Kids, the summer of 1992 was monumental for your father and I. We had just completed our freshman year of high school and we were looking forward to so many things...Driver's Ed., Being Sophomores, THE FAIRS!!
But before I get to that point, I need to take you back to where I left off: You have to understand the back story to understand WHY..when I had the chance with DHC(dark haired cutie)...I gave it up for your father.
After that 8th grade dance, things pretty much went back to normal at school. Your father and I didn't start "going out" or anything. We just stayed friends...although we did begin to grow a lot closer. Sometimes we even talked on the phone after school. DHC? Yeah, he noticed the kiss at the dance. Even said something to me about it. That made me happy, after all...my goal was to get DHC to notice me. Toward the end of the school year, my family moved to my dad's work. We basically traded one farm location for another. School was out and I was looking forward to a summer full of county fairs, livestock and friends I hadn't seen since last summer. I spent my time preparing my animals for the fairs, I also joined the Nieman show team and began to show Dairy cows and goats for them. Occasionally, I would run into your father at the Nieman farm but he was also busy hitting up rodeos.
The next time I remember seeing your father that summer, I was at the Marion County Open Dairy Cattle show in July of 1992. I had spent all morning dragging 1500 lb Holstein cows and heifers around a show ring with the Neiman family. Our day started so early and we were exhausted. I was left to tend to the cows while Matt and his Father, Dale, returned to the farm to pick up the trailer. so we could load up and head home. Now I don't know if you are familiar with the way cattle are handled at a fair. They aren't just put into pens like sheep or hogs. NO. They are TIED to the barn. As in...if you don't tie them good enough, they can get loose. Or they can be stupid and flip out..jerking around. I guess I am saying...someone always has to stay with them and that someone was usually me. Kids, I don't know if you know this about your mother, but I had quite a way with animals in my youth. Dale would tell you, if he were still alive, that nobody could handle the cattle like I could. The cows and I just got along.
ANYWAY.. I was resting on the show box (large box that contained all the show equipment) and started to dose off. The next thing I know, I am being shook awake by your father. Dale had gone back to the farm to get the trailer. Matt had to get ready for the open sheep show so they called your father and uncle Joe to come help with the Cattle. The guys showed up and we quickly got to work. Cattle were loaded, equipment was packed up, and stalls were cleaned. It was almost dark by the time we were finished and we were all starving. Dale treated us to dinner at the New Bethal Ordinary in Wanamaker. As we sat there, I kept glancing at your father. He looked so good in his red shirt, dark blue wranglers and straw cowboy hat. We laughed so hard that night and I began to look at your father in a different light. It almost felt as if we were on a date..I sat next to him and every time our legs or arms brushed against each other, I felt all tingly. I began to wonder if he noticed me?? Could I ever be the type of girl he might date?? Was I pretty enough? Was I cool enough? The point is, kids, if that summer had never happened..If I hadn't gone to each fair hoping to seeing your father...If I hadn't have had the chance to get to know him a little better ...I am fairly certain that the next year and summer would have gone differently.
In the fall of 1992, kids, your father and I started our freshman year in high school. After the summer, I was totally crushing on your dad. By that year, we had a little more in common. We both were in FFA and taking Ag classes. I was still in marching band and also a cheerleader so it seems I was always busy. You father was gone almost every weekend at Rodeos. At school, however, we became good friends, often stopping to talk to each other in the hallway or sitting together at lunch. We often joked that we were brother and sister. It was nice to have a big "brother" in school. Nobody messed with me. Now, I would have went out with your father then if he had asked...but he didn't AND he had girlfriend. YES..he had a girlfriend...some chick from his church named Liz. He had started dating her over the summer and I was jealous. I wondered what she had that I didn't have.
I dated a few other guys too. One older guy from the football team. Another guy in my class...and finally toward the end of our freshman year...I started to date DHC. Yep. The object of my affection for the last couple of years and I were dating. And I was thrilled. I am not sure how long before the end of the year that DHC and I began to date but I do remember that we were together through Driver's Ed and right up to the beginning of the Shelby County Fair...in July.
And leads us to where I began this entry...the summer of 1993. Your father, Uncle Joe, DHC and I were all in Driver's Education together. I would sit next to DHC everyday yet I would often check out your father. Every once in a while he would catch me looking at him and flash me that million dollar smile. I loved it when he smiled at me. And I felt guilty. Terribly guilty..because I really liked DHC. Really liked him. I would even say I loved him...as much as you can love someone when you are 15. I didn't want to hurt DHC but I couldn't help how I was beginning to feel about your father. I think I knew by the end of Drivers Ed that DHC and I weren't going to last. I knew, but didn't want to admit it. I mean, this was DHC...the boy I had pined after for the majority of middle school. The first boy I ever kissed, my first real crush, the boy I envisioned going to prom with and when I pictured my adult life, I wanted DHC to be a part of it.......I wanted it to work. I wanted to be completely head over heels in love with DHC. I wanted to...but I just wasn't. Which really broke my heart because DHC was good to me. VERY GOOD to me. He told me that I was the one, that he loved me and I think the intensity of the relationship scared me a little. We were destined for a break up whether I went out with your father or not....and break up we did.
It all came down to the first Sunday of the Shelby County Fair that summer. I was preparing for the open class sheep show and had a million things to do. DHC had come to the fair that day and he didn't understand that I didn't have the time to spend with him. It was hard to date someone that didn't show animals or understand the show circuit. I couldn't just go walking around the midway. I couldn't just hang out. And although DHC would have gladly helped me out, I didn't have the time to explain everything to him. It's not like he was used to handling livestock on a daily basis. I was anxious about the show, impatient and short tempered. I wasn't a very nice person that day and began to ignore him. After a while, DHC took a walk to go see some relatives that were working in a booth up on the midway.
I was out in the wash racks, washing about 8 sheep. I was filthy and soaking wet when someone grabbed me from behind in a giant bear hug. A caught a wiff of that stetson cologne and I instantly knew it was your father. My heart danced as I spun around and purposely pressed my body into his...because I was wet..and it got his shirt all wet. Then he did something I will never forget...Your father began to untie the clean sheep and lead them back to the pens where he put the blankets (to keep the wool clean) on them. Livestock shows were a HUGE part of my life then. I spent every summer going from show to show....and it was then that I realized that I would have to date someone who was part of my world. Someone who understood all the time and work involved. Someone who understood my passion for my animals. Someone who knew that a show could last all day and you may miss a phone call or two. (remember kids, nobody had cell phones then..THE HORROR) Your father was already part of this world and I realized that DHC never would be..even if he wanted to.
When DHC returned from the midway, I think he probably realized that there was something going on. I was in my tack pen with a bunch of guys...your father included. Now kids, you have to remember that this was a very long time ago and I am a little fuzzy on the details. I am also not proud of the hateful things that came out of my mouth that day. All that really matters is that DHC and I had big fight and he walked away...leaving me standing in the barn between your father, uncle Joe and Matt Neiman.
And I was torn...I wanted to chase after him. I wanted to grab DHC, hug him and tell him I didn't mean any of it. That I loved him. BUT I looked at your father and I didn't. For the next few years, I replayed that day over and over in my head...wondering if I did the right thing. It took me years to reconcile my feelings for DHC. I had let DHC walk away for your father and we weren't even dating...He hadn't even hinted that he wanted to date me. In fact, it would be a full 8 months or so later before we would finally get together...
And THAT, kids, is a story best left for another post!
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