General Fiction posted January 22, 2023 Chapters:  ...48 49 -50- 51... 

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A wedding and life without alcohol

A chapter in the book Some Call It Luck

Some Call It Luck - Chapter 50

by Jim Wile

A brilliant and beautiful but insecure, nerdy young woman befriends a going nowhere older alcoholic caddie. Together, they bring out the best in each other and collaborate on a startling new invention
(See the Author Notes for a description of the main characters.)
Recap: E.J. has gone cold turkey off the booze, and the withdrawal effects are tremendous. After a week of being sober, he returns to caddying but is in no condition for it. He ends up passing out and collapsing into a bunker. Six hours later he wakes up in the hospital where he was taken after a 911 call. Abby and Kenny are there, and E.J. reveals that he had gone cold turkey a week before. Kenny informs him he needed to taper off, which E.J. didn’t know, having never quit before. Abby promises to come back tomorrow, and she and Kenny leave.

Abby returns the following day and E.J. tells her all about a vivid dream he’d had and shares with her everything about his unfortunate past and his fears about the future. He asks her if she will come the next day to hear the doctor’s instructions with him, which she does. He is discharged and begins his recovery by entering AA.

Abby and E.J. enter a national bridge tournament at Penn State in October. There E.J. meets one of Abby’s professors who is also playing in the tournament. Dr. Gregorian is impressed by E.J. and asks him to make an appointment to visit with him. Abby is thrilled by this and is convinced this will help E.J. get enrolled at Penn State. E.J. meets with Dr. Gregorian, and two days later with Dr. Kaufman, the head of the computer science department. He is impressed with E.J. and expedites his enrollment as a computer science student. E.J. begins his new college career in January.
Abby St. Claire
June, 1988
Back in January, on one of Kenny’s visits, we decided to go out and play in the snow like a couple of kids. We started throwing snowballs at each other. At one point he picked up a handful of snow, turned his back to me, and seemed to be fiddling with something. “I’m really going to get you with this one!” he called over to me, but instead of throwing it at me, he walked over and handed it to me and told me to fish around inside it.

I knew something was up. I removed the mitten from my right hand so I could get my fingers into the snowball. My heart was racing as I broke it open and uncovered a beautiful diamond ring! At that point, he took it from me, knelt down on one knee in the snow, and said, “Abby St. Claire, you are the love of my life, and I can no longer picture my life without you in it. Would you marry me?”

I squealed. “Of course, I will!” He removed the mitten from my left hand, then he placed the ring on my ring finger, and we sealed it with a long kiss as the snow gently fell on us.

We decided to hold our wedding in June, after the spring semester was over, which meant we had to start planning it right away.

The ceremony was held in the church I grew up in, in my hometown of Butler. My sister Lisa was my maid-of-honor, and my two college roommates were my bridesmaids. Eddie Phillips was Kenny’s best man, while Grandpa and E.J. were ushers.
I loved my wedding dress, which Mom helped me pick out. It had a bateau neckline with a lace bodice and cap sleeves and was cinched-in at the waist with a flowing chiffon skirt. At Mom’s suggestion, I had had my long, red hair crimped for the occasion with little baby’s-breath flowers running through it. The effect was stunning, and when my dad looked at me before I took his arm to walk down the aisle together, he had to blot away his tears with a handkerchief. “Abby, you are just beautiful,” he said to me.

Kenny was beaming as he watched me come down the aisle on Dad’s arm. He looked very handsome in his black tux as he waited at the altar for me.
We recited our wedding vows to each other, but I stumbled a little over my lines. I had been so busy with all the preparations that I hadn’t spent enough time memorizing my part, but Kenny came to the rescue and prompted me through it. I’m sure we’ll laugh about that in the future.

It was a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful reception afterwards at a local restaurant, where we celebrated with friends and family and danced for hours. Grandpa and E.J. hit it off and discussed bridge for a long time. I finally got them up and danced with each of them. Kenny’s and my parents got along splendidly, and everybody danced with everybody.

Right before we left, Eddie handed us his wedding gift—an enormous check! We told him it was too much, but he insisted we put it toward a down payment on a house and stay around for a while. We promised him we would.

Kenny and I honeymooned for a week in Bermuda, and it was a magical time. When we returned, we got very busy moving all our stuff into an apartment we rented in a small town about half way between DuBois and State College. That meant that neither of us would have a long commute to job or college.

We had gotten some very nice wedding gifts but still had to go out and buy a number of things to complete our household. It was a busy time, but we are young and full of energy and didn’t mind all the work.
E.J. Budrowski
1988 - 1993
The next few years seemed to pass quickly. I loved computer science and did very well, completing the program and getting my bachelor’s degree in three and a half years. During this time, I was on the golf team and, as a 40-year-old, was the oldest college golf team member in the nation.

I should mention that I still possessed the Lucky 1 but had stopped carrying it in my pocket long ago. I kept it in a treasured place on the mantel above the fireplace in my rented room in a beautiful old house just off-campus.

I saw Abby and Kenny often during this time. They lived not too far away and would have me over for dinner about twice a month. Sometimes Eddie Phillips was there too, and at other times Kenny, Eddie and I played golf together.

Like Abby, I entered a master’s program right there at Penn State after getting my bachelor’s degree. I wrote my eventual thesis on distributed computing. During those two years earning my degree, I worked as a teaching assistant—a job I loved. I seemed to have a natural ability for teaching, and my students often told me I spoke with a clarity they seldom encountered with their other teachers. I was a “good explainer,” they said, of what could be a very complex subject. Maybe being an educator was in my future.

I finally felt like my life was moving in the right direction, and though the pull of alcohol was always there in the background, I never once yielded to its siren call.
This is the end of Part II.  Part III begins tomorrow.

Abby St. Claire: Age 21. She has just started grad school at Penn State University where she is a math major. She is intelligent and beautiful, yet shy and awkward with most people her age, having been picked on quite a lot while growing up. She worked at the snack bar and as a waitress at Brentwood Country Club during the summers where she met both E.J. and Kenny, who is a member at Brentwood and became her boyfriend.
E.J. Budrowski: Age 38. An alcoholic with a traumatic past (an abusive father and a mother driven to suicide) who is a caddie at Brentwood CC. One day he finds a dirty old golf ball on the edge of a pond that seems to have unusual powers, for he makes two holes-in-one with it. He and Abby become friends when she encourages him to take up both golf and bridge again after long layoffs.
Kenny Payne: Age 22. Abby met him briefly at a frat party in her senior year and was intrigued by him, then she sees him again when he walks up to the snack bar several months later. Tall, good looking, and an all-around nice guy.
Eddie Phillips: A young member at Brentwood known for his extremely good putting and ability to hustle his opponents. Eddie is friends with Abby and beats Kenny in the club championship with a miracle shot. He and Kenny become best friends after that.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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