I arrived home to Indiana and quickly left on a ten day trip to the beach with my parents. It was a wonderful trip. I did absolutely nothing the entire time we were there but lay on the beach and jog (I actually liked jogging then… what happened?).
After my long relaxing vacation I packed up and headed to Colorado Springs for a week long rodeo secretary school held at the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association…. our equivalent to the NBA, or NFL) office. The school was about eight hours a day so in the evenings I had a lot of free time. Two days in to the school… on Tuesday night… it was time to put my “Make Otey McCloy fall in love with me” plan in to action.
Cody (remember him?) and Otey had lived together when Otey first got the job at Missouri Valley. Recently, Otey had bought a house there in town and Cody stayed in their old one. I knew this… but Otey did not know that I knew this. Cody and I had been friends for years and in the rodeo world, when you have a long drive and are passing by a friend’s (or sometimes even acquaintance’s) house you call them up and stop and stay the night. It’s never formal. No need to be cooked for… just a bed to sleep in and then you are on the road again bright and early the next morning. Do you see where this is going?
I called Cody’s house… aka… Otey’s house on Tuesday evening…
Me: (long pause like I was thrown off by someone other than Cody answering the phone) Cody? Is Cody there?
Otey: No, Cody doesn’t live here anymore. Is this Kathy?
Me: Ya… this is Kathy, who’s this? (insert evil laugh here… he’s puddy in my hands)
Otey interrupted me…
Otey: Hey Kathy. This is Otey.
Me: Oh! Hey. (in my best surprised voice)
Otey: I just moved and Cody and I don’t live together anymore. Do you have his cell phone number?
Me: Ya, it’s no big deal, I was just going to call him and see if I could stop at his house on my way through on Friday night. I’ll be driving back from Colorado. (OH MY GOSH I’M SMOOTH)
Otey: Why don’t you just stop at my house? Cody and I are entered at Montgomery and will be gone for the weekend… my house will be empty. I’ll put clean sheets on my bed and leave the door unlocked if you want to stay.
Me: Thanks…. I’m not even sure if I will need to stop, just depends on when I come through and how tired I am. If I decide to stop, I’ll call you for directions on Friday before I get there.
Heck ya I’m stopping. Heck ya I’m staying. Heck ya I’m going to sniff your pillow cases and pretend that I live in your house. This is almost like a date… except that he didn’t ask me and he won’t actually be there. Other than that… it’s JUST like a date. Okay… it was going to be nothing like a date but I was still on cloud nine.
Friday could not arrive fast enough. They let my class out a little early because they were forecasting a big snow storm in Colorado. What? There was no way a little blizzard was coming between me and Otey McCloy’s house. I left out from Colorado Springs like four hours earlier than I had originally thought I would get to leave. I drove my silver Durango like a silver bullet… right across Eastern Colorado… right across Kansas… and as I approached Kansas City (that’s the Kansas/Missouri line) I called Otey’s cell phone to get directions to his house…
Me: Hey Otey. If it’s still alright, I think I’ll stop and stay at your house tonight on my way home. I was just calling to find out where it was.
Otey: (he gave me directions… I’ll spare you those details) Oh… and I’ll be here when you get here. I didn’t have a very good one (proven bronc) at Montgomery so I turned out and stayed home.
WHAT??!!!??!! HOLY. CRAP. HE’S AT HIS HOUSE!!! HOLY. CRAP. I’M GOING TO SEE OTEY MCCLOY TONIGHT. HOLY. CRAP. HOOOOLLLLYYYYY CRAP.
Me: Oh… is it still okay if I come through? ***please say yes, please say yes, please say yes***
Otey: Sure, I just put clean sheets on the bed in case you called.
Me: Great, I’ll call you when I get close.
Now. Here is where the slight flaw in my perfect plan shows it’s ugly head. Remember how I left Colorado Springs four hours early? Remember how I drove like a silver bullet across middle America? Well, now if I kept on route, I was going to arrive in Marshall at Otey’s house at about 6:00. That wasn’t okay. It had to look like I just needed a place to sleep. It’s only six hours from Marshall to Indiana. If I was to drive on through I would be home by midnight. Under normal circumstances I would NEVER stop for the night if I was going to make it home by midnight. Truthfully, back then I drove all night all of the time. But I had a plan. I had to stick to my plan. I had to come up with a solution….
