There he stood in front of me. He was just as handsome as he was nice. Thank you God for a fresh face in the Ozark Region. A fresh HOT face. His clothes were starched and his hat was shaped just right. He immediately started in on official rodeo business and I tried my best to stay focused and impress him with my rodeo knowledge and secretary skills all the time wondering ***Is my breath stinky from the six hour drive? Does he have a girlfriend? A wife? Nope… no ring, no wife. Jackpot. There is hope. Girlfriends can be gotten rid of, right? Focus Kathy. YOU ARE A SUPER SECRETARY. Woo him with your brains.*** We spoke a few more minutes about rodeo business and then he was off to tend to coach business and I was off to secretary like I had never secretaryed before. Man… I might have been an even bigger dork back then than I am now.
After the performance Thursday night “one” arrived to talk about “us”. Was there an “us”? There used to be an “us”… but then he screwed “us” up and made “us” in to “us” and all his other friends. I met “one” and we sat in my car and talked for hours that night. By the time it was over, I had decided that he really was a changed man. I owed him another chance.
I made it through the weekend. I had this weird little crush on Otey McCloy… but “one”… he deserved another chance.
I left on Saturday night and drove down to Branson to stay for a few days before our next rodeo in Arkansas. “One” and I were talking and things were going great… so why was I DYING for Monday night to arrive when Otey would call me just to make sure his team was entered properly for that next rodeo? It was silly. I didn’t even know Otey McCloy. “One” and I had history. I owed it to him to give it one more shot.
Wednesday afternoon I was sitting at the table talking to Kathy (Kathy Sankey) and I told her that I didn’t know if I wanted to deal with the possible heart break that another go around with “one” could bring. I told her that I didn’t care about dating just to date. I was happy alone. If I didn’t think he was possibly the person I was supposed to be with forever, I didn’t want to waste my time. I confessed to Kathy that I had a tiny little stupid junior high crush on the new coach at Missouri Valley. She laughed and pointed out the obvious fact that I didn’t even really know him. I laughed and said…
“What? You don’t think Kathy McCloy has a better ring than Kathy One anyway?” We giggled at my school girl crush because that was all it was.
“One” and I continued to talk and see each other. He ended up living in Branson for awhile that fall so we saw each other a lot more often then we ever had before. My confidence in him was growing. He really was a changed man. He really did care about me.
Then the unenviable happened. I was home in Indiana for a couple of weeks and I received a phone call from a dear friend. To put it quite simply… The “one”? Turns out he hadn’t changed. Turns out the old saying proved to be true.
Once a cheater. Always a cheater.
I spent the two weeks following that phone call in Indiana substitute teaching and working out like a wild woman. The “One” tried to lie… tried to apologize… but it was too late. I was done. I kind of went numb for those weeks. I just wanted to put the “one” behind me and get back to being me. Get back to being happy all by myself. I think deep down inside I knew that this final attempt at being with “one” was never going to work. I just knew I wanted to be with a man that was trying to live a Christ like life, and in trying to do the same thing myself, I felt like I had to believe in him. Believe that God can really change a person’s heart.
But this time…
We had our last college rodeo of the fall semester in Murray Kentucky the end of November. It had been a month since I had seen Otey and I was nervous again. Nervous like I was before meeting him that first time months before. I desperately wanted him to notice me. Notice me like NOTICE me. I still had no clue if he had a girlfriend. I still had no clue if he was the tiniest bit interested in me. All I knew for sure was that he made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I knew that when he would call with a simple two minute rodeo question I was giddy for hours. I knew that I never set in my rodeo office counting the seconds until someone walked in the door until I met Otey McCloy. I knew… that I wanted to know more.
Otey spent quite a bit of time in the office that weekend. But it was cold out, and both of the rodeo judges were friends of his (the judges are in the office a lot before and after the rodeo). I got to listen to him visit with them and laugh and be more then just Otey the rodeo coach. The more I saw of him, the more I knew this wasn’t just a junior high crush. On the last day of the rodeo Cody Martin (remember him? My friend? He used to travel with Otey and now he was on his rodeo team?) and I were sitting out on the curb enjoying the sunshine and catching up on old times. Ironically, he was asking me for advice about a girl he wanted to date. During that conversation I manged to collect some valuable info…
Otey did not have a girlfriend.
Murray was the last time I would see Otey until the first Spring semester rodeo in February. I was excited to find out he didn’t have a girlfriend, but I was also scared that might change before February. Not only would I not get to see him, I would have no reason to talk to him on the phone.
He had only been a part of my life for such a short time but the thought of two months without talking to him seemed like an eternity. And let me just tell you, that’s what it felt like too.
Over those two months I regained the confidence that “one” had stolen from me. I spent time with my family and with the Sankeys. I focused on my relationship with the Lord. Several years before I had made a re-dedication to living a clean and pure life. A life focused on God. But it took all of the drama of that fall for me to really come to peace with the fact that he was enough. That if I was right with God, everything was right. I had been living a life focused on God for several years, but the security and peace that I found over those two months was amazing.
February was fast approaching and that meant I would soon get to talk to Otey again. Those months focusing on me, focusing on what God wanted for me had made one thing crystal clear…
The feelings I had were not a junior high crush.
They were so much more.
They were all I could think about.
They were right.
To be continued…