Posted in Family

My Happily Ever After

I’ve known my husband since I was eleven years old and he was twelve, that’s how it is in a small town.  My family ran onto some hard times and had to move to the po’ side o’ town.  That’s the poor side of town for those who aren’t from there.  You’ve heard the joke…..we were so po we couldn’t afford the ‘or’.  Jason lived 2 blocks away to the right.  We did not have a love at first sight experience.  Actually, he was crushing on my sister instead and would bring her roses he’d stolen from somebody’s flowerbed.  They were outside sitting on the porch and I could be found next door watching Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey with my Grannie, not giving two thoughts to boys.

We went to Middle School and High School together where he was a year older than me.  We hung out in different crowds, but said hello in passing.

I was in my early adulthood when I figured out that I knew everyone in both the police record and the wedding announcements.  Small town stuff.  Early adulthood is when society dictates that you should get married.  I wasn’t married, nor was I anywhere close.  There’s a sort of panic that sets in when you figure out that you aren’t on the same time frame as the rest of the world.

Being a single girl in a small town is not an easy thing to do.  Up until I found and married Jason, I was constantly being asked who I was dating, why wasn’t I dating, or someone was trying to fix me up.  Eventually the well meaning townsfolk decided I was probably a lesbian and left me alone.

One day in 1998 I went to the grocery store to buy Fruity Pebbles and Ramen Noodles, staples in my single-girl diet.  As I was walking out, a girl I knew stopped me in the parking lot and told me someone’s truck had just rolled into my car.   In small towns everyone knows what everyone else drives.  I rolled my eyes and groaned. This turned out to be my third wreck in a parking lot!  In my experience, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The police won’t do much because it’s considered private property.  You just have to hope the other guy has insurance and is a respectable dude who will take care of it.  When I got into eye shot, I saw this empty, avocado green,  beat up Ford pickup had knocked out of gear and rolled about fifty feet before slamming his taillights into my headlights.

It belonged to Jason.  I knew that the minute I saw it.  Small town stuff.  Neither of us were in our vehicles at the time.  It was almost as if  this old, green, beat up Ford truck  saw this fancy, new, bluish purple Mustang and said, “Hey there, wild thang with the 4 cylinder.   I think you need a better look at my rear end.”   I leaned against the side of my car and waited for him to meander out of the store.  He was all apologies, promised he’d take care of it.  And he did.  He called me up and asked me to take it to a certain body shop, the car got fixed and life went on.  And that was that.

For five more years.
Dates with crazies came and went.
Then I became a recluse.
I would never go out. People would tell me I needed to be out meeting people. But I had met people, and they turned out to be daddy’s boys or killer cops and I’d rather stay home and watch Survivor alone. If somebody wanted to date me, they were going to have to knock on my door. And that was that.

Then one day I came home from work to find Jason’s name on my caller ID.  That was curious, but I assumed it was a wrong number.  He called back two days later and asked me out.  We talked for three hours.    I was teaching school and a parent of one of my students, that happened to be a friend of his, had suggested he ask me out.  He remarked that I was too sweet for him, which is true.  But a few days later, we passed each other on the main road in town and waved, and prompted him to call.  I’d had my experiences with cowboys, not to mention their dads, and didn’t figure it would go anywhere, but I agreed.  Eating Ramen Noodles was getting pretty old by this time.

It worked out pretty good.
He wore a yellow shirt.
I ordered chicken.

We had a second date.
He took me horseback riding.

I needed a boost on the butt.

He happily obliged.
I was petrified.

We had a third date.
At a comedy club.
His truck started breaking down on the way home.

A few months later he proposed to me on bended knee.
We got married.
He still has to give me a boost on the butt.
A much bigger boost on a much larger butt.

Sometimes, when I get nostalgic, I’ll think about the wreck we had in the parking lot both in unmanned vehicles.  I learned later that of course that po’ boy didn’t have any car insurance  but knew a guy who could fix my car.  They did a little bartering and Jason broke a horse for the body shop man in exchange for payment. Small town stuff.

It’s a funny story I guess.  Maybe even a coincidence.

Perhaps it was Fate.
Or Destiny.
Or the cosmos aligning perfectly with Mercury in the Sixth House.

But if you really want to know the truth, I believe it was God.
I believe that he intended for that collision of two unmanned vehicles to be the beginning of Jason and Angel.  A collision of love.
And we just weren’t listening.

That was a move on His part to create His will for two dumb pilgrims down here, and we missed it.  So he went to Plan B.    He works around our goofs.
Because He’s cool like that.

This entry is #15 on a list of 30 things.  How I fell in love.

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Posted in Animals, Children

First Day on the Job with Daddy

Yesterday, EK went to work with J-Dub.  He’s breaking her in young.  He documented their day with pictures.

