Blue Velvet

I don’t own a blue velvet dress.  I almost did… once.  It was almost twenty years ago.   Nineteen, to be exact.  I lived right here in Portales, having spent three years living on St. Thomas.  We’d had our right-out-of-college adventure, and were settling into “normal life”.  Gary missed island living more than I, and loved to talk of returning someday.  He already had this bug in his ear about the island of Guam.  But you know me and my simple pleasures.  I was home and happy.

Well, I was in Clovis one day, and saw this beautiful blue velvet dress in a shop window.  There’s not much occasion to wear a blue velvet party dress in Portales, New Mexico.  There were no elegant weddings on my horizon… and that pretty much sums up the hopes for wearing such a dress.  Still, the dress was grand, and I just had to try it on.  Perfect.  It was perfect.  But it stayed in the store where it obviously belonged.

I had a little twinge of missing the island days.  Not the part about white sand beaches and crystal clear waters… but the part about dressing up for a marvelous meal at a grand resort like Frenchman’s Reef.  You could wear a blue velvet dress there.  Walking into Mac’s Steak in a Basket wearing the gown… not so much!

Valentine’s was approaching.  I hate to spoil the thoughts of romantic, snow-covered, lovely winter days with the picture of howling wind whipping over the high plains, carrying sand that pelts your face and leaves gritty residue in your nose and ears and teeth.  We get some of that in February.   (Ha!  We get some of that all the time.  But February and March can be brutal.)  A friend of mine owned a floral shop at the time, and she told us she hoped Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day would be wonderful weather days, because it was misery trying to deliver beautiful rose bouquets in gale force winds.

Okay, weather aside, back to the dress.  With Valentine’s coming soon and the vision of that little dress still dancing in my head, I decided I just had to have it.  I would prepare a beautiful, romantic dinner in my own home and enjoy wearing the dress.  Just the thing for a girl in her twenties!  I’m not a big shopper, so making this decision was a very happy to-do for me.  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the dress was gone… and along with it my hopes for that perfect raspberry-chicken evening.

Valentine’s Day arrived.  It came with a vengeance!  The wind was screaming.  The sky was orange with dirt.  I had to drive about six miles out on a country road to deliver a bill, all the while trying to hold the steering wheel steady from the buffeting wind, working to dodge the tumbleweeds that were coming at me like gangbusters, feeling so sorry for my friend trying to deliver dozens of roses on such a day.  You will not believe this.  I find it hard to believe.  But on the way back into town, these words came crooning out of my radio… “She wore blue velvet, bluer than velvet was the night…”

That was it!  Mind made up!  I drove straight to the house Gary was building, made my way inside in that freezing, biting wind, and told him I was ready to move.  And that, my friends, is the story of how I agreed to move to a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific.  On a day when the wind was wreaking havoc… much like today!


13 Responses to “Blue Velvet”

  1. Marcea Clive says:

    Thanks to the great New Mexico winds, you were allowed to have your Guam experience. That is really neat. Isn’t it great that all things work together for good?

  2. Glenda Powell says:

    Sandy, your writing has an amazingly gentle and loving voice. Each of your stories brings a smile to my face and peace to my heart. Thank you!

  3. Robin Green says:

    I think Gary was praying for wind. 🙂

  4. Sheryl Borden says:

    Such an interesting story – I never really knew why you moved to Guam. If we keep having this cold weather, I may move to Guam, too! ha

  5. Sandy says:

    Well… everyone knows I would follow that man to the ends of the earth (and have)! I think the wrap up to this story goes like this: Love can move mountains, and so can the New Mexico winds!

  6. Michelle says:

    Yep, I believe you that the winds blew you to Guam. 😉 I’ve lived in Portales, and we have a family ranch just outside of Vaughn. Rio Rancho can get pretty rough too. I’ve seen the NM winds in action!

    I had no idea you ever lived in Guam, but it sounds like an interesting story. Have you already talked about your Guam days on here?

  7. Gary FIelds says:

    It costs a ton of money to play a song on the radio exactly when you want! broke and happy 🙂

  8. Sandy says:

    Michelle, I think you’ll find that “Guam” is sprinkled throughout just about everything I write about. Well, lots of it, anyway. We lived there for nine years, and absolutely loved that island. Wish it was easier to get there… I’d visit all the time. Love Portales. Will always miss Guam… my home away from home!

  9. Beverly Green says:

    Sandy it is never too late. A midnight blue velvet dress would look smashing on you. Go on and live out your fantasy. Blue velvet in the snow would remind people of their dreams also.

  10. Sandy says:

    If I ever see a blue velvet dress as wonderful as that one, you can believe… I won’t let it slip through my fingers this time.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Gary, you are too funny. You know you both have a rare treasure. Great story, Sandy. And, as always, love how your writing makes me feel. I didn’t remember that you lived in Guam for so long. But during those days you were just “Kim’s sister who lived far away on some island”! Could never keep straight where you lived when and for how long. I’m appreciating your blog more and more as it helps so many feel closer by knowing more about one another.:)

  12. Sandy says:

    I feel the same way Cheryl… fun to share things about my life, and wonderful to read the responses… here in the “comments” and in the e-mails I receive. We’re one big happy ‘weblog’ family!

  13. Grace Uihlein says:

    Loved this story Sandy. Yes, those Portales winds are brutal!!!

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