Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valentine (05/16/05)
TITLE: Cowboy Valentine
By Autumn Waldroup
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Now, if fate were kinder, as I was musing about that fateful morning, wondering what to wear to the annual Madison County Fair and Rodeo, I would have gone with what I know, with what was safe. Alas, I would have ignored the little voice that taunted me with visions of my nemesis, Mary Jane Richards,* all decked out in her red skirt and lacy blouse. The sensible me would have donned the practical black leather calf-length boots and sensible black jeans with my favorite sequined-studded cowgirl shirt. But, no, I had chosen this day to give Mary Jane a little competition. I would loathe the voice that prodded me on, telling me that I was just as cute as Mary Jane in my frilly yellow frock with the rows of royal blue lace at the hem. Why, I fancied myself quite a looker, kind of like Miss Kitty (from Gunsmoke) with the lacy dress and hair all up in a bun with a few loose curls hanging around my face. Maybe even pretty enough to get the attention of one particular cowboy with whom I had become acquainted at the weekly Bible studies at our church.
I can say with certainty that I did get his attention, but not exactly how I imagined. Because, at that time, I had not yet had the opportunity to consider how the dress might look inside-out, with lacy rows hanging clear over my head as the built in petticoat flowed quite naturally with the laws of gravity, exposing my turquoise underwear (the ones with the small hole under the waistband on my left hip). And being that I had not worn the dress as often as the sequined shirt, it was nearly new, so I did not imagine how the fabric might hold sturdily on a fencepost as I flailed about trying to cover my derriere. I had not considered that the matching yellow heels (who wears heels to a rodeo?) would catch on the lace of the hem further entangling my wardrobe while I squirmed helplessly in front of everyone in Madison County and the millions (okay, maybe thousands) watching via television.
In fact, this may be a moment you have seen if you watch the local news covering the annual rodeo in Madison County (only there would be a blur over the holey waistband). You would know that at that very moment of utter humiliation, the reason for my predicament rounds the corner, along with eleven other ruggedly handsome horsemen in the stunt horse show, an integral part of the annual fair. I haven’t been able to watch the video that Mary Jane was kind enough to record for me, but I am told that a certain cowboy remained unbelievably straight-faced, quickly dismounting his horse and rushing over to help. Without breaking stride, he cut the steel fabric, righted me and smiled and waved to the cameras and hundreds of onlookers.
This June will be twenty-three years since the incident and to this day, my husband has never breathed that it was not part of the stunt-riding act that he still rides in every spring. This does not stop him from having a little fun with me, however. Each year, on Valentine’s Day (also our wedding anniversary), my husband hides a piece of lace cut from the infernal dress somewhere in the house. When I find the lace, I also uncover a hint about my anniversary present. Last year, for example, the lace was tied to a little toy boat, cleverly hidden in the bathtub. You guessed it! To celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with a cruise! I had a surprise for him as well, wearing the yellow dress for the first time since that fateful day! Only this time, there were no fences (wink)!
Thank-you, Lord, for my cute Cowboy Valentine. May he continue to reflect Your character as long as he rides on the earth!
* Not her real name.
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