Driving lessons in the feed truck.
Someone has to get the gate.
Daddy and Emma counting cows.
There’s dinner……and I don’t mean steak.
Closing the gate.

Feeding G.G.
feeling the grass with her footsies for the first time.
Relaxing in the wildflowers after a long day’s work.
Posted in Uncategorized

J-Dub’s Burfday

Today my sweet husband turns 38 years old.

Remember when you were a little kid and made homemade cards?  I’m still doing that.  Especially after I’ve already gotten home from town and forgotten the dang thing.

He’s not home yet, because he’s still working. 

That’s what he does.

  Works his butt off.  The word lazy is not in his vocabulary.  Unless he’s talking to me.  Nah, I’m only kidding.  He may think it, but he doesn’t say it.  He knows when its best to hold the tongue. 

He has so many wonderful qualities. 

He’s a good drummer.

He’s a great cook.

A patient uncle.

Whose not afraid to get a little dirty.

A handsome devil.

A loving husband.

And my best friend.

Happy birthday, Jason!

Posted in Uncategorized

Radio Contest

My husband, J-Dub, is a music nut.   He can tell you a song after hearing 2 notes played.  He knows the lyrics, the artists, the name of the album, and the year it was released. 

I, on the other hand, am a music flunkee.  I make up lyrics.  Whatever sounds close, that will work for me.   I mistake the sound of a fiddle for an electric guitar.  I think a woman’s singing when it’s actually a man.   I think The Beatles are The Monkees, I think Robert Palmer is Ronald Palmer.  Big deal.  I’m laughed at regularly, but I’m used to it by now. 

Today J-Dub is trying to win a radio contest.   It’s a big one.  Five hundred dollars to be given away to the ninth caller who can correctly identify a song by its first 3 notes that was played earlier.  And guess what?  J-Dub knows it.  He’s 100% positive.  He and his buddy had the cassett tape and rewound it over and over and over.  He’s appalled at the guesses of the people who have actually been caller #9.  All day he’s been trying to win this contest.  He only receives a busy signal, and the one time he did get through, he was caller #7.  It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.  He’s won several radio contests.  Maybe a free CD, maybe a couple of tickets to a show, but never anything as win-worthy as $500.

He’s been hauling hay all day, so a radio and a cell phone have been right handy for him.  Since he’s been home, we’ve been listening to the radio, ever attentively listening for the little jingle that signals the time to try to be caller #9. 

But now, he’s gone outside to do the chores, and I’ve been left in charge of winning this contest.  Me.  He has left me, the musical flunkee,  in charge of remembering the name of a song I’ve never heard before.  Oh the pressure. 

However he knows me oh-so-well, so before he walked out the door, he programmed the radio station number in my phone, and handed me a yellow sticky note on which he has written the name of the song, the artist, the phone number to the radio station, and which caller I’m supposed to be.  Just in case I need to know all that stuff.  And just so I won’t act like an idiot if I actually do win, he’s even written down what I’m supposed to say when they ask me, “What station makes you a winner?”

Knowing my luck, I’d have to stammer and stutter….”uh…..uh……100.3? 93.1? 87.9, The Car?  The Cat?” 

I wonder if they’d still give me the money if I was unable to identify their radio station?  Would they know I was a fraud?  Someone who never listens to their station, only when I’m forced to by my beloved?

So here I sit, needing to go to the bathroom.  But instead I’m frozen into place, ear turned to the speaker, white fisting my sticky note in one hand and my cell phone in the other while blogging with my tongue.  The ink on my sticky note smearing from my sweaty palm to a blue smudge by the time I make it to caller #9.

The stress is too much for me.  

J-Dub, where are you?????

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A Marble Cake

She’s 12 today.

A beautiful joy.  Even with a wad of orange gum in her mouth.

She asked if she could have a marble cake.  Sure, you can.  And then she looked at her grandmother, and in her best 12-year-old, you’ve-got-to-be-kiddin-me, pre-teen, on-the-verge-of-knowing-everything voice, she said “You know that’s a KIND of a cake, not a cake with real marbles.”  She may have even rolled her eyes.  

Oh my.

As if my mother, her grandmother, has managed to live 60 some-odd years and not know what a marble cake is. 

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, Hey teenager! Tired of your parents?  Move out, get a job, and pay your own way while you still know everything.

