aka my husband. Even better is that I convinced him to write about
It's going to be a he said/she said series of how we met posts. Amazingly enough he is going first.
Robbie K. -- a name I've never addressed her by in the 16 years we've known one another, you should know -- asked me to write about how she met and ultimately fell in love with me, The Big Yankee. Don't know which moment provided the latter, but I can definitely tell you about the former.
We have Darius Rucker to thank for our first encounter. For those of you under the age of 30, there was this band in the mid-1990s called Hootie and the Blowfish. And I loved me some Hootie back in the day. Or at least until they came out with Fairweather Johnson. Blecch.
But enough of that. I was in Oklahoma, on assignment with my college newspaper at the University of Utah, covering an NCAA softball regional tournament. Just as important as Hootie was in setting up my first encounter with Robbie so was the Utah softball team, which won something like 15 of 16 games to end the year just to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
The coach at Utah, Jo Evans, is now at Texas A&M. I think she's won a national title there, or come pretty damn close. One of these days, I'll have to give her a ring and tell her what she wrought with that win streak (and it wasn't a deep run in the NCAA Tournament; Utah went, as they like to say in baseball, two and barbecue. Translation: They lost both games in a double-elimination tournament, thereby ending their season).
So on Friday night, after Utah lost its first game, that I went prowling down Washington Street, aka, The Strip. The only thing that would cause anyone to confuse Stillwater's Strip with the Las Vegas Strip is the sheer amount of alcohol flowing from ... ahem ... local businesses. But even though school was out, I had a great time at Willie's -- it's where Garth Brooks had his first public performance in 1986 while an OSU student -- and J.R. Murphy's.
Headed back to my room in the hotel that's housed in the OSU student union, I didn't notice the bar on the top story of a two-story building. But I heard Hootie -- it was Let Her Cry, a song you couldn't go halfway down the radio dial without some station playing it. I had 30 minutes until last call, so I headed up the stairs.
Now, being the Jack Mormon I am today, yet barely three years removed from serving a Mormon mission, I was not an aficionado of the bar scene. Still, The Wormy Dog Saloon (I shit thee not over the establishment's name) was unlike anything I had ever stepped into. The seats at the bar weren't stools, but rather saddles. The dance floor was about the size of a shoe box. Upon walking in, there was a series of 8-person booths to the left, some tables in the middle and the tiny bar to the right. In the back were pool tables, 2 or 3 if memory serves. (This was in my pool playing days, so I got some quarters and waited things out.). Highway rest stops thought the bathrooms at The Wormy Dog needed cleaning up.
Outside of Bar-X in Salt Lake City (which today is partially owned by Ty Burrell of Modern Family fame), I had never been in such a small, dark, dingy, dusty bar in my life. And there was a huge shit-kicker element to boot -- quite a clash from my tan slacks and buttoned shirt. I might have been the only guy in the place wearing penny loafers and a collar. I felt like an miscast extra in Urban Cowboy.
Sitting down waiting for my next shot, she glided into my life -- or at least my line of vision. And while Robbie was doing her thing, totally unaware of the set of eyes that were glued to her every move, I felt like I was in a car wreck, with the steering wheel crushed against my stomach. That sounds like a bad thing, but it's not. You know that feeling you get when you encounter someone that you must absolutely "have"? Some get weak in the knees, others begin sweating in various bodily regions. With me, it's all in the gut, combined with a faint head rush. If I was standing up, you could've knocked me on my ass with a feather.
And with that, you now have the build-up for how I "met" Robbie. Next, you'll read about the actual meeting, as well as finding new levels of disrespect for Robbie for how she fell so hard for a sucker like me.