There is Nothing Like 26 Years with a Small Town Girl

There is Nothing Like 26 Years with a Small Town Girl

 In 1987, country singer Steve Wariner recorded a song entitled “Small Town Girl” Here is the portion of the lyrics that won’t embarrass my sweet little bride. (The rest of the lyrics are awesome too by the way.)

Hot coffee and the sound of her sweet voice callin
Country station on the kitchen radio
That’s how I know there’s still a little magic in this crazy world.. There ain’t nothin like the love of a small town girl

He is right. There ain’t nothin like the love of a small town girl… I know firsthand. I married a small town girl in August of 1984, who grew up on a farm near Friona, Texas. We met during the fall semester of 1982 in the university cafeteria. Later that same semester I told my friends in the dorm that I was going to run across the street to the student apartments, and have a nice little chat with that sweet little Jan Mason. They laughed. I mean they really laughed! And then they proceeded to inform me that they had seen her just a few minutes earlier at her apartment baking cookies with another male student, whose name was also John… I was none too happy. I hate it when a plan does not come together. It was time for 1st John to exit and 2nd John to enter her life. I wondered where I could stash 1st John’s body…(I quickly restrained myself.)

Time marched on. That semester ended. I ended up seeing a wonderful young lady from another state that was also attending the same university. I needed to grow up. We ended up going our separate ways. In 1983, I found myself in a class with Jan Mason of all people. I soon discovered that 1st John had exited her life without my assistance. I quickly manipulated the class seating arrangements, so I could “happen to sit by her” for the duration of the semester. I love it when a plan comes together.

It was the last class of the day, so we ended up talking at length right outside the building where the class was held for weeks. We went on our first date at Harry and Kate’s Restaurant in Lubbock in April of 1983. (For you Lubbockites it was located on 50th st. near Indiana Ave. where the Brittany Restaurant was in the 1970’s.) We had a blast.

But soon after that first date she dropped the bombshell. She told me that she would be leaving in a matter of weeks to counsel at a camp in New Mexico for children for the entire summer! I of course told her to cancel. Feign sickness, I told her. Tell them that you are madly in love and won’t be able to join them. Little did I know at the time that I was dealing with the most responsible and dependable individual on the face of the earth. And little did I know that I was speaking to the future mother of my own children. Soon after their birth they discovered that she was the most responsible and dependable mother on the face of the earth.

She packed her Chevy Vega and headed to Cloudcroft, NM. I enrolled in summer school and pouted. We wrote letters to each other every single day. I sent care packages to her at least once a week. I still have all of those letters today stored in a briefcase. One of these days, when I am in a nursing home, or long gone from this earth my boys will find those letters. It will be there choice whether or not they want to read them. When my mother died in 1991, I found letters that my father had written to her when they were dating. The envelopes had postmarks from 1950 on them. I chose not read all of them. I felt like I was intruding on something that was very private, but I secretly cherished the love they had for each other. I also discovered that my father was a pretty romantic guy back in the day.

That summer of 1983 finally ended. I did not know at the time that exactly one year later we would stand in a church in small town Friona, Texas and exchange wedding vows. So this week we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. Our friends call Jan a “saint”, when they hear that news. They call me “fortunate.” I wonder why? All I know is: there ain’t nothing like the love of a small town girl… In fact, there is nothing like spending 26 years with a small town girl.

I love it when a plan comes together.

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