I met my future bride at school, Clemson University, to be exact. I'm Robert Groves and was originally from Central Texas, but I had received a great academic scholarship from there to study architecture, then come back home to design homes, buildings, and such. Their school of architecture is a very fine school. I had made many friends, most notably Jeffery Bridges II. He and I met my first day there and he was a local; well, Pendleton, SC, which is like five miles from the campus. We were both just starting our first year, in the same courses, and in many of the same classes, right from the beginning. Jeffery and I became fast friends and dated many girls, both at the school and some of the locals.
It was during my third year that I met Miss Scarlett Gardner. We were in a nightclub at a local campus hangout, and I asked this beautiful blond-haired southern belle for a dance. I had seen her dancing with several guys, Jeffery among others. I played up my best gentleman voice and said, "Miss, I don't want to be too forward, but I would consider it a rare privilege if you would honor me with a dance."
She came right back at me, with all the charm that a true southern belle possesses, "Well, I do declare; I have never in all my born days been asked in such a gentile and proper manner. I believe I can grant your desire for one dance."
It just so happened that the next song was an old slow song that was perfect for a waltz. I bowed to the lady, took her hand, led her to the floor, and held her in the perfect waltz hold with us about a foot apart, except for where our hands touched. Before the song was over we were in a tight clinch and stayed that way for two more slow songs in the set.
I could hear a fast song coming up at the end of the set, so I took her hand and escorted her back to her table where four other girls sat, and said, "It was an extreme pleasure dancing with such a lovely lady, I hope that I might be favored again tonight or perhaps to dance with you again some other night."
She immediately went back into that southern belle routine by saying, "I do declare that I may have developed the vapors, young man. I would consider it an honor and due repayment for the excellent footwork of your dancing to accept your generous offer; however I think I have had enough excitement for this evening. Would you care to escort me home, along with my chaperones, Miss Charlotte and Miss Rebecca?"
"I would consider it an honor and extreme privilege to be the escort for three such lovely ladies of the south; my arm, Ladies," I said as I stuck both arms up for them to take an elbow.
All the girls at the table giggled and a couple really let out the laughter, but two more women got up, grabbed an arm, and we strolled outside.
I had brought my totally restored 1958 Imperial up from Texas by this time. This is a robin's egg blue bottom with white top 4 door hardtop sedan that looks like it just came off the showroom floor. It is all original and only had 34, 000 miles on it. I bought it from a woman in Kerrville whose husband had bought it new. She kept it up and only drove it during the Texas winter, as she spent the rest of the year in Minneapolis, MN, where her family lived. She and her husband wintered in Kerrville for the last thirty years, but ten years ago her husband died up in Minneapolis, and she just didn't want to come down anymore. I saw the ad in the Austin paper, bought it, and lovingly restored it with some friends. I have owned the car for almost six years now, and since it was nice up here most of the year, I brought it up to get around in. I also had a ten year old Honda Civic that I drove most of the time.
I led the trio over to the Imperial and said, "My chariot awaits!"
Miss Charlotte said, "Whoa there, Mister, is this really your car?"
"Yes Ma'am. I bought it and have lovingly restored it back to its former glory. Do you like it?"
"What's not to like? But it must guzzle gas like crazy, right?"
"It's actually not too bad for a car this size and weight. It gets almost 20 most of the time. But then, I really don't step on it very often. I normally drive a ten year old Honda, but I wanted to take Miss Robin out for a spin."
"Miss Robin? You named your car Miss Robin," asked Miss Rebecca.
"Of course, I name all my cars after women. My Honda is named Julie."
Miss Scarlett asked, "What, no Miss Julie, only Miss Robin?"
"Why yes; my mother always told me to treat all women as ladies until they proved to me they weren't. Julie is a troublesome old bitch, she is old, ugly, and dies on me at times, but Miss Robin has never failed me once since she was restored. Well she actually has never failed me even before I started her restoration. Now, Ladies, would you like a ride home in style?"
I pushed the button on my key fob and the doors unlocked and the interior lights came on. I had restored the old girl, and also added some nice new things that no one would know about in a car show. Except for the strange engine, everything looked just like the original. But it did have the trunk unlock in the glove box, electric door locks, and an alarm system with a kill switch.
I opened the two passenger doors and allowed the women to enter my car. The seats had been leather with cloth inserts and I recovered them in plush leather throughout. Scarlett was given the front seat and Charlotte and Rebecca sat in the back. After closing both doors, I ran around the front, opened the driver's door, reached under the dash to hit my kill switch, then started the car and listened to it hum. The secret was a new 5.7L modern Hemi with fuel injection taken from a wrecked 2009 Dodge Charger, so it has the Multiple Displacement System (MDS) which ups the gas mileage quite a bit. The five speed automatic transmission also helps quite a bit in the mileage department. Weight is what keeps it down, not engine size or power. This engine is the same displacement of 354 CID but has 368 horses verses the 340 horses of the normally aspirated hemi from 1958.
Anyway, I got in started it up, pushed the 'drive' button and asked, "Where to ma'ladies?"
Scarlett gave me directions and we soon were at their sorority house and I ran around the car to open their doors. I then walked them to the door and said, "Goodnight, Ladies, it has been a very distinct pleasure to escort you home this evening."
As I received a kiss on the cheek from all of the women, each one passed me a piece of paper while I was holding their hand. As I got in the car and waved, I noticed that there was a phone number on each piece of paper. I have no idea when they wrote them, and I didn't care. I got three numbers in one night and did nothing but act as a gentleman.
That was the start of my courtship of Miss Scarlett Gardner. Having dated all three beauties for six months, and after first asking her father, I asked Scarlett for her hand. She said yes and I was in heaven. We planned to wed right after her graduation the year after mine. I was able to get a job in Greenville, SC, and started saving money for our first house. I kind of liked the area, and thought that we could maybe move back down to Texas later on. Scarlett had a large family here and in other areas of the Carolinas. Her father really didn't cotton to me a lot; I was the 'roughneck cowboy from Texas' and not proper company for his darling daughter, but he did relent when she told him she loved me.