Miedo 3: Fragments of Fear
New Beginnings (Part Three)
I couldn’t believe it! The Western Kentucky University Campus is like a small city within a city to me. The WKU campus has a huge library, auditorium, store, student housing and dormitories, stadium, it even had its own police force with armed police! I was in awe. But the first place Ellen showed me was the campus radio station where she worked part-time as a DJ. Ellen introduced me to one of the other DJ’s and they both suggested I tune in that evening while Ellen was working her shift so I could listen to her at work and hear what kind of music they played.
I probably walked about with a dropped jaw when Ellen first showed me around. She introduced me to a couple of her friends from the dormitory she was staying in. I was so taken in by the scale of the campus I must have talked like a bloody idiot. Lucky for me, her friends were more interested in hearing my Yorkshire accent than what I was actually saying.
We had lunch in the campus cafeteria and Ellen laughed as I kept blabbing on about the campus and meeting her friends.
‘You haven’t met anyone yet or seen much of anything yet. Wait until we have the barbeque next week. All my friends from the Sorority will be there… lots of pretty girls who are dying to meet you.’
‘Now you’re making me nervous. Will it be all girls then?’
‘No, some of them will have their boyfriends with them as well, don’t worry.’
‘Thank God for that! So, what’s next?’
‘Finish lunch and then go see mom at the Bowling Green Public Library so you can see what she does. While you’re there, you can pick out a couple books to keep you occupied while I’m practicing for my recital. I’ll be playing guitar in the recital hall in a couple of weeks. I’ll get you a free pass to come and watch me!’
At the Bowling Green Public Library, Katie took us around the back to show us what she and her workmates did to broken books. They were all every enthusiastic about it. You wouldn’t believe the state some of the books were returned in. Covers torn, pages torn, wrinkled, and stained, binders pulled away or missing completely… Nothing could deter them from trying to fix ‘em up. When I saw how they could transform them, I was nothing short of amazed.
Book repair is a science. I guess that’s why they have degrees in Library Science… Makes sense to me. Anyway, book menders have won my respect. Why? Anyone else would throw those books in the bin. Not these ladies, they were miracle workers and I told them as much too.
While waiting for Katie’s shift to end, I browsed all the sections and then registered so I could borrow a couple of books… It was the perfect solution to an already blissful day. Katie then took us for tea… er, dinner (grin) before dropping me off at the towers where I could tell Nammie all about my day before tuning into the WKU radio station.
The barbeque at Lampkin Park the following week was out of the world. The park has lots of large tables with benches, and grills for doing barbeques. We didn’t have anything like that in Hull! It was a lovely hot day with a blue almost cloudless sky. The grass and the trees showed off their hues of green while folks sat around on the grass or at the benches laughing and talking.
The girls in Ellen’s Sorority brought all kinds of side dishes with them. The guys got a couple of the grills started and put steaks, hotdogs, burgers, you name it on them. I’d never seen so much food. Some of the guys played for the WKU Hilltoppers, the university’s American football team… big fellas.
As the guys and dolls arrived in their own time with huge smiles and hugs, many a time, Ellen would call them over during initial salutations to show off her new, English husband.
‘Before I went to England for my junior year, I told all the girls in the sorority and at work that I was going to England to find a husband. And now I’ve made good on it, I’m going to show you off!’
It was the first time I felt a bit uncomfortable, but what does one say to that?
The Bowling Green Church of the Nazarene was nothing like the dingy little church with its dozen or so members that I was used to back in Hull.
Although not an overly huge building, it was rather contemporary for the time and must have had around one hundred members and there were lots of families with children so the church offered all kinds of services with Sunday School classes for different age groups as well as Youth groups. Katie and Ellen sometimes sang in the choir, I began to help out with one of the Sunday School classes. They has a lot of after-church activities too… everyone would bring a favourite dish of food they cooked and while some were sorting out the food and drinks, we would go outside and do different sports. It was where I had my first experience at playing softball
‘Kev, wanna join in?’ said Stephen
‘Ok, you take the bat… Do you know how to play?’
Stephen briefly explained the game.
‘Oh it sounds a bit like rounders that we used to play in the park when I was a kid, except we used a cricket bat instead of a stick thingy.
The guys all laugh at me.
‘This here’s a baseball bat.’ says Ricky laughing as he hands it to me. ‘You hold it like this, and swing it like this. Here give it a try.’
‘Hold it a little higher and swing with one smooth motion like this… That’s it.
‘Boy I miss the cricket bat. How am I supposed to hit the ball with this thing?’
‘Watch Stephen when I throw the ball…
Do you think you can do it?’
‘I’ll give it a go!’
‘Ok, ready, Kev?’
Nothing followed by laughter. One of the guys literally doubled over.
‘Er, it helps if you don’t close your eyes while you swing, Kev.’
‘That was fast!’
‘This is nothing. You ought to see pros playing baseball! Ready? Keep your eyes on the ball, Kev!’
‘Way to go, Kev!’
I got lots of Cheers this time
‘Oh my God, I actually hit it!’
‘You’re a natural, Kev.’
‘Beginner’s luck, more like!’
I was right. I only hit the ball a couple more times before I was out. I was even worse at throwing the ball. But, I wouldn’t exchange my first experience playing softball for the world. I had a great time and the guys were fantastic.
I do hope you enjoyed this third part of chapter two and appreciate any comments and suggestions to things that could be improved. If you have missed the first four episodes, you can find them under my Miedo page. Thanks again for all your support.