The Love Story. 2


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“Sunday Evening – well, midnight 12.29.13 

It was the last huzzah. The boys were over. We had company over to lunch today. Mama made delicious hot spoon rolls. Daddy had to stay home from church so mama stayed with him. By the time we got home daddy was feeling better, but he stayed in his corner chair in the living room to eat. We told him we missed him at the table and the table was very merry indeed today. Tonight Chris and Abe were still here, so we read poetry by the fire, lying around it and ate leftovers from the day’s feast of roast and rolls and cheese. Chris teased me about JBW and consulted Abrum (who was lying on my bed reading) on what they brothers might do to contribute.”

“We find ourselves in a very interesting situation,” Chris said with a twinkle and a smile playing at the tips of his mouth. That worried me.

“Oh, Chris, don’t you boys do anything embarrassing.” At this he burst into a laugh and said with a Not Very Remorseful Grin,

“I’m not! Truly! I’m serious! We do find ourselves in a very interesting situation. Our sister may be interested in a guy  who – though I don’t know much about him- from all I’ve heard, like him a lot. Now, what could we as brothers do to Enhance The Situation?” He was laughing, but serious, and shook the foot of Abraham who was lying on my bed, meditating on a book. Abrum stirred a little and lowered the book to where I could just see a crinkle in his eyes and mouth  between the web of a beard concealing it. The boys threw out a few wild ideas hinting at Seven Brides for Seven Brothers type capture and interrogation. But in the end they settled for letting Mr. JBW alone – saving a little investigational conversation when they got the chance.

The Last Huzzah of Christmas festivities wound to a ‘shining, golden blur’ and then a carload of us kids loaded up and drove to Memphis.

Call it primping or ‘slathering on war paint’, as the boys call it, but I was in the bathroom getting ready for church when, glancing out the window, I saw the parking lot of the church and a Texan Getting Out of the Car. You know what happened – yep. That stomach drop and butterflies. I blushed, because I always blush when I can’t help it. Added to my already nervousness of seeing JBW I had a nice red tomato of a face to greet him with.

He was standing at the back of the church, tall, with sandy brown hair and a smile that crept from his eyes to the his lips spreading into a good natured grin. It had been a couple of years since I’d seen him and the last conversation I’d had with him in person was no shining one on my record. He asked how often we went to Memphis, and I replied casually that we might go ‘once every moth or twice every two months’… At which he chuckled and shook his head, and I tried to figure out why. Also, when telling a group of us how in his work he inspected a corn flour plant, the vision immediately coming to mind was John Barrett standing in a field of beautiful blue corn flowers with the sun shining and him intensely inspecting the flowers with a straw hat and magnifying glass. My reply must have conveyed my enthusiasm and curiosity for such a job, because he – and the group -found my interpretation Oh So Funny, and – could they just say it? A little blonde.

And now, here he was at the New Year’s church meeting in Memphis, TN. (Church meetings may or may not be an avenue of checking out potential court’n material. But hey – where better to find a good fellow or gal?)  As the congregation sang I could catch a glimpse of his pew – well, his boots, under the pew. My! he was tall – you could just tell by the breadth of space from boot to boot.  And those boots were fine. And that profile – the one I could see between heads  now and then – Wow. When it was time to go home for the night, there was the usual “AhH! Hey!” Screams and hugs of familiar faces and hearts, people were talking in crammed circles and children dashing everywhere. I was moving toward the door when – bam. Stomach plummets because he’s standing right there in my path, with a friendly smile and handshake. We might have talked 5 minutes, but we talked. Every word I might have thought about to say, and every question I wanted to ask disappeared like mice at a cat. But we talked. And he laughed, about something – this time I thought, at something truly funny. The next day, we talked some more. In fact, nearly all of Saturday’s free time was spent talking.  Our first unofficial date was to Jerry’s Sno Cones. He took me, my kid sister and another friend. They rode in the back seat, giggling and whispering about the Awkward Situation.

“Oh. You want some of your sno – cone?” I offered as he drove.

