It’s a love story that never ends but I will share with you how it all began.
It was in Nov.1995 and I had decided that the University life was less exciting than the “real world” so my plan was to leave MSU and travel back to VT to live life, however that played out, at semesters end. I had a few ideas but no real plan, as long as traveling was involved. Why was it that as I was leaving, my love was coming?
I had a friend who lived in a cabin just below Bridger Bowl and above her mantle was a photograph of a handsome, tall man, his arms wrapped around two pretty girls. I fell in love with the look on his face, one of protection and somberness. It was her brother and little did I know she called him and told him to move to MT ; she had met the love of his life.
He did come, he moved from CO and I fell secretly in love with a stranger. We intermingled with our group of friends. He was the kind of guy that poured your beer from the pitcher to your empty pint, opened doors and smiled quietly from across the room; he worked, he snowboarded, he listened to good music and he was surprisingly modest.
The time came for me to drive back to VT in frigid weather and a blistering snowstorm. It was January 1996 and everyone said I was “brave” for driving solo cross country in a renault alliance- yup a fancy french tin can. Having breakfast at our favorite bar joint, this man I was crushing on, Cory, says, “I’ll drive with you, if you wait until after the super bowl.” Little do I know I was setting myself up for a lifetime of football “deals”.
I agreed, my stomach flipped, the storm passed, the Steelers lost and we were on our way, my 1 year MT adventure packed in my car, along with water in mason jars and sandwiches with red onions. (He hates onions)
We make it to Buffalo, WY before oil is spewing from the engine. My attitude, “aw it’ll work itself out…” The temperature is ridiculous. We spend the night in Sheridan. We buy a bunch of oil and make the trek across SD. The heater stops working, no problem, I’ve got blankets. The efficiency of the accelerator goes from 50 mph to 30mph the temperatures dip into the negative. I am clueless, begging a penny for his thoughts.
Somewhere west of Winona, MN my high school ride, the “mirth” mobile blows, something loud and furious. It limps into Winona.
We are frozen in, the temperature dips below -60 (so they say) with the wind chill. We drink red wine and fall madly in love. The tow trucks are busy, the town is trying to stay warm. February 2, Cory plays my song on the juke box, Jim Croce’s “I’ll have to say I love you in a song” and vows to spend the rest of his days with me, I swoon. There’s a man sitting next to us, he takes a good look at us and prophesies that we will have 5 kids, we are enamored with the idea that there may be a future “we, us, family”.
What we know about each other is minimal. He knows I pray because I make him tape a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the hotel phone, ensuring a tow truck or mechanic will save us. I know he’s kind. He knows I can almost drink him under the table, I know he’s a pool shark. He knows I sing, I know he loves his family. He knows I love to swim, I know he can dive. We fall in love with each other’s souls, our true expression of what we have to show, frozen in, in the middle of somewhere, dreamin’ about the days to come, days we say we will live together. Why not?
The future of the car? – a junk yard. We part ways, I to the east. he to MT.
Between letters and costly long distance calls we fall deeper and madder. We make another cross country trip in reverse via New Orleans and Tucson, this time in a Volvo- this time we land back in MT unbeknownst with baby on her way, the first of 8. It’s been a trip, it’s our love ride and we’re taking it to the end of the road.
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