How I met Nancy

Back in the early eighties I was working for a small manufacturing company in North Dallas. A family owned business, Communications Conveyor, was small enough to allow me to make a reasonable wage while still allowing me the freedom to leave at a moments notice if necessary. Our primary business at Comco was Pneumatic Tube Systems and as a fledgling adult, all of 25 years old, it was an ideal situation for a single father and a great training environment that allowed me to enter into a trade that honed my skills as a craftsman and taught me a level of integrity that has served me well all of my working life.Customer service was a part of the job and on many occasion I was called upon to troubleshoot problems at banks in and around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The most troublesome system was not far from our shop and had the most antiquated system of all the banks I ever serviced. The majority of those problems involved the communications interface between customer and teller and I also seemed to pick the short straw when it came to service calls. This time out it was the communication interface again, so away I go. 

 When I turned twenty one years old I was gifted my first Dan Fogelberg album, “Souvenirs”. 

Some of the greatest music I had ever heard at the time and the right fit to eventually add to my repertoire. So, fast forward to this current event and we’ll pick it up from there. 

I had two tickets to see Dan Fogelberg at Reunion Arena…and no date.

Upon arriving at the bank it was typical to check with the Head Teller Brenda to find out the details of the service call. Now, understand…I have serviced this bank many times because of it’s antiquated system and have come to know most of the tellers on a first name basis and always try to make them feel as comfortable as possible before I crawl under the counter. They always continued working, completing transaction after transaction, working around me as I worked around them.

I said I know most of the tellers on a first name basis, not all of them. There’s a new teller that I don’t really know and it’s been my experience with girls that most of them prefer that arrangement. 

So, finishing the project of the day, I set off back to the shop to continue assembling product.

I still don’t have a date to the concert and I have no idea what I am going to do.

I know the telephone number at the work station I had serviced earlier today.

All I need to do now is find the courage to call the number knowing that given my past history the odds are pretty good that I will be going to the concert by myself. It is Dan Fogelberg, after all and that makes it a Win/Lose scenario at best/worst. What have I to lose but my dignity. The thought of entering the bank at a later date…NO, don’t think about that! It’s Dan Fogelberg! Who, in their right mind, wouldn’t want to see Dan Fogelberg?

All afternoon the weight of this burden, the shyness, the history…it’s so overwhelming!!!!

I made the call.

Someone answered.

I don’t even know her name!

I have a date!

That evening, after dropping off the little guy, I headed off to North Dallas with the vaguest of instructions to meet someone I barely knew. This is completely “Out of the Box” for me. I rarely dated in high school…too shy to gather up the courage to ask a girl out on a date. And, of the few times I did go out on a date, four to be exact…half, I was the invitee.

The trip to North Dallas was uneventful. I was running on schedule, for the most part and the directions to her apartment complex seemed reasonably vague enough…what could possibly go wrong.

I got to the apartment complex okay, got lost, then found and took a chance at knocking on the right door.

Well, thankfully by the time we left her apartment, we were running a little late. This demanded concentrated, skillful driving and little conversation. Out of the box…remember.

 The concert was at Reunion Arena, a stadium built in 1980 for the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

We arrived in reasonable time and hurried in and settled into our seats before the concert started, leaving little time for conversation. Over the years I had become accustomed to buying tickets behind the stage. It was the closest thing to Backstage Passes that I would ever be allowed and I always appreciated the technical aspects of putting on a show.

The concert was great. Nancy seemed to enjoy the concert as much as I did and our date seemed to be a success, which…to me, would imply another date in the future. 

I was introduced to Dan Fogelberg when a couple of buddies gave me a copy of “Souvenirs”. Released in 1974, Souvenirs was his second studio solo album and many of the songs on that album would become the foundation of my musical repertoire. 

So, when the song “There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler” was performed and the audience invited to sing along, I was compelled and sang along, as well…breaking off into the harmony so etched into my soul.

A great concert…one of the best ever.

I’ve been a huge fan of Dan Fogelberg most of my life and this was the first of his concerts I have attended.

So, now the concert is over and the walk back to the truck, another stolen kiss a quiet drive back to North Dallas.

It was a quiet, reflective, lonely drive home to Grand Prairie that night.

Esther’s Surprise Birthday Party

What can I say about Esther…
Esther, my wife Nancy’s sister, lives in Dover, Delaware.
She and Nancy are as close as I can imagine sisters could possibly be.
Not a day goes by that they don’t talk to each other for at least a few minutes on the phone, which can easily stretch into hours…depending of course on the quality or better fitting, quantity of the wine.
The greatest challenge of a lifetime has befallen Esther and the heartbreak of a lifetime has, in like, befallen sweet Nancy.

Continue reading

…from beyond?

Last year…March, it must have been.

Nancy was away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attending to her sister while she received chemotherapy treatment.

Thursday night…late, I received a text from a friend to let me know that her husband and our good friend had been taken to the emergency room and wasn’t expected to live.

How could this be?

He’s too young!!!

Continue reading

Love Poem

Love Poem
by Mitchell Pettitt

If you are by my side when I draw my last breath
I will have lived a perfect life
You are the life, the love…
of every man’s dream
The mother of every child’s prayer

If I have you by my side
when my last breath is drawn
I will have lived a perfect life
As dusk draws near…twilight years, the horizon’s setting sun
dips below where sun meets sea
you, Nanny were …”The One”

Addendum: I wrote this poem as Nancy and I held vigil for her father in his final hours of life.
I was so impressed by the level of compassion she had for her father…
this poem began to flow as freely as my tears.

…from where I was standing

……………from where I was standing

It’s September 6, 2002. Last week at this time, my wife Nancy and I were taking care of last minute details in preparation for our trip.
Our son Christopher, a Corporal in the Marine Corp, is to be married tomorrow evening in California. As a family we had wrestled with this 1,381 mile trip for several weeks and when the vote was tallied my daughter Brittany and my wife celebrated their victory in fashion, shopping for just the right dress, shoes and accessories to wear to the wedding.

Continue reading

Florida Trip n’ Novella

Trip to Florida September 2011

Last weekend, Nancy received a call from her Dad asking that she come to visit him at his Sarasota home…he needed her.

We hurried to book a flight, schedule vacation time and prepare for the task before us. Scheduling vacation time is not as much an issue for me as it is for Nancy.

The manufacturing world requires a week or so notice and little planning on my part, while Nancy’s world of education requires coordinating a week’s worth of lesson plans, copies…preparing as much material as possible to sustain a poor unsuspecting substitute teacher to step in, filling in for a week, causing as little transitional disruption as possible, while Mrs. Pettitt is away vacationing on the beach in sunny Florida.

Flying from Arlington, Texas we arrived at Sarasota-Bradenton airport Saturday afternoon, rented a car, programmed the GPS and headed off into the unknown.

Continue reading

How do you deal with sensitive subjects…

How do you deal with those sensitive subjects…issues that arise at work, amongst your co-workers, those you’ve spent the majority of your days…years.

Actual co-workers statements regarding the Boston Marathon incident, followed by my commentary:

Co-worker: “Probably the Muslim Brotherhood”

Mitch: “My hope is that they don’t find it to be some White Trash.  I would hate to think of society targeting my people.”

Mitch: “You do know that my daughter is Muslim, right?”

Co-worker: “Where did you go wrong?”

Mitch: “I raised my daughter to believe that, in America…when you grow up, you can be anything you want to be.”

Co-worker: “They have a suspect, but he’s a Muslim looking guy.”

Mitch: “I haven’t heard anything. Let’s ask that Lutheran looking fellow.”