First Kiss

I absolutely LOVE the Family Reunions in Nashville. Friends of Country Music get together, play music and sing… the best of the best.

It’s one of my favorite music videos to watch, one after another. Usually a Sunday afternoon, when I settle in for a nice nap, either before or after, I catch myself pulling up on my phone and searching for my favorites. Always — Gene Watson — comes up. I fell in love as a teenager, listening to his music in Nashville around the swimming pool. He sang new songs, old songs. Any song…

Today – the youtube that came up with Gene Watson included another favorite, Larry Gatlin.

Larry was one of the many country singers who stayed in the same hotel where my family stayed whenever we visited Nashville in the summers ‘back then’. I was familiar with many of the singers at that time, we all sat around the pool in the evening listening to whoever was playing, or joined in singing various songs, just having a good time. Often, songwriters would try out their latest songs right there around the pool.

That summer, I heard “Broken Lady” for the first time around the pool.

Friends had gone to Nashville with us that year and their car was parked in our underground parking garage. I remember Kitty and I had gone to the motel to put our feet up for a while and change before the evening event, and the motel called up to the room, asking about a car in our parking space. Evidently the tag had blown off the window and they wanted someone to run down and stick a new tag on it, so the tow trucks didn’t tow it away. So, I went to the desk, got the tag and took it down to the garage.

On the way back up to the room, I heard someone shout, “Hold the door.”

I did. I pushed 4th Floor. He pushed 7th Floor.

The elevator started up and I found myself wrapped in a pair of strong arms looking into the bluest eyes I had ever seen. That kiss swept me off my feet. At the 4th Floor, the door opened and I came to long enough to remember that I was just 15, still not yet 16 (although he probably didn’t realize that – since I was leaving a parking garage with keys in my hand – and I definitely wasn’t built like the average 15 year old), and stepped off the elevator. He held the door and invited me “up”.

I smiled and said, “No thanks, but the kiss… WAS. Amazing.”

Over the next couple of years, I’d bump into him and he’d invite me “up” – each time I smiled and refused. The last time I saw him, he asked… So, why did you never take me up on my offer.

I said, “I didn’t want a casual relationship. And when you first asked, I was only 15. You scared the socks off my feet!”

His eyes were huge. He couldn’t believe I was just 15 years old. And then he reminded me, “The dinner club was on the 7th floor. I was inviting you to have a drink.”

I grinned (innocence), “I didn’t know that. I thought you were inviting me to your room.”

We had a good laugh… And have laughed about it since. He thought I was much closer to his age, and has reminded me on occasion, that I was certainly more ‘mature’ than most 15 year olds, and I was carrying a set of keys.

Yes, I was…

And, Larry, nobody has lived up to ‘that kiss’ yet!


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