By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley

I had several blind dates in my youth, most all of them ended up well.  I can only remember one that was a bad experience, and that was because it ended up the young lady did not like boys, if you understand my meaning.
One day I was working for a lady that I'd done many jobs for, when she told me a good friend of her family's was coming to visit for a month and would I mind taking her out a couple of times?  As she knew my reputation this quite surprised me, but as we were good friends and I had no permanent attachments at the time, I said "Sure!"
The first night I went down to pick the girl up I thought I had made a big mistake.  For she was the ugliest girl I had ever seen in my life!  And I do not say that to be cruel.  But I decided to make the best of it.  I asked her what she liked to do.  She made a couple of suggestions, and we decided on bowling.
At first she was rather standoffish, but as the night went on, we began to joke and laugh, to have a great time.  By the end of the evening I was in no hurry to take her home.
As I was to work at her friend's camp the rest of the month that she was there, we were virtually inseparable.  She would even come along with me when I was working most of the time, except when the ladies I was working for would be upset if I brought a girl along.
I don't think in that time, either one of us ever said the words "I love you."  We didn't have to.  Both of us knew it.  I tried to persuade her to stay longer, even offering to pay her expenses, if necessary.  But she said she REALLY had to go home.
During that period I barely drank, as I didn't want to lose any of the time with her, which was very unusual.  I also brought her home to meet my mother, a very rare occurrence with my girlfriends and my mother immediately took to her.  She made the very rare comment "She's an awfully nice girl, dear!"
As the next year went by I thought about her very often, especially as the anniversary of the time we had spent together grew near.  I asked the lady who had introduced us if there was any possibility of her coming back that summer.  She looked at me very sadly, and said, "No, dear."
A couple of weeks later I got the mail out of the mailbox and I found a letter addressed to incredibly rare occurrence!  I took it inside and opened it.  Though I burned it long ago, I remember every word.  It began-
"My dearest, dearest Gerald.  I am Selina, Carlina's mother.  Though she did not want me to for she wanted you only to remember her the way she was, when you were together, I have to write you and tell you that a little less than a month ago, Carlina passed away.  We had known it was coming for a long time.  In the end most of the time she was delirious, and when she was back with me I would ask her where she had been.
Sometimes she would say "I was with poppa, mama."  But other times she would answer with a smile, "I was in Maine, mama."
She did not suffer, really.  There was not much pain.
I want you to know how much I love you.  Though I am sure we will never meet, there will always be a fond place for you in my heart.
My daughter, most of her life, hated being a girl.  Besides the cancer she considered it the cruelest thing God had ever done to her.  But when she returned from Maine she loved being a girl, because you had loved it so much.  She even struck up a relationship with a couple of boys around here that she had known all her life but never been able to get close to.
She told me again and again of all your times together.  I SHOULD be angry about some of them, but I cannot be.
I'm sorry.  I can't go on any longer.  I know you do not believe in God, but I hope with all my heart, that He will keep and protect you from all harm.
Yours In the Deepest, Deepest Regard."
I do not cry very often, but that day I cried.  Of course at the time I did not know my powers, I did not know HOW close Carlina had actually been to me in those last months of her life.
I went down to her friend's and asked them to write her mother telling her how much I had appreciated her letter, and how glad I was that I had happened to be there at the right time.  And, that I had done the right thing.
It is still hard for me today, to think back to that month, to think back to that letter.  But to remember the good, to remember the joyous you have to also remember the bad.
In Our Peoples' Philosophy it says "For everything there is a price."  I think, over the years I have learned THAT lesson very well.

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