Being married to a Marine for 40 years has it’s effects. I’m more administrative than poetic. Howdy spent 22 years in the Marine Corps as an administrator. So I also like my ducks in a row, and as Howdy would say, “Quacking in unionson.” Yes, that is what he always said. Saying all of that is to say, I got the horse before the cart. I was telling you about 1968 and how the Lord touched our lives. Let me go back to when Howdy and I first met.
I believe that the Lord ordained our meeting. Looking back I can now see how the Lord put it all together. I was a 17 year old senior at Triadelphia High School in Wheeling, West Virginia. My parents had a long standing party at their home on New Years Eve. My father came from a large family and we always had his parents, his brothers, sisters and their spouses. My mother was an only child but her father and step mother were there. Then there were the friends, many friends. We always had a house full of family and friends.
It was New Years Eve of 1956 and I was at another party. My mother called and asked me to join the family and bring my friends. My party joined Mother and Dad’s party. We got there about 11:45 pm. I had taken the coats of my friends into my bedroom and was just coming out into the living room. Mother was coming in from the kitchen. Mother said, “Georgia, there is someone I want you to meet.” Now my parents and Bea and Howard Sligar had been friends years ago. In November the Sligar’s dropped by my parents home. I had never met them but as my parents visited, I made hors d’ oeuvres and drinks and then served them. It must have impressed Bea and Howard. Their son, Howdy had just come back from Okinawa and had just reenlisted in the Marines and was working at the Marine Training Center in Warwood. W.Va.
As Mother said that, a young man, with his back towards me, stood up. He turned around and looked at me. He was not in his Marine uniform, he was dressed in a charcoal black wool suit, white shirt and tie but all I could see were stars and hear bells. That’s right, the moment I laid eyes on Howdy Sligar, I saw stars and heard bells. Without a word I was so head over heels in love with this man. We politely said hello.
Then midnight struck. As was our custom we were all hugging and kissing and going out into the yard to shoot off the rifle and shotguns. (We lived way out in the country) My friends and I were sitting on the couch, Howdy came over and asked my date if he could kiss me to welcome in the New Year. Well, what was the poor guy to say, but yes. Howdy started to bend over, I started to stand up and we met in the middle of a smart nose bump. It was bad but funny at the same time. No retakes, darn.
My friends and I then went back to our party. At 1 am Mother called and said that Howdy wanted to talk to me. I sent my date upstairs for a Pepsi or something. As I talked to this man whom I had just met and knew nothing about, I was still overwhelmed by the sound of his voice. He asked me if I’d be free to date if he called me in a couple of weeks. I said yes.
Next time I will share more of the Marine, this young girl, the first date, a proposal and yes, a good kiss.