Last night I baked a birthday cake for my niece.  It was one of those beautiful double layer chocolate cakes.  I wish I had a picture to show you, except it was an awful mess lying out in the pasture where I chunked it.  First of all, when I flipped the cake pans over, half the cake stuck to the bottom of the pan leaving lopsided, gouged out layers.  Not the total end of the world, I thought.  Maybe I could level it out and still make it look nice.  Icing it was another problem as crumbs mingled with icing causing a gloppy mess.  Finally to top it off, I picked up a big bite-size chunk of cake and popped it in my mouth.  It may look bad, but at least it tasted good.  Wrong.  I was talking on the phone when I was mixing the batter and, well, I must’ve been a bit side-tracked and doubled or maybe quadrupled the salt.  Salty cake just ain’t all that tasty, let me tell you.

After rinsing my mouth out under the faucet, I picked up the glass cake  stand by the pedestal, carried it out to the pasture, reached back, and slung the cake off the pedestal as far as I could.  I’m sure a coyote had a nice treat last night.  And probably a belly ache.  Today I imagine he’s suffering from hypertension due to an elevated sodium intake.

My husband, who hangs his Superman cap in the closet each night, cooked ribeye steaks, risotto, asparagus, and spinach strawberry salad for my niece’s birthday dinner tonight.

Oh yeah, and he stayed up until 1:30 IN THE MORNING baking  her a lovely cake.

One that came out of the pans beautifully,

Iced wonderfully, and

Tasted divinely.

The best  marble cake I’ve ever had.

Happy Birthday Ashy!

Posted in Family, Love

A Cowboy’s Hat

This morning I stumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen, poured myself a cup of ambition, yawned and stretched and tried to come alive.

Not really.  It’s Saturday.  I slept later than usual, I awoke refreshed and feeling great, and meandered to the bathroom.

Then I peeked out the window to see if my husband’s truck was outside which meant he hadn’t left for work yet.  I didn’t see it, and I couldn’t hear any rustling around the house, so I assumed he wasn’t home.

Until I saw his hat on the kitchen table.  Then I knew he was here somewhere.

 

His dirty, black hat,  equipped with a toothpick, only goes where he goes.

It’s pretty crusty, wouldn’t you agree?  Some people think he needs a new one.  But why?  This one is nearing the point of perfection.

He catches some grief from others about this dirty hat.  Not long ago, a friend asked him when he was going to clean it.  Never, that’s when.  It takes a long time, years in fact, to get a hat to fit right and feel right, and cleaning it might mess with the dirt, sweat, and grime that has made it the hat it is today.

My mom has finally resigned the issue.  She gave up the cause for a  new hat.  For years on his birthday or Christmas, she would give him gift cards to a western store in hopes that he would buy a new hat.  He bought jeans and socks instead.

She hasn’t complained about this hat, but his last hat she hated.  She even let him know she hated his hat.

This is his old hat.  It’s pretty bad.  To the untrained eye, it might look identical to his present hat, but look closely.

There are no toothpicks , the buckle is badly bent, and the dirt is thicker.  Much, much, thicker.

On Christmas morning, we opened the door to find a present, wrapped and sitting on our porch.  We assumed it was from my brother and his wife Janene, because that’s their style.  Just leave it on the porch.  But upon opening it, we discovered a brand new black felt hat.  It was from J-Dub’s friend Ol’ Earl, who pitied him for his dirty, black hat.

Of course J-Dub has a going-to-town hat too.   That’s what he calls his dress hat.

It’s stocked with toothpicks as well.  He wears it with his going-to-town watch and his going-to-town belt.

This is my husband’s hat.  It has character, it fits right, and it stays on his head.  Except for the day I had to chase it across the prairie in -34 degree wind chill.  But the only reason it blew off that day was because he had a scarf on his head.

Not an old lady scarf, but a cowboy scarf, otherwise known as a wild rag.  I love this picture.  He hates it.  He looks like  an old lady to me. A babushka, an old Russian grandmother.  Generally he doesn’t leave the house looking like this, but the bitterness of the cold that day was unbearable.  He needed to protect his ears, and the silkiness of the wild rag caused his hat to blow away.  Which didn’t make the day any more enjoyable.

While others look at this hat and see a dirty, black hat in desperate need of the trash can, I see a hard-working husband.  I see the sweat from his brow on a summer day, the mud from the pens where he’s sorting cattle, the dust and dirt caking his face.  I see him rolling out hay in frigid temperatures, breaking ice on frozen water tanks, doctoring sick calves.  I see him branding cattle, building fence, shipping yearlings.  I see the his love for the occupation,  the land, the lifestyle, and his love for me.

I admire this dirty, black hat.

But much more, I admire the man who wears it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Goulash, Grandparents, and Regret

Last night I attempted cooking, which in and of itself is a feat.  I can honestly say, of the things I have been complimented, cooking is not one of them.  There are people who are renowned simply for being a good cook.  If their name comes up in conversation, people’s eyes roll back in their heads as they utter the words, “oh, she’s a good cook, Have you ever tried her carrot cake, she can make the best homemade rolls I’ve ever tasted.”  Etcetera, etcetera. Blah, blah.

