The Funniest First Date I Ever Had

I told this story to a girlfriend the other day and she made me swear to write it down so others could read it. Well friends, here it is…

My family moved to Rogersville in 1991. It was a horrible period of adjustment for my sister and myself. I remember spending hours in our new home, in this new town just WAILING in self pity. In time, Jess and I started to adjust and I learned something very quickly- there are few things can ease the pain of transition as much as the prospect of a budding relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

(I will not be using names to protect the innocent and don’t any of you locals try and get it out of me because I’ll never reveal his name!) I believe it was at church that I first saw “the boy”. He was tall and handsome and came from a “good” family. He had all the important, Southern values. He was very mannerly and made the idea of living in this tiny town not quite so depressing. There was just one catch. Just one quirky aspect of his life. The boy worked for a funeral home. Strange. I’d never really known someone with close ties to a funeral home, but hey, it’s a job and at least he’s working- right?!

So, after several social functions at church and family-related gatherings, the boy finally asked me out on an official date. I was so excited! The words, “Would you go out with me?” had no more than fallen off of his lips until my heart was pounding with joy! Pounding, that is, until he uttered the next sentence, “I have to go and pick up a body in Atlanta and I’d like for you to go with me.”

I need to interject for a moment that this is completely and totally true. I mean seriously, do any of you who really know me find it surprising that I’d go and pick up a dead body on a first date? Moving on…

I wasn’t sure how to respond, but I’d been wanting to go out with the boy for months, so I answered, “yes.” It was interesting having to explain this to Tripp and Carolynn, considering Atlanta is about 4 and 1/2 to 5 hours from our town and we would be leaving around sundown. For reasons still unknown to me, my parents agreed to let me go. Girls, imagine my stress and confusion attempting to pick the perfect outfit to wear for a first date picking up a dead body. Weird.

The boy picked me up at my house around 6 p.m. We hadn’t discussed this prior, but I had assumed that since he worked for a funeral home he would be picking me up in a hearse. Well, you can imagine my surprise when the boy pulled into my parent’s driveway in a Ford Taurus hatchback. No, I am NOT kidding you. It was a frickin’ station wagon for all intents and purposes and I chose at this time not to even try to predict what the seating arrangements would be on the ride home- yikes!

He and I had a wonderful time talking on our 5-hour trip to Atlanta. We stopped for dinner in Knoxville and took our time getting to our destination. By the time we crossed the Atlanta city limits, it was easily 1 a.m. We drove for what felt like hours trying to find this one particular funeral home and once we finally made it, were surprised to find no one there waiting for our arrival. The boy got out of the car, out of the FORD TAURUS HATCHBACK, and went to the door and called the emergency number listed. Within 10 minutes a funeral home employee was letting us in the back door. It was at this point that the realization of what was happening started to set in. We were walked through a dark funeral home and taken into the embalming room- no light on, mind you. Looking back, I wish the lights had been left off. I probably would have handled the situation a little better not knowing what was actually about to happen.

The body we were picking up was laying on a table, dressed, with a thin white sheet over it. The boy and the funeral home employee placed the body on a gurney and wheeled it outside. It was about this time that I start thinking to myself, “Are you seriously kidding me? What in the world are you doing here?” The boy opens the back of the FORD TAURUS HATCHBACK, bumps the gurney up against the back of the car, the legs and wheels collapse, and they push that body on the gurney right into the middle of the back of the car. I kid you not when I tell you that the feet were slid right up between the driver’s and passenger’s seats. I’m talking right on the dang arm rest!!!!! Holy cow!!!!!

We said our goodbyes to the funeral home employee and the boy and I carefully inched into our seats, careful not to touch that dang arm rest. I looked at the boy and explained as gently as I could that I was FREAKED THE HELL OUT and that he had to get us back to Rogersville as quickly as possible. The boy was very apologetic, between outbursts of laughter, and assured me that he would make excellent time on the way home.

Now it’s about 2:30 a.m. He and I are in some frightening area of Atlanta. It is pitch black outside. We are in a FORD TAURUS HATCHBACK. We have a dead body (covered with only a thin sheet) laying between us. As fate would have it, the boy looks at me and informs me that we need gas. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? GAS?????? COULD WE NOT HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE PICKING UP A CORPSE???

The boy drives us to a neighborhood gas station. I’m afraid to go into too much detail for fear of not being politically correct and offending someone, but just imagine a gas station in a scary section of Atlanta around 3 in the morning. This was NOT a place I wanted to be. The boy pulled up to a pump and I start thinking in my head, “Just get the gas, get in the car, and let’s get the heck outta Dodge.” I look to my left, careful to avoid looking at the dang arm rest, and I notice that the boy isn’t standing there. Has he left me? Has he left me alone at this “bound-to-be-a-gang-related-drive-by-at-any-second” gas station?

If only he had. It was just then that I hear the “dinging” of the car indicating that a door has been opened. I glance at the dash and it is lit up with a message screaming out at us in red lights, “Rear door ajar.” Before I can even open my mouth, I look back to see the boy throw open the hatchback and hear him say (rather loudly), “Hey Amanda, could you come back here and help me roll this body back over?” Truth. I was beyond mortified. I was picturing hundreds of police cars whipping into this parking lot, hearing the loud screeching of tires, and being bent over the hood of a police car and handcuffed. I pictured gas station patrons pulling out their weapons they had stashed in their pants and shoes and beginning to open fire. I imagined the whole thing would happen in slow motion like some Quentin Tarantino movie. I was totally ready to take cover.

The boy obviously sensed my fear and walked around to my side of the car and opened the door. He had the biggest grin on his face and very calmly explained to me that the body had shifted during driving, but that he had everything back in place. Well buddy (I thought to myself), that’s a good thing because wild horses couldn’t have dragged me back there to help you!

The boy went inside, leaving me alone with our travelling companion, and paid for the gas. Once back in the car he kept his word and had us back to TN in record time. We came rolling into Rogersville just as the sun was coming up. For those of you wondering, the boy and I dated for some time after this. However, this was the one and only time I ever accompanied him on a “job”.

It was without a doubt one of the most memorable and unbelievable dates of my life!

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