“Sure!” I dished up a spoon and held it out. I expected him to take it with his free hand, while he, on the other hand, thought I meant to feed it to him, and not wanting to insult me, dutifully took the bite from the spoon I held out. At this, a fresh burst of giggles resounded from the backseat and – I’m sorry to say, but if crimson ever colored up a face, mine was it at that moment. I couldn’t brush off the wide eyes and speechlessness. All I could do was wonder if I’d done something terribly scandalous and what the ladies of the church would say if they found out…”spooning sno cone to him on the first unofficial date!…unthinkable…” He masterfully changed the tempo of the Moment Suspended In Time, by showing us his automated car options where you could simply speak to the car and it would play music or go 100 miles per hour…maybe not the last one, but we tried to make it do so.

Saturday night of a meeting you always get a sinking feeling. It’s the last night to be surrounded on every side by God’s people and messages 3 times a day, feeling safe and spiritually charged in the way you experience when drenching yourself in that atmosphere. It’s the last night for friends and socializing.  And it’s the last night to take a stab at talking to the guy or girl you’ve had your eye on. I had that sinking feeling, especially since I knew I’d not see him for a while – months? A year? Two years? Who knew. But before saying goodbye, he found me.

 

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The Story. 1

It was a sunny day in November, the 19th, 2013 to be exact. I was sitting at my desk in an in-between moment, having just finished an editing project, when from the very top of my head a name plopped into my brain. I said the name aloud to myself, and asked, “I wonder whatever happened to John Barrett Watson?” Because that was the name. I’ll never forget how Out Of The Blue it came, plopping into my head just as clear as you please. For the next hour I began finding out what happened to him. Facebook is a handy tool for finding these things out.  I read every status, look at all his pictures and read every message we’d exchanged from the year before – which wasn’t a whole lot. At the end of my hour’s investigation, I found that John Barrett Watson was keenly attractive, had a great smile, and that his character shone out brightly – even through social media.

Over the next month, I listened to the people I knew would know him and asked…”what is he like? what have you observed about him?” All feedback was a resounding, “He’s the Cream of The Crop”. Over Thanksgiving, I stayed with Aaron and Susannah. Aaron had known him most of his life and told me in one of our late-night conversations, with Susannah laughing and chiming in bits, “He’s his own man. He’s quiet, but he’ll talk when he has something to say. Now, he’s down with doing what the crowd’s doing; if they wanna go to the ball game? He’s cool with going. They wanna go see a movie or go hiking or – whatever – he’s up for it. But at the same time, he’s his own individual. John is everything a good girl wants. He’s the type of guy who sees something that needs to be done and Does It.  You see John, you see him Doing. He doesn’t want a TV model or a Barbie Girl. He wants a good woman who loves him.”

The downside? He was more than a thousand miles away, and paths that far don’t cross too easily.  November faded. The Pilgrims and Turkeys gave way to evergreen wreaths and holly berries, candy – making and present – wrapping as family came in to the Grey Submarine for Christmas. Grandmama stayed in my room, sleeping on the iron framed bed tucked near the wall, with a lamp almost always on, and a book almost always in her hand. I climbed into my bed one night and lay down beside her, listening to her little breaths as she read. I wrote from that night, “I like that about Grandmama. She’s always reading. If it’s not the Bible, it’s something with words – doesn’t matter so much what. She is constantly challenging herself.

‘How are you doing in life, honey? Are you happy?’, she asked me, laying down her book.

‘You know, Grandmama, Ive been blessed to enjoy this part of my life more than I’ve done ever in the past. God has given me a sense of fulfillment and calm and joy. Really have felt content overall. ‘

‘Well, thats a blessing. It’s good to enjoy where God has you. I believe He’s going to give you a good husband. I’ve been praying for him.  I pray for all my grandchildren, but I’ve prayed a little extra for you lately.’

‘There is one fellow that’s pricked my curiosity.’

‘Oh? And does he return your interest? Oh – but not interest yet – you said curiosity. Who is he?’

‘John Watson.’

‘Is that Lana Watson’s brother?’

‘Yes Ma’am.’ (I smiled to myself. Grandmama’s keen ability to link connection has always fascinated and impressed me.)

‘What do you think of him, Grandmama?’

‘Why, I guess I don’t know him too well. From what I’ve seen he seems like a nice guy.’