Not me.  Okay.  It’s not something I’ve ever learned to do or really enjoyed doing.

Last night, my little drummer boy husband grabbed his drumsticks and headed out to play a  gig, so it was just me and my niece Ashlynn at home. 

I wanted goulash.  J-Dub doesn’t like goulash, but I love it.  Mind you, I’ve only ever had one person’s goulash in my entire life, and that was my grandmother’s.  If she ever used recipes for cooking, I haven’t the foggiest as to where to locate those.  So when I searched the internet for recipes similar to her goulash, I was met with an assortment of crap.  Crap, I tell you. 

Obviously, goulash is a Hungarian dish, not a southern poor man’s dish as I always thought.  The  recipes called for ingredients that I’m sure my Grannie never had in her pantry at any time, like Rotel for instance.

So I text my sister, and she immediately texts back with a bunch of rigmarole ingredients for so-called “Grannie’s Goulash”. 

I had an idea that she was crazy.  Mustard really?  So I called my Aunt Bert (my Grannie’s daughter).  She thought it was a little this, and a little that, and maybe some of this. 

Well that seemed closer, but it just wasn’t good enough for me.  I need a recipe!!!  I need to know how much of this and that. I operate in teaspoons and tablespoons, people.

I returned to the internet, and googled Southern goulash.  Recipes popped up with okra in them.   Who in the world puts okra in their goulash???? Huh?  Huh?  Just answer me that.   Next I googled Old-fashioned goulash.    Marjoram and tomato soup?  Puh-lease!!! 

Then when my frustrations were at an all time high, and my stomach was growling, I got the crazy notion to google my grandmother’s name and goulash.  Just hoping maybe, just maybe, someone had published a long-lost recipe of her goulash. 

And to my surprise, that brought up absolutely nothing. 

Except it led me to an ancestry site. 

So my search for goulash took an unexpected turn to ancestry on my mother’s side.    And I’m fascinated.  I’ve never given much thought to my ancestors, but now that I’m getting older, my brain is changing, along with my priorities, and I’m understanding  the impact of my lineage. 

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of “old” family.  There are people my same age, who grew up with a great-grandmother, a great-great grandmother even, but not me.  I’ve only ever had grandmothers.  My great grandparents died before I came into this world, and I never even knew a grandfather.  Sad huh?  I guess my people died young, or procreated old, and too many years are in-between.

I’ve heard my Grannie talk about her parents, but I’d forgotten their names until last night when they started showing up on my computer screen.  Suddenly they became real people, with dreams, and love for one another, and hopes, and journeys, and trials. 

Just like me. 

Now I wish when I sat in the TV room with my Grannie,  while she rattled on with stories I’d heard before, about people who were cold in the ground, with events that were unimportant to my teenage ears, that instead of slumping over in my chair and wishing she’d stop droning on, that I’d had a cell phone with voice recorder, a video recorder,  a tape recorder, shoot even a pencil and pad and would have written down her stories.  But of course, I never thought they’d matter to me. 

How foolish we are in our youth.

Since I’ve begun blogging, I’ve been forced to dip into my memory banks.  Often I find them empty or half erased, and I must fill them in with how I believe it must have been.  Was I wearing tennis shoes in that blizzard, or were they high heeled show girl boots like my dad remembers? 

I have stories to tell, people to remember, events to unfold.  Other people may not care about them, but I do.

“You and your husband might have looked out the same kitchen window for twenty years, your eyes might be as green as  your uncle Harry’s, but twenty bucks says you don’t see the world as they do.  Start writing to save your life.  Stories only happen to those who can tell them.”—-Lou Willett Stanek

 

START WRITING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.  STORIES ONLY HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO CAN TELL THEM. 

And then others must remember them, and in turn, tell them.

My great -grandfather Eugene “Gene” Ira married my great-grandmother Emma Olive (oh my gosh I love that name) and had 2 daughters, Mary and Imogene, my grandmother. 

I want to talk to those people.  I want to talk to them real bad.  I imagine their black and white faces, their frumpy clothes, their aprons, their weathered hands.  They were tough.  They had to be. I want to hear their stories, and share their stories.  It’s like instantly, I realize I am on this earth, in part because of these people. 

They are MY people.  

My great-grandparents:

Eugene “Gene”  Ira: Aug 22, 1883-Jan 15, 1966  Age. 81

Emma Olive:  Dec 7, 1879- Aug 7, 1911 Age 32

My grandmother Imogene, whose name came from her dad Gene and her mom Emma loved me, cherished me, delighted in me and made the best goulash of which I can not recreate.

And me?

I’ve forgotten her stories.

 Stories only happen to those who can tell them.