The limo stopped in front of 4202 Bradwood Road, the home of my Grandparents I had been visiting the past month. James, the driver, stepped out of his ultra upscale daily living quarters where he ushered around some of the most well known political and social people of Texas and Oklahoma. Me, I was out of my league and then again I proved to myself I knew when to hold 'em, I knew when to fold 'em, and I certainly showed I knew when to walk away. I had held my own with the "big boys," and walked away at precisely the right moment. Heck I should have been proud of myself when instead I was very sad.
Billy and I had a short lived love story killed by mistrust. Something he had grown up with. I grew up with the same mistrust yet money triggered a false sense of confidence in him called pride. That reminded me of the Oklahoma town I drove through last month called Pride. I sure wondered why anyone would name a town Pride. I suppose it's like lemons and lemonade. Depends on how one thinks.
Sitting in the back of such an elegantly upholstered moving vehicle should have made even the finest of a lady happy. But I was feeling quite empty. I am sure it was the emotionally charged day I had just experienced. I felt like my internal battery had died. Or like a huge balloon someone poked a pin into and as I deflated so had my energies. Just then James opened my door and extended his hand as an aid to my exit. I reciprocated and stepped out of my once promised future now gone. James walked me to the front door where Nana and Duke greeted us. Duke was so excited he was crying and rolling around like the lost child who just found its mother. James got down on one knee and spoke to Duke with a gentle kind voice. Duke responded by sitting quietly at James feet. You can always tell a good man by how he treats an animal. We both walked Duke outside for his evening relief time. James turned to leave but before doing so looked into my eyes and said, "Miss Julianna, yousse juss give dat boy some time. Lets him grow some, den see hows yousse feelin' on da insides of yo heart. You take care now."
James was from deep in the heart of Louisiana where they spoke half French and half something else. I think it is called Cajun. I loved to listen to him speak for I had never heard such a combination of languages before. Maybe James was right. Billy did need some time to grow. But how would I ever get the sight of him on one knee extending that gorgeous ring towards me.... out of my head. Unfortunately his tone was a beggars tone, desperate to right the wrong he had done to the woman he said he loved. He was but a boy. A long legged man. I had loved a boy. Sadness overwhelmed me. Pity overwhelmed me for Billy and for me. The Governor's Grandson and all that went with it was out of my reach because that was my decision. Marrying Billy now would never have worked out in the end.
Nana and I sat in the summer house off the main house quarters for hours that night. She sat quietly while I told her what had happened at the Governors ranch that day. How Billy had set me up, not asking me where the million dollars had came from. Rather believing I was hiding something from him. I told Nana how Daddy Justice was there sitting all big and full of nasty southern pride. How he and Billy and Governor Connally cornered me like three rodeo boys on steeds cornering a small calf. How I came out fighting like Cassius Clay but also like a lady. It was the three of them that ended up in barrels like rodeo clowns hiding from the charge of the bull. Nana was sipping her usual Canadian Club laughing at my descriptiveness. Cant say I didn't join in with her by having a couple Canadian Club shots myself. Duke seemed quite content laying very close to me picking up every tone of voice I expressed. When my voice rose with intensity so did Duke. We had to giggle yet appreciate his sincere loyalty to me.
The door to the summer house swung open and a voice said, "What in the sam hell are you two doing out here in the middle of the night. Why I searched the house over for you two."
Nana and I broke into deep laughter at Granddaddy standing there in his satin pajama's I know were made of the finest materials from Dillard's department store. The best in the area. Granddad asked if everything was okay. Then shook his head and went back to bed. And so did we.
I decided to wait until the following day to make any decisions regarding when to head north to Amarillo to hit Route 66 back toward Los Angeles. I was going to find my way back to my original travel plan after all that had transpired. I was glad to be alive and glad to have experienced most of what went down. Especially meeting and falling in love with the Governor of Texas's Grandson, Billy Connally.