And, then Ray DIED!
It had been a while since we broke up. I dated and then got engaged to EJ and Ray had been married to a girl in Yuma for 5 months. I am so happy he was able to be married and enjoy the fruits of a loving spouse and everything that comes with being married. Unfortunately, on deployment in the Indian Ocean there was an accident as he took off from the aircraft carrier.
At the young age of 23, I had invested a lot of my time, and yes, my heart in Ray. I was lost in which way to go. At this time in my life, I had not been involved in a church and was not spending any time in the Word. However, I always had that seed in me that knew right and wrong and convicted me to do what was right and good. Did I fail at times, YES, but the Holy Spirit was still there, ALWAYS.
One of the many results from Ray’s death for me is that it gave me clarity in the fact that it was not fair to be with EJ just because he was stable and the ingrained idea that I was supposed to get married because I had graduated college and the next step in the life plan was marriage.
It was time for me to get a real job. I sent out a zillion resumes in my field, public relations, for a few months and did not get many interviews. I thought about being a pharmaceutical rep and went on an interview in New Orleans. While waiting for my second interview appointment, I heard that an airline in Atlanta was hiring flight attendants, what a fun, adventure that would be. Ray loved to fly and I needed to do this to insure that I would not have a fear of flying, revel in the adventure and then close that chapter of my life (as much as that is possible). Within a three week period, I had interviewed, accepted a job and was in Atlanta training to be a flight attendant. It was right up my alley.
In a little less than a year, my feet were tired and the smelly business men that drank a little too much on short flights home on Fridays were about to wear me out. So, with a layover in Memphis, I grabbed a newspaper, searched the classifieds and sent a resume out to a HUGE health club chain (Q The Sports Club) that was looking for someone in promotions. Perfect job to use my degree, get some public relations experience and of course I already had some health club experience.
I got the job and rented a studio apartment in Midtown Memphis. It was old, but cool with beautiful French doors, eclectic neighbors, and a few mouse roommates. The first week I was there, I saw a mouse in my kitchen. I had never seen a mouse inside that close. So, I did what any logical, southern debutante would do. I grabbed the phone, jumped on top of my bed, and called my daddy… in Mississippi…. 4 hours away.
The landlord stopped by the next day and I told him about the fact that I had some new roommates and they were not helping me with the rent. He helped me to evict them with some traps. As I look back, I am sure the landlord just rolled his eyes when he had to put the traps in there and then check them for me daily because I would not go in the kitchen while they were in there. Every evening when I walked in, I would tell them that I was home and they better run to someone else’s apartment. Talking to mice, hmmm, a wee bit crazy.
This was the beginning of the single life ~ out on my own, finding my way (and losing it at times). I had a great time working for The Q and met Kelly Jo who became one of my best lifelong friends. After about a year in Memphis, I had the opportunity to transfer to the Austin, TX club and Kelly Jo was not far behind, transferring a few months later.
I was there for about a year and loved Austin, it is a beautiful city. The job was a bit of a dead-end unless I wanted to go into Sales, and believe me, getting people to sign a gym contract did not entice me a bit, no matter the money. I felt bad taking people’s money to join a gym when I knew they would not last until February 1 when their New Year’s resolution wore off.
So, I packed up and moved back to Mississippi to regroup. Oh, what to do next?
Don’t worry; I am getting to that fateful day when my gun-toting ranger sauntered into my life.
The Park Wife
Read Chapter 4 – Boomerang Kid