Before I get much further into the Chiari Saga, I need to introduce you to some of the main characters.
Stuart and I met on an ambulance in the 4th Ward in Houston. He was a 23 year old rookie fireman riding on an ambulance for the City of Houston. I was just a 19 year old girl on a ride along. Out of high school, like most, I was clueless as to what I wanted to “be when I grew up.” I worked at a nursing home as a nurses aide. That is a blog post all in itself, be looking for it! Back to the “ride along.” It’s kind of a messed up scenario when I think about it but hey, it worked out for me.
I decided that I wanted to go to nursing school. I couldn’t afford it. So, I decided to go the EMT route. In the process, I was talking to an army recruiter. He had me right where he wanted me. He promised me nursing school paid for in exchange for x-amount of years in the army. It looked like I was going to nursing school! Meanwhile, I was still attending the EMT course. An instructor for the course was also a Houston Fireman. He asked me if I would like to go on a ride along. He had also asked me on a date or two. I didn’t go on the dates BUT I did agree to the ride along. I know what you are thinking. I’m thinking it also, as I recollect.
I drove my little red Pontiac Sunbird to a fire station in one of the roughest areas in Houston, after dark I might add. When I arrived, Dan (not his real name) introduced me to everyone. It was a slow night so they said. The guys offered me supper and I accepted. I sat across from this scrawny, mustached rookie who had the absolute worst eating habits I had seen to date. Apparently, wolfing down food was common practice at the firehouse, since they never knew when their next call would be.
The alarm went off just about the time scrawny, mustache man shoved a big ole forkful of green beans in his mouth. Off we went. I sat in the front of the ambulance between said EMT instructor “Dan” and scrawny mustache man. They had a couple of calls so the three of us spent the next few hours in the cab of that ambulance. I guess you could say that is where the magic happened with scrawny, mustache man. Go ahead, say it! AWE.
I left the station around midnight. “He” opened the gate for me and asked me for my number. I truly didn’t think he would be calling. This was before cell phones of course, so I woke up the next day and waited by that dadgum phone. I didn’t have to wait too long before “he” called.
I don’t remember where we went on our first date. I guess in the big scheme of things it doesn’t matter.
We started dating and it wasn’t long before I was meeting his parents. He introduced me to his parents as Booger. I was mortified. I just knew that they thought he had chosen that nickname because I had nasty nose habits. I later found out that his granddaddy had called his grandma Booger off and throughout their married life.
Many years later, I asked Stuart why he called me Booger. He said, “because I picked YOU.” Go ahead, say it! Awe.
Twenty five years later, I am still his Booger. He is still mustache man. I am proud to say that his eating habits have improved a bit. Those twenty five years have not been an easy ride. I will travel down that road another day. I want to end on a happy moment in time versus “those years.”