At that moment Beka brought a weeping bundle of dark curly hair and laid down on the floor mattress. I snuggled close to Grandmama and put my head into the pillow. She’d been holding my hand all this time and now gave it a squeeze as she said, ‘I love you,’ and I closed my eyes. The experience of this intense Always Thinking About Him, was getting to me. Always questions, but no answers, and there was no reason to think any answers would come soon. There wasn’t much of a probability of seeing him anytime soon. There was the meeting coming up the next month in Memphis, TN, and we’d be there, but I doubted he would be. After all, in my stalking his Facebook, he’d said he’d probably have to work. And besides that, there was the thing of facing the fact that he hasn’t had reason to think about me – except for my liking his pictures (no I didn’t…yes, I did. I liked his pictures on Facebook. Shame. But can I blame Aaron? I can blame Aaron. He told me to.)

In the meantime were festivities. There was movie watching, food and drink and merriment, dancing, long conversations and walks in the yard. There were cozy fires and Bible reading with the family in the evenings and prayer, where Daddy would name us all and kiss us before going to bed. Life was rich. Maybe I’d see him soon. Maybe not, but all would be well, one way or another.

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Aren’t your daddy’s fires the best fires?
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Chris’ long sessions of letter writing 
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Mama’s heart beats through every square inch of the Grey Submarine. She’s made home a thing woven deeply into the threads of our being. I’ll always love her for that.

 

 

At Home In Texas

We’re home. Home, that’s such a nice word; and yet, a year ago I could hardly bring myself to apply it to my little place in Texas. When I flew over the rugged landscape of brown checked fields and dusty plains I remember writing down in my journal that nothing of this barren place draws me, except the man I love. For months I could feel the dry air and lack of vibrance seeping in and soaking up the damp, rich soil of my heart that I was once accustomed to growing in back East.

People told me I’d learn to love the beauty here, and at first I couldn’t believe it – almost didn’t want to. But through my months of living and growing and changing here I’ve felt the draw. When returning from another state and crossing over the line to Texas, I’ve been greeted with a sort of swell of pride, seeing the stars, the state emblem everywhere, the flags unashamedly adorning yards, businesses and schools. When trekking the plains, then coming suddenly to the Caprock drop off, where red cliffs and sharp canyons jut in deep crevices; seeing the subtle greens of gnarled bushes and cacti stubbornly push their way from craggy rocks into the sunlight…when the brash sun hovers deep in the horizon, crafting its last rays in bold sweeps of fiery brilliance across a giant sky…when all that is harsh and tired and wind-worn in the day is wrapped in dying day’s last hues and it seems much more wildly brave and beautiful, I cannot help but acknowledge another thread of love being woven in my heart for this place.

Home. It’s where you make it, and it where you nurture it, making memories, sprouting traditions and realizing golden moments that have just been born. Sunday night my husband held our baby girl and me in his arms moving slowly across the floor to George Strait’s “What Do You Say To That”. Around the house were remnants of our Valentine’s Day love notes, flowers and a warmth of completeness that hung in the air. A few tears blended into his cotton shirt, and he kissed my head. Both of us grinned over our baby, who was touching our cheeks in turn, with wondering eyes and a very runny nose.

Mama likes to remind me that you can’t wait for “Normal” to live life because life is never Normal. It’s never perfect. But you can celebrate it wherever you are, whatever shortcomings, whatever imperfections you’re dealing with. Because in the middle of all our mess and imperfection, beautiful moments can be born and held and cherished and stowed away for life. So, to my Week Home, I’ll be glad I’m here, no matter how many things don’t get checked off my To Do List. There might just be more important things to do than checking off all those things anyway.

 

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This girl loves her Daddy.

 

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John Barrett teaching Bella Rose the two-step. Definitely a highlight of my weekend. And it feels so authentically Texan.
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Oh yes, he did, Ladies. Sunday morning he said, “I have your breakfast ready”, and pulled these beauties out of the fridge. Okay…well…there were a few more in there when he originally presented them…but by that night, there were none.

 

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That Valentine’s Day I wore my favorite red dress, but ended up getting the picture in a navy shirt and jeans because I forgot and changed. Oh bother and oh well. At least we got the picture, thanks to my mother in law. Thanks, Nonnie!

Have a beautiful week!

 

Opening

My Dearest Watson is a story of JB – a Texas Man, myself – a Georgia Girl and our baby, who is a Georgia Belle and a Texas Rose.  We’ve been married just over a year and a half and regularly travel the West Plains with JB’s job. I’m a fan of cowboys, horses and boots, dancing, photography, babies, good food and good music.

Jesus is my King and this world is not my home. It’s just a few chapters of life, adventure, struggle, victory and storytelling.

Read along to see how this one unfolds.

 

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