To start with, I'd like to point out that this story is true. Truly embarrassing. Nothing happened but it's one of those stories that even though it was nearly 35 years ago, I still haven't forgotten.
During the summer of 1983, when I was fourteen years old, I relented and gave up fighting to go to a family reunion. I hated the idea. It was summertime, I lived across the street from some kids my age, their parents had a pool and I would have rather spent the day with them, swimming and hanging out. The idea of going to a town half an hour away for a fish fry sucked, especially back then, compared to what people in the twenties and thirties remember today. We didn't have a lot of handheld video games, there were no cell phones and cars didn't get built with radio controls in the back seats or DVD players in the vehicles. Family road trips were the equivalent of a long drive through the gates of hell only to come out the other side and land in purgatory.
I wound up pleasantly surprised when my family arrived there, at that park where I would learn so much. There were far more people there than I expected. A lot of kids in my general age bracket, some older and a few younger. They chose a public park as the site of this year's family reunion. It would be a while before we were going to eat so being the adventurous youth that I was, I grabbed a soda from the cooler and ventured off towards the main section of the park where all the younger people were walking to and from.
Hanging out a while, a couple of the brood I recognized came over and asked if I wanted to play volleyball. "Yes" and thank god they asked me. The boredom set in quickly. Anybody that grew up in one town and went to reunions in a town the fraction of the size of their hometown knows how quickly the boredom sets in and can appreciate the frustration at that age. While we were playing volleyball, I started chatting with some of the other kids in the park. Not all of them were from the reunion. My two cousins had invited some friends.
After volleyball, we all took a break and were sitting around in one of the open shelters. Talking to some of the other kids made the time go by. Being from the bigger city some of the kids were envious. Hey, I thought, maybe this wouldn't be so bad. There was this redhead there. I had never seen her before. She was cute, really cute, and for a teenager well developed. It was easy to notice she was flirting. She didn't hide it well, or at all, and asked if I had a girlfriend. I still hadn't found my voice, so to speak, and hadn't really started dating much. I had a crush on the neighbor girl but nothing had happened yet.
We kind of wandered off together, talking and having a laugh. That was when it was announced to come back to the reunion area. We'd be eating soon. Amanda leaned in and said she wanted to ask me a question. Sure, I told her. She whispered it in my ear...sending an excited chill down my neck. I really didn't understand the question so when I answered her I left it open-ended and said, "maybe later." We were about to eat after all.
My mom, dad, and my brother were there at our table for dinner. As we sat and ate some of the best friend catfish I ever ate, I was distracted by what Amanda had asked me. The question, what the hell is that, repeated in my head like a skipping record. Most people were getting done with dinner when my dad asked me, "are you alright?" I told him I was just thinking about something someone wanted to give me and trying to figure out whether I should or shouldn't. So my dad, being the decent guy he was, and hearing this story from a thirteen-year-old in a public park, wants to know what I was offered and by who. Sure, I understand it now that I'm older.
"Tell me, what were you offered?" he asked me afraid it was drugs.
I wasn't sure and I told him so, explaining that the red-haired girl in the park offered me a "Golden Shower."
My dad left me sitting there. I watched as he went over to where my mom and her cousin were talking. There was some whispering and some laughter for a minute then the parents all had an oh my god look on their faces. My dad came back to the table and said, "come on kid, your mom wants to introduce you to someone" so I went with him.
Standing there where my mom was sitting, her cousin was coming back and the girl, Amanda was with her. Her cousin tells me, "I hear you two sort of met but let me introduce you to each other, formally. Amanda, this is your cousin, Jason.
I found out much later what that offer was. Needless to say, I didn't get one from her, nor have I ever asked or been offered one again. I also had the perfect argument to never go back to that little town for family reunions. If only the parents had found it a little less funny. Maybe the entire family on both sides wouldn't have known that night.