Line Dancing

Butterfly Effect

I had a good conversation the other day about the beauty of randomness. The art of chaos and how our lives are shaped by insignificant details. All the major things that we plan really have very little bearing on what actually happens. For me it has been cross connections and memories. I was talking with my mother about a vacation we took when I was probably 10 to 12 years old. Through that conversation I was able to pinpoint a chain of events that would be responsible for the life I currently live.

Growing up we always rode horses. I am not a rider deep down in my soul like other horse riders but I was legally a minor and forced to join the family on trail rides. There were a number of reasons that I was less than excited about outdoor activities. Let’s do a quick rundown.

  1. I had a one eyed horse named Lightning whose fastest speed was an aggressive walk.

2. I am allergic to horse dander and generally averse to bodily injury.

3. A giant horse named Red stepped on my foot when I was six years old.

4. I busted my bottom lip on a three wheeler when I was four or five because of a carefree daredevil who thought riding a small child around through a grassy field would be fun. I still remember looking in the mirror and seeing blood gushing out and the imprint of HONDA backwards on my chin. Not the entire word because I was a small child but there were definite parts.

So basically the thought of running through woods on an oversized special-needs horse made me nervous. It was a summary of everything bad that had happened to me in life up to that point. Sometimes we stepped in yellow jacket nests and you know how I feel about bees so the picture of my nightmare is complete. (Yellow jackets are small ground nesting wasps that swarm out of holes and ruin picnics.)

One day my mother tells us that we are going on vacation. Yay! To a week long trail riding camp. Oh… The general plan was to camp in the sleeper part of the horse trailer. Wake up. Ride horses all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG. Then crash in an exhausted heap only to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn to do it again. Boy oh boy. Sign me up.

The week arrives and the first day is exactly what I thought. Near death experiences and saddle-sore ass cheeks. The area was beautiful and we saw some really cool things but seriously, near death experiences. The trail went along the side of a cliff and surprise surprise, my horse’s bad eye was on the side that he needed to be aware of the face of a cliff. Did I mention that he bumped a dead tree and it fell, scaring him into a mad dash across the side of the mountain? That happened. Then at the bottom of the ravine our lead horse stepped in a yellow jacket nest and everyone ran for their lives. I remember the big guy taking off his shirt and talking about getting stung in his “love handles”. I laughed but I wouldn’t comprehend the phrase for a few more years. The day came to a close and I remember thinking how excited I was for six more days just like this one.

The next day I left our campsite early and went to the mess hall for breakfast. I must have been annoying my parents because they let me go by myself and they didn’t join until later. I decided to make some friends and systematically moved from table to table talking to everyone who would listen. Legend has it that I made friends with the entire camp by 9:30 am. (I used to be so outgoing and full of life. *sigh*) Anyway. I made friends with the trail leader (who looked like Burt Reynolds) and was invited to ride at the front of the group with him which to a preteen was some prestigious shit. Top-o-the-world kind of importance. I got much more excited about the riding but the nights were still boring. The only thing going was a lame-ass dance hall. I wouldn’t have gone but after dark in a horse camp there isn’t a lot of option for entertainment.

I walked into the barn where the dances were held and found a seat out of the way of the action. I realized really quickly that cute girls liked to dance and that learning an easy one would be a good way to meet a few. The group of hotties I selected were probably sixteen and thought that a little ten year old kid with buck teeth and cowboy boots was adorable. They taught me a dance called “The Rebel Stomp” and I had lots of fun. The rest of the week flew by with all the dancing and socializing.

For the next eight years I had zero encounters with country line dancing. My interactions with horses dwindled as well. By the time I went to college I would venture to say that my country-ness was at an all-time low. I had the whole Slim-Shady bleach blonde shaved head thing going on. One night someone mentioned going to college-night at the Cotton-Eyed Joe. Yee Haw. My friends and I sat on the sidelines watching the cowboy-clad people hopping around to country classics such as “She Thinks My Tractors Sexy”. Riveting stuff. We were about to leave when I heard the DJ announce that the upcoming dance would be the Rebel Stomp. I had a trace memory of what to do and we had smuggled a flask of vodka so I figured what the hell. One dance before we leave.

