I drove south after my visit with Sparkle. Made a stop on the way to see relatives. I was carrying nearly everything I owned in my van. That, of course, didn't include much in the way of furniture so I was going to need a furnished apartment in my new southern city. The Friday morning I was beginning my search for a place I paged through an apartment guide over breakfast at a roadside cafe north of town. I had no idea what parts of the city would be best for me. The only thing I knew was the address of the radio station where I'd be working. What the hell, I thought, the only way to finish the chore was to get started with the search. I headed off to find the most promising apartment complex in the guide, something-or-other woods... or brook... or glen... or run. I doubted that Pheasant Run had many pheasants. Willow Brook probably didn't have any willow trees or babbling brooks. Best to set expectations low and hope for the best. It looked like it would be less than a 15 minute commute to work.
Cora was the first woman I met in my new town. She was slender, tanned, and about ten years older than me. Her hair was long, straight, and black. She looked more "60's" than "70's" because of the long, straight hair. She was the only person working at the apartment rental office when I dropped in.
Cora was friendly, helpful, and she had a one bedroom furnished apartment at the back of the complex that I could have on a six month lease. It wasn't a great place, I surely could have done better if I'd looked for a couple of days, but I was more interested in getting situated before I had to go to the radio station Monday afternoon. Besides, I could handle living anywhere for six months.
In the course of renting the apartment Cora learned why I was moving to town. She thought it was thrilling that she was renting a place to a "big radio star" but I took great pains to assure her that I was just a guy hoping to not be fired from doing overnights in the first six months. She helped me get set up with utilities and order phone service and then left me to move my stuff into the apartment. That task mostly entailed carrying up a bunch of stereo equipment and several hundred records. It didn't take long to get the contents of my van into the apartment and put away. It took longer to set up the stereo and put some music on. I was sweaty and tired but glad that I had a home so soon.
Around 5PM while I was making a list of things I needed to shop for and trying to figure out what to do for dinner there was a knock on the door. It was Cora.
"William, I just wanted to see if you had everything you needed before I left."
I told her I was doing fine but needed to know the closest place to shop and eat dinner. She gave me directions to a nearby shopping center.
"William, I was thinkin' this afternoon about y'all being concerned about not knowin' much about the area before goin' on the radio," Cora said, sounding as if she was asking a question rather than making a statement.
"Well, yeah. A little," I said.
"Well, I had an idea. I'll be runnin' around shoppin' and this, that, and the other with my friend Peaches, her real name's Paulette but everybody calls her Peaches, all afternoon tomorrow and you're more than welcome to come along. We'll show you all around town and..."
"Cora that's very kind but I couldn't impose on you and your friend like that..."
"Don't be silly! I already talked to Peaches about it and she's lookin' forward to meetin' you! And, William, her family goes back over a hundred years in this town... she's a good friend to have especially for you, a, uh..."
"Were you going to call me a Yankee, Cora?"
"All I'm sayin' is that Paulette knows things about this place that it would take you years to find out!. So I'll pick you up at 11 tomorrow mornin'! OK, Hon?"
"How can I refuse?" I said.
"Good! And wear a nice shirt and something other than jeans."
"That does it. You've gone too far now, Cora." I growled at her.
"Oh! You are so cute! And that voice, Lawd, no wonder you're a big radio star! I declare it makes me weak!" Cora said, putting on her best over-the-top Scarlett O'Hara voice to tease the boy from up north.