CONTRARY TO POPULAR opinion, I do not up and marry every cowboy who asks me. The first time I was proposed to traumatized both me and my mama, and it certainly did not end with a big white dress flowin’ down a long red church aisle.
It so happens I was my minding my own business (isn’t that how it always happens?), drawing pictures of kitty cats instead of doing my fourth grade math lesson when Bud Epperson turned away from making glue chips in his desk tray and informed me that he was going to marry me.
“I’m gonna marry you,” he growled.
I thought maybe he’d gotten too good a whiff of that glue, but he was dead serious –or as serious as you can get in the fourth grade—and he said, “I’m gonna hold you down and cut your fingernails and you’re gonna milk cows. I’m gonna marry you.”
Of course I was horrified and ran straight home to ask my mother if he really could make me cut my fingernails and milk cows.
Horrified her ownself, Mama immediately enrolled my sister and I in Charm School.
Apparently, she thought teaching us to eat with the right fork and walk with books on our heads would not only whip us into marriageable shape, but would also make us impervious to the average, every day redneck.Sadly, redneckedness rubs off on you a lot faster than charm does.
Oh, sure, we learned how to artfully apply makeup, how to win beauty pageants and the proper way to cross your legs (at the ankles, with knees pressed together, which incidentally I found out later, is also a perfectly acceptable form of birth control and is still being taught in many a Texas school).
Mama knew a lot about charm, having pulled herself up by her own petticoats and escaped a life of redneckedness her ownself.
She also knew through cowboy encounters of her own that these boys can be charming in their own right and they are like Cheese Doodles. Once you’ve had one, you pretty much want the whole bag and then you’d spend the rest of your life with Doodle Dust down the front of your shirt.
And so it was that we were shielded from blatant redneckedness until well after the age when many southern girls lose their virginity in the back bed of a pickup truck, hanging onto a gun rack, which was always my mother’s greatest fear. It turns out there are worse things that could happen.
This weekend, Chap and I are going to be castrating calves.
Someone, get me a gun rack . . .