I was sitting on a life guard stand in 1962 when Gray Oliver walked around the corner. She was 6 or 7 and I thought, “What a cute little kid!” Before I could blink another one just like her appeared right behind her! I fell off the stand. They both strolled right up to me. “Are you the life guard?”
“No, I’m an alien left here when the space ship from Nona took off without me. Are y’all twins?”
“No, I’ve never seen this girl in my life,” Floy turned out to be the comedian. “We just look this way to fool people from outer space.”
“Our grandmother,” Gray laughed with her whole face, “told us to tell you to watch us very closely while we were here.” Floy had the exact same laugh. I’d never seen twins up close and personal. This was going to be fun! I would stand them side by side, shuffle them and guess who was whom. They looked exactly alike! I searched behind their ears “Does one of you have a mole?” I’d get them to stand back to back, “One of you has got to be a little taller.” They were so close. “Let’s see,” I would peer deeply at each face. “I believe you are Gray, no wait a minute, you’re Floy!”
“Moonman, I have on the red suit, Gray is the one wearing blue.” She would screw her face up in mock thought. “No, let me think, maybe it is the other way around. I could be Gray. You’ve turned us around so much I’m confused!” They would roar with laughter.
Granny didn’t have to worry. They could swim like fish. They were great young ladies. And they brightened up the world around them. They quickly learned to switch suits to add to the subterfuge. And they did the “No, I’m Floy” “No, I’m the real Floy” number on me with such delight. I took to calling both of them Gr-Flo. Those beautiful faces actually glowed! And I was hooked for life. They got the royal treatment for the two summers they came to visit. And they taught me that twins are a special gift from God. There could be no other explanation.
The profound influence they had on me exists ‘til this day and I haven’t heard from them since 1963. I do think I saw them in a Doublemint commercial a few years back. Gray was the one on the right.
Haley Mills played twins in “Parent Trap.” I fell in love with both of them. It was so neat the way they played off each other. Somewhere about the fifth showing I decided that I wanted a set of twins.
Aunt Ruby Nell had twin daughters. Uncle F. D. had twins, more girls. Charles Rosson, a first cousin, had twin boys. I wish I had paid more attention to Mendel and those peas! I don’t know if this thing was genetic or skipped a generation or was just the luck of the draw. I figured if twins ran in the family I had a better chance. And maybe I could improve my
odds if I married a twin.
I heard about the Abernathy girls before I met them. I was in college and figured it was time to prepare for the future. I borrowed John Stewart’s ’56 Chevy and drove over to Pulaski. I can’t remember which one I met first. I wasn’t sure it mattered. You know what they said around town, “if you’ve seen one of those Abernathy girls, you’ve seen them all.”
Listen, they were especially goodlooking, they were fairly tall and rugged (I was thinking future football players here) and their daddy owned the stockyards. This had the look of a marriage made in heaven! I took Susan out. She was sweet, polite, intelligent, congenial and fun. This was almost too easy! Until I asked her for a second date. She turned me down flat! Apparently I was the one with a few “social” flaws. She handed the phone to Marsha so I could ask her out but she interrupted to save us both some time, “Don’t bother, I’ve already gotten the word.”
Before I proposed to Cathy I asked if her daddy owned a stockyard, if she cared for worldly trinkets and if twins ran in her family. No was her answer to all three. There ain’t no accounting for love—we decided to trust to God and luck. No twins, but I got to tell her about Gray and Floy. I took her to see “Parent Trap.” And she’s met the twins in my family. I don’t remember if I mentioned the Abernathy girls or not.
Christy Staab had twin daughters. I went over when they were babies just to drool on them. What a special treat! As they grew older they would come to the house and play with the cats that somehow got born in my closet. I had the honor of taking them for ice cream. I stood’em side by side, peered deep in their eyes and said, “You’re Kyrsten, no wait a second, you’re Kaitlen!” They would roll their eyes and giggle.
I loved every second of it, and pondered again on what I had done wrong to miss the fun, the joy, the blessing of having my own set so I could finally figure out which one was wearing the red suit and which one had on the blue.
I don’t feel cheated. I’m not blaming God, my wife, bad karma or the weather. My family is healthy. The boys don’t call for money. We have a terrific grandson and a beautiful granddaughter. And Josh and Lindsey informed us back in October that they were expecting again. My blessings have blessings.
Josh called this afternoon. Lindsey had been for one of those sonogram things that shows whether it’s going to be a girl or a boy. “Daddy, are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this. It’s twin girls!”