He had been at ropings and a few parties I had attended. I vaguely remember him lurking near the pool tables at my favorite bar. He caught my eye because I caught him looking at me. When our eyes met, he smiled a perfect white smile and winked at me with a twinkling green eyes, then walked away. I asked The Bullrider who he was. Johnny said, “some guy you shouldn’t mess with.” Now, that was the wrong thing to say. Especially to me. Because, that made it all the more interesting.
I noticed he occasionally was accompanied by a tall, long haired, Osage woman. They did not appear to be a couple, but they did not just come across as ‘friends only’. I asked around and found out he and this Osage woman dated off and on. I also found out in my asking around that he was asking about me. He was known by his nickname. I thought this was funny. I also was only known as my nickname, Blondie. To this day, I am still called that. I am pretty sure some people do not even know my real name.
Johnny was in Texas at a PBR rodeo event. One night after the bars closed, best friend L. and I had an after bar party at The House. We had not lived in the house long but we were already well known for our wild after bar parties. Those were legendary. That particular night we had a houseful of people, a lot of people showed up. A group of us were sitting in the living room on the floor getting ready to start a card game. I am not sure what kind of cards we were playing but it was a card game that kept score because I was writing names down on a piece of paper. He came over and sat next to me.
Earlier that evening in the bar he sent me over a budlite and a shot of Wild Turkey. My favorite 2 drinks. I was distracted by a heated game of pool but I remember sending him a wave of thanks across the bar. He never did come over and talk. In fact, I noticed he did not do a whole lot of talking to anyone, ever.He must have asked James the bartender what I liked to drink. This impressed me a little bit. Everyone thought I was 21. I was still shy 2 months or more of my 21st birthday. I had a fake ID that I used often. Best friend L never got carded, then she turned 21 a few months before me.
Anyhow, we were all sitting cross-legged on the floor and I asked him if he wanted to join in the card game. He said,”Sure.” I asked him his name and he said, “Steven.” I remember saying, “Really? That’s your real name?.” Because for quite some time I had only known him by his nickname. “Yes.”, he answered with a smile.
We played cards for about an hour. I must have been losing because it got boring. I jumped up and grabbed Steven’s hand. I said,”Come on, I want to show you something.” I remember hearing best guy friend D. saying, “Oh no, this could be bad. She’s crazy sober and even worse when she’s drunk!” I told him to shut up because he was, after all, out messing around on his wife, who was doing the same thing to him back in those days. D’s divorce was not long off. I never did understand why he got married so young anyhow.
I led Steven thru the house and outside. I called up my horse. I grabbed my bridle and put it on him. I told Steven to give me a leg up, then reached down to pull him up onto the bareback of my horse. He stood there looking up at me. I said,”C’mon, I’ll help you up.” Steven said, “I am not that good of a rider…” I thought he was just drunk, but wasn’t sure. I remember answering something along the lines of, “Don’t give me that shit, over half your kinfolk ropes and playdays, your Uncle E has some of the best roping horses in the county, get on.” Of course, I had never actually seen him in the saddle at any ropings, I did see him loading/unloading horses and saddling, so I figured he must ride. Well, it turned out he was not the best rider but he was comfortable around horses. He did not fall off when we were riding bareback that night in our drunken states. That did impress me a bit. He was paying attention to my horse, if he was not then he’d have hit the ground many times. Mean of me, I know……but that’s me or it was back in the old days.
It was a bright night. The moon was out, it must have been clear, I remember seeing stars. It was a warm night for the time of year. We headed out to the back of the cattle pasture that ran towards the creek. I couldn’t see very well, either because it was dark or I was drunk, probably the latter. But I trusted my horse. He knew the trail we were riding, we rode this way all the time. We came up to the creek and stopped at the edge. There was about a 25 foot drop straight down the bank. On the edge of the creek was a sandy spot. In that spot was about 30 turtles. Best friend L. and I had been out running our coonhounds back there a few nights before and came upon the snapping turtles. Some were HUGE! We couldn’t believe the size of a few of them. I mean, they were the biggest turtles I have EVER seen outside a museum or zoo. It must have been mating season the way they had gathered. Being the Nature Lover that I am, I wanted to share this with someone in my drunken state. Steven looked like a good victim, and I was wanting to get him off alone to see what he was really like. I wonder if he knew what a risk it was he had taken that night? Probably by now he does…
We sat there and watched the turtles, flirted and talked a bit. He was interested in me, what I was about,and………. how involved I was with Johnny. Which at that time, I had been ready to move on. I am pretty sure I yakked about my horse and coon hunting, probably not much else. He listened and seemed interested. He gave me the feeling he was interested in me, not just getting into my pants (that night anyhow). I liked his quietness. He seemed to have that calm Southernness persona down well. I am not a spaz-type person, but I can tend to be a bit hyper, abrupt or on occassion, manic (usually when I am very busy and need to accomplish something). He seemed to always go at the same steady pace, always easy going, not much appeared to get him excited. Just like a good old reliable gelding is………(he might not like that comparison!)
“We had better be getting back.”, He said. ”I have to be at work in a few hours.” Daybreak was coming quick. We rode back to the house. The party was still going on, even more people had showed up. I stopped my horse near the pasture gate and slid off. He did not make an effort to touch me. I said “Goodbye.” and watched him get into his old brown Chevy truck and drive off. Then I ran back to the party.
The next evening I saw him again, but we remained friends. As the weeks turned into months, we became very good friends. I liked his honest smile and the fact that he listened. He listened to everyone, he was more interested in hearing what someone had to say than saying his part. I liked his slow Southern drawl and his calloused hands. I liked his mind, he was very smart and very much a redneck. I liked that he knew I needed my space and did not crowd me.
I am sure you can guess who HE is, he is my hubby. I thought I had better write something nice about him. Lately, I have not been feeling so pleasant towards him. Like all men, he can be an absolute jerk…..but I suppose I can be hard to deal with at times……not often.