Ed and I attended a National Fire Academy reunion, of sorts, last week in Las Vegas. The one guy that made it came as far away as Florida, with his spouse, sister and cousin in tow. The other fire chiefs, from their respective battalions, were apparently too busy with other real fire stuff.
Chief Derryl was a miniature of Eddie’s local best friend John, right down to the bleached blond hair, mustache and rounded calves. He told wild stories just like John. His wife Cindy had to constantly remind me to say firefighters, not firemen, and was not a double for anyone I had ever met. Although Julia Roberts comes to mind.
If I were a guy I would never date a woman who was not from the south.
Cindy’s big hair, manicured fire-engine red nails, golden hoop earrings that caressed all visible ear cartilage and, if that wasn’t enough, incredibly sexy southern drawl was a mind-blowing event for a valley girl like myself.
When we met for the evening at their timeshare condo all the gals were backcombing their manes. I had worn my hair up in the Santa Clarita clip all day and was at a complete loss. They told me not to worry my pretty (flat) head about it they would fix me right up in a jif. Cindy’s cousin backflipped my do and removed my clip in one move. She successfully landed every spritz of hairspray into my gaping mouth because the pump, as was usual with overused cosmetics, had gummed up on one side.
She kept spritzing while I attempted speech from the remaining left side of my mouth.
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In thirty-five seconds I was transformed into Susan Anton right off a Las Vegas show. Well, not quite. We took photos for proof but the hair on the four of us didn’t all fit in the three by five image.
Off we head with the firemen (fighters) trailing behind unsuccessfully attempting to elude our stream of ozone-debilitating hair-fog. We ended up at a fab buffet in the new hotel, Paris.
While Ed and Derryl traded firefighter stories like no layperson can, the ladies lunged for the crepe bar and chocolate strawberries. When we settled in our waiter told Eddie that he looked like he was from California, then changed it to Canyon Country and finally said Don Cuco’s restaurant!
Small world! Here was one of our favorite waiters, far from home, recognizing Eddie and me (even with the fatted-up hair)! Donato gave us his usual exemplary service, which Don Cuco’s is well known for, even though he knew chances were slim that we’d ever meet him again.
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Same for Cindy, Derryl, et al. How nice people are when they know they may never see you again makes you wonder: Would they be half as nice if they thought they might? Las Vegas is a possibility for retirement, Florida for vacation, but I think I’ll stay right here in Santa Clarita for now, where I know how to manage my own hair and people that have to see me again are still nice to me anyway.