez, that’s what? Twenty five years ago?”
“Twenty three and five months actually,” she answered with a snicker. “But who’s keeping count?”
I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting with the first girl I’d ever kissed and three thousand miles away from where it happened. I could feel a little bit of sweat forming on my brow. My hands were damp and my heart was beating wildly.
“You dumped me,” I said and then burst out laughing.
“I wasn’t very smart back then,” she joked. “I should have run away from my parents when they moved, huh?”
Nancy and I talked for about an hour…reminiscing…rekindling an old flame…catching up. It was pretty hard not to want it to happen.
“How long before your plane leaves?” she asked.
“A couple of hours,” I answered, looking at my watch.
“Me too,” she answered, her tone almost disappointing. “What do you think? Do you think we can take a day off from life…just the two of us?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” I quipped.
It was a beautiful day and an evening filled with lots of conversation, a great dinner, and we made long wonderful love for what seemed an eternity. It went way too fast.
It was a slow silent walk as I walked Nancy to her departure gate the next morning. I didn’t want this to end and I know she didn’t either. However, we both had to get back to the real world. As we got to the departure area she stopped and turned to me.
“I didn’t ask you, Ronnie…have you got a girlfriend? I know you’re divorced and you’ve got a little boy.”
“No. I don’t have a girlfriend. What about you?” I asked, hoping.
“Me, too,” she said with a sigh. “I’m footloose and fancy free. Maybe one of these days I’ll take a vacation to Idaho. I’ve got friends in Sun Valley. Do you live close to Sun Valley?”
“I play music there at Elkhorn. It’s just over the hill,” I said, smiling. “I can always use a hand on the ranch, too.”
We fell into a heavy embrace and a long kiss and then we slipped through each other’s fingers, both with tears in our eyes. I could feel her eyes on my back as I walked away and I fought a strong urge to turn and walk back to her.
After my plane was airborne a melody got to running around in my mind and then the words came. When I landed in Nashville my friend Richard was there to meet me.
“Are you ready to go to work now?” he asked sarcastically.
“You bet I am. I’ve got another song written. I want to throw in with the other six we’re going to do. I wrote it on the plane on the way here. I hope that’s not a problem,” I said.
“That’s cool,” he said. “It must’ve been a hell of a layover in L.A., huh?”
“Yes it was, Richard. Yes it was. I know I’ll never forget it,” I answered quietly.