Some 40 years ago Pat was “in the popcorn business,” selling popcorn up and down the west coast. One day he ran out of popcorn at a ballgame and caught an early - and uneventful - flight home to central California.
The original flight - the one he wasn’t on - crashed.
An airport employee who felt scorned by a flight attendant refusing his advances opened fire mid-flight. There were no survivors.
When Pat arrived home, he found his buddy, under the impression that Pat was dead, drunk at the local bar. Realizing what could have been, Pat joined in the drinking.
Meanwhile, Paula arrived at the bar to grab a cup of coffee. She worked the night shift at the phone company across the street.
Fully inebriated, Pat noticed Paula walk by and shouted. (He now admits that the reference to Mutt & Jeff was not an appropriate thing to shout at a woman he fancied.)
Paula walked right up to Pat and knocked him over. (In his state it only took a light push.) She put her foot on his chest and warned him: “a smart man would stay down.”
Pat was smitten.
It was a year before they spoke again, but Pat kept an eye on Paula. And, Paula started asking around about Pat.
Eventually, Paula informed Pat that they were going to have breakfast after her shift. While they never actually ate, they sat and talked for hours.
Feeling done with California, they soon hit the road with their cat, T.C. Fuzzbucket, and settled in Oregon.
Pat hasn’t had a drink since the night Paula pushed him over.
Roseburg, OR. July 2018.