This post is in honor of "Doc"Alvin Warnick (sp?), whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Cattle Reproduction Clinic the girls and I attended in early August. At 94-years-old, he still suited and gloved up every morning and tutored us in the finer points of pregnancy palpation in cattle. On real cows, mind you. During one conversation he told me, "I have an idea that I'd like to write a book. You may have noticed I'm very interested in people. Well, I would love to write a book about married couples that tells all the different stories about how people meet one another." This one is for you, Doc!
Ask anyone who knows him, and they will tell you that I married one of the best men on the planet. Frankly, I'm not really sure how we ever found each other, because you could not meet a more unlikely couple. We are living proof of the maxim that opposites attract.
When we met--goodness--I was a Birkenstock-clad, free-spirit graduate student, and he was a redneck Marine. He liked fishing, chewing Redman, and going mudding (or muddin' as they say in Florida). I liked reading books, watching foreign films, and napping.
One thing we both liked, fortunately, was dancing--two-step to be precise.
So, one night he and his friends came to the place where I was taking two-stepping lessons with my friend. It was sort of a yuppie-ish, urban-cowboy kind of place that they typically avoided (because they were the real thing). For some reason they gave it a try that night.
I love the way Mike first told me of that encounter. He said, "I saw you standing there with your friends, and your jeans were all torn and frayed at the bottom, and the soles were coming off your boots, and you were just laughing and having a good time, and I said to myself, 'Now, there's a girl without a lot of money.'"
That's right. He picked me because I looked happy and poor. (I was, actually.)
I didn't notice him or his friends that night, but they came back a week later, and we danced. Good old-fashioned country dancing. Two-step, swing, and waltz. George Straight and Alan Jackson. The real deal.
I loved that he wore snap-button shirts, had an accent, and was so polite. (Not to mention the rather impressive biceps I could feel when I placed my hand on his arm to waltz.) When I told him I was in graduate school and he asked me what I wanted to do with my degree, I responded, "What do I want to do? I want to knit and bake cookies. Unfortunately that doesn't pay." Apparently that sealed the deal as far as he was concerned.
Our first date was to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C..
The night I first met him, we was wearing a striking black cowboy hat and looked like a cross between George Straight and Patrick Swayze. When he came to pick me up for the date, he was wearing the lovely hat in the picture above.
It was a test.
I think he was trying to make sure I wasn't some prissy woman who would fuss at him about his clothes. (I guess my crumbling boots weren't evidence enough.) Anyway, I passed the test. Nary a word about the dog hat. (True confessions: I was actually thinking that as long as he was wearing that awful hat, I could pretty much have him--and his great arm muscles--to myself.)
After we were married and the hat mysteriously went missing, my single friends would often ask me how I managed to find such a great guy.
My response was and always will be, "You have to be willing to look past the hat."