I suspect almost every boy remembers the first girl they ever loved.  For some it was puppy love, for others a crush.  And for yet others it was just that warm comfortable feeling you had whenever that one special girl was around.  You couldn't explain it in your little boy mind but you knew it was there and you liked it.

I'd fall into that final category.

There were lots of girls around of course, all those many years ago.  Girls I went to church with, girls I went to school with, girls that lived in small towns or maybe on a farm like I did.

Like the other little boys of that age I didn't like girls.  Didn't like them at all!  At least that was the story us boys all told each other.

Girls didn't like playing baseball or football, they didn't like trapping pocket gophers and didn't collect hundreds of baseball cards always looking for that elusive Minnesota Twin.  Everything we liked they didn't and that, as they say, was that!

But really if the truth be known, that wasn't really that at all.

All of us I suppose had that one girl, the first one, the special one that we really liked.  Maybe even loved although we didn't know it at the time.  That first girl was different from all the rest.

The first girl I ever loved had brunette hair, kind of short and awesomely beautiful!  I guess at first I didn't even realize I loved her, but looking back now through all those years I know I did.  A lot.

She was special, a cut above the rest.  I knew that I felt different...felt better...when she was around.  When I would see her in church she would have that unique unidentifiable sparkle about her.  When I saw her at a basketball or baseball game munching on popcorn or sipping a Coke, I just knew she was looking at me.  When she walked through the door at school she always noticed me first, I was sure of it!  She would smile, I'd smile back and we wouldn't say anything.

And her eyes seemed to dance in a special way.  Her smiled seemed to glow in a special way.  I guess that's love, right? She touched me kind of like the morning sun touches a flower petal.

I didn't know all that at the time of course, I just knew it sure did feel good whenever she was around.

I look back now through a memory glass that's scratched up with over 67 of living.  A lot of memories, a lot of things have come and gone over all those decades.  But one thing remains for certain:  She was and always will be my very first love.

But guess what?  I know now, in my older age and experience, that I wasn't her first love.  I wasn't the boy that she fell in love with the first time.  But that's OK, too.  In fact, that's exactly perfect.

You see, that first love of mine passed away over 17 years ago.  She was 79 years old.  Her beautiful hair was still beautiful and had turned all silver.  Her hands, those hands that I loved all those years ago, had grown some wrinkled and shook a lot.  She couldn't walk anymore, but that didn't matter.  I loved pushing her wheelchair, talking with her, remembering those days from so many years ago when I first fell in love with her.

She is still the most beautiful girl I've ever known.  And she's the first girl I ever loved.

But I wasn't her first love.  No, she fell in love with a young guy just back from the war.  She married that guy.  They were married over 60 years.  She married my Dad.

He was a lucky man.  So was I.

I miss you Mom. You were, and always will be, the first girl I ever loved.

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