I arrived in Kansas City at about 5:00. I decided to stop at my favorite mall (when you travel like I do you have one in every city) and kill some time so I would arrive at Otey’s house late enough to seem believable. Man I was sneaky… and smart… and a dork. I wondered around with butterflies in my stomach. I call Ashley and screamed in the phone that I was about to see Otey McCloy at somewhere other than a rodeo. I was nervous. I was happy. I was giddy. I was feeling like a 13 year old girl instead of the 24 year old woman who supposedly had it all together. How did he always make me act like such a dork?
After leaving the mall I decided that I was still a little ahead of schedule. I stopped at a truck stop that I frequent when driving across I-70, and went in for a quick pee break and a bottle of water. That’s when it happened… I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized I was still all gussied up from the meetings that morning. ***What? I can’t go to Otey’s house like this… he’ll think I like him or something!!! He’ll think I am trying to get him to like me!!!*** I quickly ran out to my car and searched through my suitcase for the perfect thing to wear. ***Come on come on come on…. my clothes should say look at me… I can travel all day and still look fabulous… but not too fabulous… like I am so secure that I don’t actually look at myself in the mirror… like I just rolled out of bed this morning with full makeup and fresh breath… like if you pick me I’ll never belch in front of you or skip a day shaving my legs…I am that fabulous.*** I changed in to some black yoga pants, a long sleeve bright colored t-shirt (of course just the right amount of white tank-top hanging out the bottom) and took off all my big jewelry. I put on some more casual earrings, and left the makeup and hair looking put together.
Now I look comfy. Now I look like I just drove all day. Now I can show off my skinny butt that I had been killing myself to maintain but not look like I was trying to impress him.
I did call Ashley in the middle of my backseat wardrobe change to make sure she thought I was choosing the perfect outfit.
I then climbed back to the driver’s seat and headed out for the last 45 minutes that stood between me and the future father of my children.
I called him as I made the last turn just a few blocks from his house. l was sick, shaking, and nervous as I pulled into his drive. I was so scared. What were we going to talk about? I was about to be alone with him for the very first time.
He stepped out on to his front porch as I turned in to the drive. I died. Just the sight of him made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was like one of those sappy movies in slow motion until his new roommates little Jack Russell Terrier (the same kind of dog I had/have) bolted out the door and Otey took off chasing him. THANK YOU LORD. An ice breaker. Now it wouldn’t be so awkward. I quickly jumped out and preceded to help him try to catch the little maniac dog. I could tell that he felt kind of awkward too. We didn’t even know each other. What on earth would we talk about?
After catching the dog we went in to his new house and sat down at the “kitchen table”. I put that in quotes because his “kitchen table” was a round folding table (you know, with the plastic top?) and four metal folding chairs of different sizes and colors with all of the previous owner’s names neatly stencilled on the back. One was green with a padded seat. That was the one I choose (I think we still have that chair somewhere).
We started to talk…
We started out talking about rodeo and the college region, and it was so easy… so comfortable. We talked about our families, our friends, our previous jobs. We talked about politics, sports, and our religious beliefs. We talked for hours and hours. Not once did the subject of relationships come up. Not once did he give me any clue to whether or not he was interested in me. Not once did I blurt out I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABIES. We sat there and talked for hours. The perfect Otey McCloy that I had created in my head was even better in real life. I knew I loved him before I got there that night, but now it wasn’t crazy. Okay… it might have still been a LITTLE crazy… but now there was no doubt… I loved him.
We sat there in those metal folding chairs on opposite sides of that folding table until the sun came up. We laughed about how it kind of defeated the point of me stopping to sleep since we stayed up all night. He suggested that I try to catch a couple hours of sleep before I headed on to Indiana, so he showed me to his room and then headed out to the barn to feed.
I climbed in to his bed… it smelled like clean sheets and felt like heaven since I had been up for over 24 hours now. I still had no clue if he was just a nice guy who liked to visit, or if he was maybe a tiny bit attracted to me. I laid my head on his pillow, looked up at his white popcorn ceiling and said these words out loud with a satisfaction I had never felt in my 24 years…
I was sure. I was positive. I was in love. He didn’t know it yet… but he was going to marry me.
to be continued…