I remembered how much fun it could be and more importantly, that girls love to line dance. Our group became regulars at the Cotton Eyed Joe and the rest is history. I should probably do an entire story on the Cotton Eyed Joe, it deserves a book unto itself. For those unfamiliar with some of the history, that story is here.

If you enjoy a good story about Serendipity then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Eight Years a Husband

On October 22 my lovely wife, Supermom, was checking her phone and noticed the date. She paused in thought for a moment and then turned to me.

“Do you know what day it is?”
“The 22nd?”
“Isn’t that a special day?”
“Not that I know of…”

My mind is racing to figure out what I have forgotten. Men can never be too sure of the milestones that we are supposed to remember.

She thinks for another moment and then, less confidently, “Is tomorrow important to you?”

Light bulb. Our anniversary. I smile because the 23rd isn’t the correct day either.

“Nope. What day is the important day? I know but you don’t.”
“Nope. The 27th. The same as it has been for the last eight years.”
She shrugs her shoulders, “Eh, I was close.”

According to stereotypes, that is my line but I’ll let her have it. Most likely, she has been trying to forget and is getting better at it every year. I will always remember and speaking of things she tries to forget. I would like to honor everyone with the story of how we met. If for no other reason than to prove that she had fair warning of what she was marrying into.

Spring Break 2003 – Don’t worry this isn’t about bikinis and exotic locations.

I was a regular patron of a country line dance bar near my college. My two favorite pastimes were drinking beer and getting dates by teaching unsuspecting ladies how to do the different line dances. This particular night I had been enjoying my first pastime way more than my second. My friends and I were having a good time dancing but it was time to take a break and grab another Bud Light.

I remember the first sighting, dark blue American Eagle T-shirt and khaki short shorts. I also remember thinking very specifically that I could marry her. Not a premonition that I would but that I could if I had the chance. It really was a magic moment for me. She looked like a deer in the headlights as I sauntered up and asked for a dance. She glanced around looking for a way out but my sniper-of-a-wingman already had her wing-woman by the hand, heading to the dance floor. I would later find out that Supermom isn’t much for conflict, so she agreed to a dance just to be nice and not sit alone.

We talked about something I’m sure. Actually, I probably talked nonstop while she counted the seconds until the song was finished. According to her field notes, she held me up for most of the slow dance series. I followed her back to her table after the dance and, in what is probably the smoothest pickup line ever, I asked her to dinner at McDonalds.

In my thoughts the reasoning sounded like, “I want to spend more time with this lovely lady. She is so beautiful that I just want to be in her presence. We could be anywhere just so long as we are together. I have to let her know how I feel…”

It came out of my mouth, “I want to take you out and it can be anywhere. It could even be McDonalds.”

What is the problem, google realizes that it is upscale.

What is the problem? Google realizes that it is upscale.

Imagine my surprise when I got the cold shoulder with the “maybe” or “I’m busy” for the next three months. What thick headed dolt keeps trying for three months? This guy.

Finally the friends angle worked and she learned that most of the time I can stand on my own power and make complete sentences. We both continued to be regulars at the same place and one night she agreed to our first unofficial date, IHOP, after the bar closed down. Everything was going really well and I had almost erased my stellar first impression. The bar announced the last call and we headed for the door.

I had a nice Mustang GT at the time which is a facsimile for a Lamborghini in the South.

Oh yeah.

Oh yeah.

There really was no reason to say what I did but as we passed a really nice two-seater convertible I said, “Well, here is my car!” I stood confidently by this little silver car which was not my Mustang and waited for her to be impressed. She pulled out a set of keys and said, “Actually, it is mine but you can drive it if you want.”

I’ll be damned. Talk about not catching a break.

Not my sweet ride.

Not my sweet ride.

Yet somehow, in spite of the red flags, she still gave me a chance. I gave up on trying to be impressive and she gave up on avoiding me. We were married in 2006.

See I have evidence.

See I have evidence.

She is my best friend and like Forest and Bubba, I feel like we spend our time leaning against each other to keep our “Heads out tha’ mud.” Four kids and eight years later, she is a better mom and wife than I deserve.

To all the wives who know that your husband married out of his range, this post is for you. And for Supermom.

Underdaddy to the rescue.