This page was originally my "About Me" page but I realized not long after I wrote it that its really not about ME, but my love story- which happens to be an enormous chunk of me- but not me, me, if you know what I mean. Rather than discard it, I've decided to revise and properly name it for what it truly is. Those of you who've already read it, its about the same. Those who haven't, read on, if you're interested.
I guess when I was younger I always had a feeling that my life wasn't interesting enough to be the writer I dreamed of being. That in order to tell a story, I had to have life experiences of my own to draw from. I guess I could have been right, but regardless, its this feeling that pulled me away from my home town to work at a dude ranch in Colorado just after graduation. I remember this wonderful feeling before I left and as I was making preparations for my future that- now it could all begin. It felt as if the opportunities were endless before me. I sent my resume to more than a dozen dude ranches and heard nothing. But, as fate would have it, I had a friend at school who worked at a ranch just the summer before. She made a call and it was as good as done. My plans were made. No job fairs for me. No nine-to-five. I felt like a was taking the road less traveled. So, my friends and I sped out of town in a red Jeep Cherokee just a few days after graduation. We played The Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces like a million times and stopped here and there to see the country. We arrived at Colorado Trails Ranch in Durango, Colorado about a week later, sweaty and tired, wearing big dew rags to cover our grimy hair. We washed up, ate, slept. Then my friends left me there. And I remember waving goodbye in very expensive cowboy boots and an authentic western hat thinking now what? with a mixture of excitement, fear, and sadness. My first job was to clear the pebbles off the driveway. It was only a slight inconvenience to me. That's how excited I was to be there.
Of course, there were many other single, young people there. Some in college, some dropped out, some foreigners, and some older people too. It was a giant singles ranch with enough drama for reality tv. My roommate was an attractive blond who dated a guy named black John (called that because he would only wear black). She spent weeks filling trash bags with towels and putting them around the room so that when she left on the back of a motorcycle in the middle of the night with black John, I wouldn't know she'd left. It was a very elaborate plan. I think she was trying to get a head start on her disapproving parents. There are many, many more stories like this one as should be expected when this many young people get together in close proximity.
I was told many times before I came to the ranch that I'd fall madly in love with a cowboy and I'd never return home but, the idea of falling in love was almost laughable to me at the time. The one quasi-boyfriend I'd had pretty much convinced me that I wasn't cut out for it. Not to mention that the relationship left me heartbroken in epic proportions. But, it wasn't long before I, too, coupled up in typical dude ranch fashion. And it wasn't long after that I realized I might have found IT.
He wasn't exactly the cowboy I'd thought I'd meet but instead a tall, dark, handsome, older (we're talking 27 to my 22) southerner who was a garage door installer before he realized he needed something different- he needed an adventure, just like me. My first memory of him was at the salad bar- I called him kid and he thought that was funny. I thought he was sweet but nothing more than that. It wasn't until later, after many late nights on the dance hall porch kicking over every topic and no topic in particular, that we found something familiar in each other. I began to look forward to his slow saunter across the field and the easy way we got along. And when a rival girl nudged me off the table I was sitting on to get between him and me, it only brought us closer. We still laugh about it. He was the first boy I trusted, just as I was the first girl he ever asked on a date. I had to make a decision very early on in our relationship whether to stay with him or go back home. I chose to stay and I'm glad I did.
What was supposed to be one short and adventurous summer turned into six years. I look back on that choice I made so many years ago and realize it was one of the most defining in my life. In everything I do, I see a trace of Colorado. It wasn't always easy, it was sometimes romantic but it was always beautiful and I miss it.
Since then, my husband and I have had a wonderfully pudgy, squealing little bundle who cries and laughs and is growing into a real live little boy at an alarming rate. He is so scrumptious. And I can't believe it took us so long to take the baby plunge. The future? More babies, more projects, more adventures....
And that's my love story and I'm sticking to it.