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NEW REVIEWS: WOW! And Unbelievable! I've got one of those, Alan. I mean I had one.
Gave it to Jane Simmons when we were sophomores in high school. Different deal, though.
I never got mine back. Or the other two I gave her. The last I saw of any one of them, they
were on a charm bracelet she had made up to wear on her wrist. Expensive too, because
eventually there were other tokens on that bracelet from other guys. And, oh yes. I even
dressed like that at one point in my life. Still have some tassel loafers. What a wonderful,
nostalgic trip. Thanks much! *****__Captain Apple Jack.

Of course I do not understand any of this, except maybe the token of love. I cannot think
of a single similar token or pledge that is popular today. Maybe today's lovers exchange some
special things like a fraternity pin. Or maybe that really is just a time gone bye, bye. People
do not live like that anymore. People do not behave like that anymore. And men sure do not
dress like that anymore. Thank goodness. Yet, I liked this story a lot--the people, the period
in time and that quaint icon of love. I like how you write too, Alan. ****__Su Chang.

A beautifully told trip down nostalgia lane, with all the trimmings. Add to it cotton shirts,
long Madras skirts and white bobby socks with the sound of "Party Doll" by Buddy Knox
playing in the background and you've got the complete picture. I have more than one of those
footballs myself, Captain. Because I never gave them back. Not exactly certain just where
they are right now, but I am going to try to find them because of the special pull of this story.
Well done, Alan! You
cooked up a good one here *****__Jean Ann Morgan.
Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971

                           “Icon”    
                                 By Alan V. Galloway
                                                         February 15, 2015
                                                     Rated
-G- by the Author
                              A nostalgic trip to a time and a style gone bye-bye.

[After my father died, we were going through his things and I came upon a small gold chain
and football. At first, I thought it was some kind of toy. Far from it. When I asked Mama
Galloway about it, she said it was an old, old icon from my father's high school days when
they both lived in Spartanburgh, South Carolina. It had been a very important gift to her at
some point during their courtship. I always knew he had been her hero, even after what had
happened in Vietnam, but this was something special and remarkable. Had there ever really
been a time like that? Had lovers really signed their fidelity by such unique tokens? Had high
school kids ever really dressed like that? To my amazement, the story my momma told went
something like this--]
        
Bobby Galloway looked great. Earlier he had enjoyed a cold shower. Then he had shaved
extra close using Noxzema shaving cream. He had made certain that he got the hard-to-get-
at areas around his nose, lips and chin by going over them twice.

He smelled even better. When he finished his toilet, he had splashed his face with Old Spice
from the bottle on his dresser. Now he stood in front of a small floor fan that circulated cool
air around his bedroom, thinking about tonight and his date with Tonya Shackleford. He
remembered how friendly she had been at the Carnival.

The fan was not doing much to stop the flow of perspiration that continued to bead up on his
shoulders and under his arms. He perspired a lot. And his body glistened when he was in
good shape like now. Leaving a shiny black image in the mirror above his dresser.

It seemed liked he could never get dry after a shower even if it was a cold shower. It was
always hot in his bedroom in late August. He pulled the bath towel from around his waist,
raised it above his head and brought it down in a wide arc in front of himself, aiding the flow
of air from the floor fan.

last week. At least until Arlice Jackson's little brother had come along. Who was that kid to
her anyway? What did a girl of her maturity have in common with that baby? He was one of
those rookies at the opening of football practice who probably would not even finish the
season. Another dropout, for sure.

As he continued to fan himself, he laughed about a couple of the hard hits he had laid on
Melvin Jackson, just to get even, once football practice had started. Just a couple of his best
bone-crunching, eye-popping jolts to move that kid a little more rapidly along the path to the
decision to quit. A common decision that came to a lot of Spartanburgh's finest babies once
they got out into the real world.

Not everyone made the football team at Spartanburgh County Community High School. They
were a rough bunch of superior athletes, respected around the state for their toughness and
physical prowess. Even teams in the bigger conferences respected them. So much so that
they did not get to play that many out-of-conference games against other
all black teams.  
And none of the
all white teams would play them. So what if Melvin was Arlice Jackson's
little brother? That didn’t mean dip. Arlice Jackson had been a special case. Sort of a football
phenomenon, not likely to be repeated by anyone in the state of South Carolina anytime soon.

Cooler now and ready to continue dressing for his date with Tonya Shackleford, Bobby put
aside the towel and selected a white sport shirt from his dresser. It had a small green
alligator in front.  It was one of his favorite shirts. He pulled the sport shirt over his head and
down his upper body. He took his forest-green slacks from a clothes hanger in his closet and
stepped into them. He loved the tight pleats his mother had ironed into the front and back of
them. She always made them look smart and dressy too, just like the professional dry cleaner
that she was.  He tucked the Alligator sport shirt carefully into his slacks and zipped up.

He chose a white-and-green elastic belt from the belt rack on the back of his closet door. He
threaded it through the belt loops in his pants and tightened its shiny gold buckle to hold
everything in place. Finally charcoal-brown, calf-length socks and Cordovan Weejuns were
the standard footwear he always used to add a rich finish to his best outfit.

Satisfied with his choice of clothing, he squeezed a small amount of Brylcreem onto his fingers
and rubbed his hands together. A little dab’ll do ya, he chuckled to himself. Then he ran his
fingers through his thick, curly black hair. Using a stiff horsehair brush he began to brush
vigorously. He brushed each side back leaving a thin deep part down the middle. He was
almost ready.

He opened the small jewelry box on his dresser. His mother had given him the box for
Christmas his first year in high school. He removed his gold football charm with its deep-blue,
embossed
S that signified his accomplishment as an honored football player for Spartanburgh
County Community High School. It was attached to a one-sixteenth-of-an-inch-wide gold key
chain.

He had bought the key chain himself two years ago with money he had earned working at the
town cinder block company. Olson’s Block Company was one of old man Olson’s many
diversifications that made money. Off-loading the blocks when they came down the line from
the furnace and then stacking them onto wooden pallets was hot strenuous work, but the pay
was good and Bobby’s arms and chest and back had benefited from the constant lifting.

He attached the key chain onto the first belt loop on the left side of his slacks. The chain hung
in a familiar parabolic curve to a point just below the pocket and then traveled upwards
again, disappearing into the pocket opening that had been tailored into the side of his slacks

The chain was held inside his pocket by a few keys he had attached to the key ring at its end.
The bright-gold football charm dangled from the chain at the precise point where the chain’s
curve turned upwards. Although it had taken several fittings to get the charm on the chain at
exactly the right point, he had succeeded finally; and now whenever he wore it, his football
hung gracefully in place. Tonya was going to be knocked out when she saw how well he knew
how to dress. Style, Brother!      

                                      ©
2015 Alan V. Galloway[All Rights Reserved]