Day Two of BRAND NEW LIFE, first scene that greets my bleary eyes out of my bedroom window. Stumbled into the kitchen in frantic search for java, which will reassure me that what I just beheld was part of a demonic nightmare. Horns four feet across? For Reals?
Bed head askew and both eyes tightly shut against the physic assault of the long horns seemingly grazing in the front yard, I blindly feel for coffee mugs and realized there are 15 bodies seated around the table, one of whom is Father Ray, the family priest. 7AM and they are engaged in earnest conversation about yours truly. Good to know that they are taking such an interest in my recent marriage fiasco and working on constructing my brilliant new future. As I tentatively sip the scalding coffee and scan the table, I wonder again about all my second cousins and their bizarre system of naming babies. There were, in no particular order, Laredo Porter Wagoner T————–, known to all as Big Red. Then there’s Austin Johnny Cash T—————, fondly called Cap Tee. Next comes Beaumont George Jones T———-, nicknamed Gator. Then, Laramie Loretta Lynn T————–, called by all Maria.
“Aunt Aggie,” (note Aunt is universally pronounced Aint in this neck of the woods), “If you wanted to call Laramie Maria, why didn’t you just name her that, instead of wasting three unused names on her?”
“Well, Daaaaaabbbiiiieee,” (thereby ignoring my middle name of Renee, which I’d gone by for 39 years and turning my usually two-syllable first name of Debbi into approximately 8) “my mama Maria warn’t deadt yet, so we couldn’t use that. Warn’t of been right, what with her still being alive and all.” Conversations with my great Aint Aggie and her husband Frankie generally cause me more confusion than enlightenment, and this one was no different. She did enjoy relating how all her kids came to be named after Texas towns. Each of the ten times they discovered she was with child, they would throw a dart at a map of Texas and wherever it landed would become the future bambino’s new moniker, along with names of all their favorite country and western singers from the 1950’s and 60’s. While I will probably NEVER truly understand these Texican relatives, you can’t fault their creative, if cumbersome, naming system.
Hot Joe working its magic through my veins, and starting to join the world of the awake and functioning, I realized they were all in a deep conversation about finding me a “beau”! Several widowed or divorced ranchers on nearby farms were proffered, and eventually all discounted. “Well, it’s not going to be easy. She’s so darned tall, and headstrong, and she lived in New York City all those years. She’s not as young as she used to be, either.”
I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs, “Guys, I’m right here, 6 feet away…I can hear every word you’re saying!” Curious and strangely fascinated, I decided to keep quiet and see where this might be headed. I also made up my mind in a split second that this itty bitty blog thing would stay my little secret from the kinfolk; why waste potentially delicious material that the good Lord had just gifted me with?!? If any of them got wind of the fact that I was writing about them, it would become a blog by committee; all ideas, phrasing, and story lines would have to be approved by the majority. All verbs and nouns chewed over as tantalizingly slowly as tender beef brisket.
Father Ray’s voice cut through the chatter. “What about Doc Speed; his wife up and made off with that vet tech, what, going on two years now? I’d say he’s probably about ripe for some home cooking and fed up with going home alone to that big ol ranch every night“. A chorus of approval rose from the table. Houston, we have a potential winner for the hand of our stubborn, oft-married, aging female cousin.
Turns out “Doc Speed” is the local large animal vet, whose given name is Lane Street. I’m not altogether sure about a man whose names consist of two map components, but I soon find myself being hurried up to my room to check my closet for one of my calico Laura Ingalls “squire” dancing frocks. Let me guess…soon, very soon, the ranch will put out an SOS to the good Doc Speed for a bovine housecall. If I find out that Dr. Street’s middle names are Marty Robbins or Buck Owens, I will know fer sure it’s a sign from God!! Welcome to the family Doc!