Falling in love is a lot like falling down a flight of stairs. You didn’t see it coming, you certainly didn’t mean to, and once you’ve reached your destination you find yourself flat on your back, blinking at the ceiling and wondering, “How the hell did I get here?”
I often ask myself that on mornings when I can’t believe my life now is getting up at four-thirty in the morning to feed assorted livestock, fix lunches and check the weather.
It has always been my assumption that four-thirty only came once a day, and that it was firmly entrenched in a happy hour with friends.
But that’s what happens when you wind up marrying a cowboy.
Grandma Jessie used to say there are only three kinds of men in this world: the ones you play with, the ones you stay with and the ones who just need killin’.
And happily, not all cowboys are the same.
In the beginning (the play-with and stay-with stages), my first cowboy could do no wrong. The man practically farted hearts and flowers which is a neat trick if you can get him to do it. But as we neared the killin’ stage, I was tempted to chop off some his favorite parts and duct tape them to his forehead.
Since the law (even in Texas) frowns upon maiming your loved ones, I’ve amended Grandma Jessie’s Rule of Three to include two alternative endings.
The first is that if you can’t beat ‘em, you’re not using a big enough stick. Face it. You’re just gonna have to out redneck your redneck. This isn’t hard, if you have in fact decided your cowboy is worth keeping. The trick is to just hang around with a redneck—any redneck—as long as you can possibly stand it, because sooner or later the redneckedness is gonna rub off on you.
And honey, once you’ve been subjected to a certain level of redneckedness, there’s no amount of Extra Strength Clorox or mega-doses of the Discovery Channel that can scrub the redneckedness out from under your skin.
My preferred method of dealing with Cowboy One was the Redneck Catch & Release Program. You catch and keep your own personal cowboy and do the whole moon-pied, doe-eyed, hearts-and-flowers thing until one day he stays out all night and you have to restrain yourself to keep from Super Gluing his frank to his beans.
And when you’re finally to the point of wanting to back over him with his own tricked-out pickup truck, it’s time to take him back to the auto parts department at the Wal-Mart where you found him in the first place.
And, after you’ve drunk your bodyweight in Bourbon and Diet Coke and all your good sense ran out the dog door and you decide to go get yourself another cowboy, don’t worry. As Miss Jessie used to say, “There’s an ass for every saddle, and another one’ll be along directly.”
This is the story of The One that came along . . . directly.