Klondike Bill, Meet Lucia

Klondike Bill

One of the best dates Lucia ever had with me was the night I took her to wrestling, and she got to meet Klondike Bill. It was a night to remember, and one of the most compelling reasons she wanted to marry me.

(Okay, probably not so compelling but weirdly, it was romantical.)

It all began by the many trips I made with Lucia to my hometown in North Carolina. We had to drive through Charlotte, and each time we came upon the old Charlotte Coliseum, I always let Lucia know that the old auditorium is where my grandpa would take me to watch wrestling, and after the matches we would sit in his truck, eat Vanilla Wafers and drink Coke-Colas.

Not realizing I said this each time I passed the Coliseum, as we were passing it again, Lucia interrupted me, saying, “Hey, that’s where you used to watch wrestling with your grandpa and eat Vanilla Wafers and drink Coke-Colas afterward.” I asked her how she knew that.

We laughed.

Index Forward

During our dating season, I happened to see an advertisement on the television about a wrestling show coming to Anderson, SC, about 30 minutes away.

I bought two tickets.

Not paying attention to the date and day, I was a bit nervous after realizing it was on a Wednesday night. Her family were a “three times a week to church” family.

Ricky had some “plain’in” to do with Lucy’s parents when I picked her up on that Wednesday. (I did not tell them where she was going. She did not know either; it was a surprise.)

After navigating around the problem with her dad, I swept Lucia away for a night to remember. She was nervous slightly, not knowing me that well at that time, and I was taking her down the interstate, toward Georgia.

While sitting at a light in Anderson, Lucia saw a sign that said, “Anderson Civic Center,” and asked if I was taking her to a wrestling show. She just happened to see the same TV ad a few weeks eariler.

SNAP!

DISCERNMENT.

I said, “Yes.”

SIGH.

We went into the auditorium to find our seats. Before the wrestling, the announcer and cameraman came out to do some filming. He asked all of us to yell “boo” as loud as we could. The cameraman panned the audience.

Then the announcer asked us to yell “yay” as loud as we could. It was sad to know they were mixing our whooping and hollering into the footage that the folks in TV Land saw.

Why would they rig that? It took away from the realism.

But the wrestling was fantastic. At one point, I leaned over to Lucia to get her opinion. She said it was well choreographed. I was chagrined, and quickly appealed to her to keep that on the down-low because we might get into a fight if we let others know about the fakery.

And then it occurred to me that the folks around us probably would not know what the word choreographed means.

Problem averted.

We maintained kayfabe.

Lucia was alarmed at the little kids behind her, with painted faces, yelling, “Kill him. Take his head off.”

They looked to be about eight-years-old.

The Main Event

After the show, we hung around to savor the moment. I was doing the savoring. I decided to take Lucia down to the ring where two guys were tearing it down. As I was standing there, I noticed one of the old ring-hands was none other than Klondike Bill. I used to watch him wrestle in Charlotte.

I hollered at him, asking if I could take his picture. He said, “NO” in an abrupt, “you’re bothering me” kind of way. I appealed again, letting him know that this was my girlfriend’s first wrestling show.

He doubled-down, letting me know there would be no photo-ops tonight.

One final appeal.

I said, “Hey, Klondike, I used to watch you wrestle at the Park Center in Charlotte, NC.”

At that, he turned to the other ring-hand and said, “See. I told you I used to wrestle. This guy used to watch me wrestle.”

And with that, he jumped from the ring, yanked his hat from his head, gave Lucia a big Klondike bear (side) hug and I got my picture.

A glorious night.

There’s only one other thing that would make it better and seal completely the chance of me marrying this girl.

You guessed it.

After we got back to my car, I had some Vanilla Wafers and Coke-Colas hidden in the backseat. I pulled them out. We partook and talked about the night.

Heaven.

As we were leaving, one of us suggested that we go behind the auditorium where the crowd was standing, waiting on the wrestlers to come from their dressing room, and let those folks know it ain’t real.

Wisdom prevailed.

We went home instead.

The Morning After

The next day, Lucia went to work, and all her workmates could not wait to hear about this mysterious date night that her boyfriend planned for her.

With joy, Lucia explained it all.

They didn’t get it, as they stammered and struggled to enter into Lucia’s joy.

How sad is that?

It was magical. It was romantical. It was a date-night for the ages.

I think those ladies were jealous.

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