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Out On The Mudline

Impromptu Saturday Date In Taylor Was Destiny

By W. P. Sissell

No Date And Had Wheels

It was early Saturday evening.  I had come into town by Wagner Street, turning north on the alley street that would lead me to Main between the Post Office and the Presbyterian Church.  As I  turned onto Main I heard a whistle.  Looking toward the sound I recognized two friends, Dolan Nichols and Johnny Craven.  Their waving seemed to directed toward me—wanting me to stop.  I obeyed their seeming wishes and parked.  

The two immediately piled excitedly into the cab of my pickup telling me, at the same time,  “We’ve got dates with three girls at Taylor but we don’t have any wheels. “Do you have a date?” I finally got them calmed enough to understand that I did not have a date and was interested, but they must tell me about their three dates.  I really never succeeded, but found out that all three were, in their words, beauties and I could just take my pick.  The one thing that I did know was that my cousin, James, found his wife, Doris, at Taylor and she was about the prettiest girl I had ever seen (still is.)

Besides that, when I was in the seventh and eighth grades Mr. Henry Henderson, our bus driver, used to come pick me up when he was carrying basketball teams to other schools.  One of those schools was Taylor, and they always had some very pretty girls on their team. I definitely wanted to, at least, gaze upon these girls that Dolan and Johnny called beauties.  When I asked my friends how they thought we were going to manage with three couples in the one seat of the pickup they were quick to answer, “Oh, we’ll probably stay around the house and play cards and talk.”  They went on to say that they didn’t have enough money to go to the show or get something to eat  (they probably thought that because I was a veteran I would supply the money too).   

The Fatal Choice

When we got to the Oaks’ house, we were told that the  Oaks sisters had already walked up to the Shipp’s house and we could find them there.  As we parked and alighted I was hailed by Mr. Shipp, “Hey bud, how about selling me that pickup?”   My pickup was a 1946 Dodge (all plastic trim) which my Dad had just given me and I definitely did not want to sell my truck.  While Mr. and Mrs. Shipp talked, Johnny and Dolan went on into the house.  I followed as soon as I assured Mr. Shipp that I really didn’t care to sell my pickup.

It seemed that I was the only complete stranger in the house.  When they finally got around to introducing me to Miss Nannette Shipp—I had seen her sitting on a stool in the dining room, clad in a black brocade dress; WOW!  I had to agree with my friend’s evaluation.  I soon found out that Nannette Shipp was an Ole Miss coed in her second year.   We had a long, pleasant conversation and don’t you know that I chose her.  

She tells me the following:  The next Saturday afternoon Hazel (Oaks) was at Nannette’s.  Seeing that Nannette was dressing as for a date, she asked why.  Nannette recalls she told Hazel that I (Bill) would be there in a little while.

Hazel’s response was she had better go tell her sister so they could get ready – she just knew that the other boys would be there too.  Nannette told Hazel that I had made a date with her without mentioning the others.  When I arrived Nannette and her older brother (he was ready too) related the happenings to me so we stopped by the Oaks’. Would you believe that we got five people into the cab of that pickup.  I took the whole bunch out on the Mud Line to meet my mom and dad.  

That’s not the whole story but I’ve reached the limit for this time.  

The Saturday that we met was two weeks and sixty-two years ago.  We think that meeting was  destined.   Do have a great week.  Nannette and I are going to church at Taylor Methodist Church Sunday.  She’ll be back in the neighborhood where I found her—sitting on a stool wearing a black brocade dress.  

You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or 662-563-9879.

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