How did I end up in the second row middle seat of a Buick SUV while a crazy bitch dog is riding shotgun? How did I end up here with the smell of dog pasted to my nose and worse than that dog hair in my mouth? Because people love dogs more than they do other people. How did I get here? Well first let me tell you why I ended up in the Buick. The answer is of course, a girl.
There comes a point in every relationship where you will be required to put up with the unbelievable, nonsensical idiosyncrasies of your girlfriend’s family. You will pull hairs from your head while scratching at your eyeballs and ears; just want to completely lose it. Or you will bend but not break, you will put up with the endless trials, and that is when you may know for a certainty, that you are a man completely in love with a woman.
Leah is the girl that I fell for. I first met Leah when I was a junior in college at a newspaper meeting. These weekly wastes of time suddenly became interesting when a beautiful blonde-haired young lady with a smile that would make Clint Eastwood grin was sitting in my chair one day. We met, and I left the meeting without really thinking a thing about it. I guess I didn’t put much thought into it until my boss, who was Leah’s roommate, mentioned that she was single. Didn’t see that one coming!
My first chance to really get to know her didn’t come until The Bells (the newspaper) went to a conference in New Orleans. I purposed going into this trip to play it cool, you know, dropping in for casual conversations here and there and cracking some good one-liners when I got the chance. Well I soon lost my will-power and was trying to talk to her at every junction of the trip. And let’s just say it wasn’t going great. Heck, who am I kidding, I was making a fool out of myself.
But I was mesmerized by her. It wasn’t just the fact that she was stunningly gorgeous. She was smart. She was mature. She was friendly. She laughed, and it was music. She was modest. And oh she was beautiful. She had those cheeks that you just wanted to pinch because when she smiled she had these cute dimples that make cheeks so pinchable. That made me realize I wouldn’t be happy in this life if Leah Bunkers wasn’t in it.
Still, as much as a liked this girl, I wasn’t doing a good job getting her to seem interested in me. One night when I stole a seat next to her at dinner, I at least got to chat with her some. But she seemed distracted. The week wore on and she’d given me no hope that there was any mutual attraction and so in a moment of weakness and self-exposure I opened up to the other guys on the trip and said, “That girl Leah, is a one-of-a-kind gem. Whoever ends up marrying her, will be one lucky cowboy.”
The trip came to an end and I knew that I had no hope winning her attention. In fact, I didn’t think I could do anything more to make her LESS attracted to me. That was until we stopped a convenient store on the way home to Texas. I climbed out of the van and headed for the bathroom to take a leak. I did my business and as I was washing my hands I saw a cologne dispenser on the wall behind me. If you’re not familiar with one of these contraptions it works like this: you put in three quarters and select the scent you want and then push the knob in for a squirt of gas station cologne. Classy huh? Well, being smart as I was, I dropped in 75 cents and pushed the knob. It sprayed right toward my crotch. Awkward. So I added another 75 cents and squatted down so it got on my neck. When I returned to the van I’m pretty sure I smelled like a truck driver heading to the local Daisy Duke’s bar and club. It was awful. Everyone could smell me and I soon had to fess up, with the girl I have a crush on sitting right behind me. It was then I knew without a doubt, that my chances were done.
But that night around 9 p.m., we had just gotten back to Belton when I got a text that said, “Hey we should play guitar sometime.” Oh if you could’ve seen the victory jig I did in my living room when I read those sweet words you would know how much I liked Leah Bunkers and how bad of a dancer I am. Later that week we played guitar together. At the end of the night, my face hurt from smiling so much. But she just has that effect on people. She makes you want to smile. She made me believe that you can be the best version of yourself, if only for a brief moment, when she smiled at something I said. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be for her without changing who I was. And really, that’s what love is all about.
Long story short, I revamped my efforts to impress her, and eventually after a little resistance and a brief heartbroken Thanksgiving, she finally agreed to be my girlfriend. That was on December 15, 2013. We’re still going strong. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the dog. Well that dog belongs to my girlfriend’s parents. This is how I met Olive. And let me tell you something, that dog, is one crazy bitch.