Joe and I have a mutual friend named Cathy.
She is full of irrepressible joy and is a big talker.
She was not always joyous or fortunate in love.
This is her grown up love story.
After what Cathy thought was twenty three years of a happy marriage, Cathy's husband told her he had found a place to rent and walked out on her. Their two sons were twenty one and fifteen at the time and Cathy was forty. She was devastated and grieved the loss of her marriage for six years. She had the support of friends and lived rent free in the church parsonage for three years but never unpacked. She met two gay men who accepted her and her grief and she slowly decided her divorce was final indeed. One friend is fat and one thin. She calls her little group "Two Fat Friends and A Friend." Cathy has a delightful sense of humor and has no problem making fun of herself. She is prone to exaggerate her size and her age.
A year and a half ago she was invited to a low country boil to celebrate a goat pen being cleaned. Yes, a goat pen cleaning party. It was here she met Randy, a long haul truck driver, for the first time. He was tall just like Cathy. She is five feet ten inches and he is six feet five inches. He is six years younger than Cathy. She sat next to him and they talked all night. No phone numbers were exchanged and Cathy assumed she was too fat and too old for Randy.
A few days later at work two friends called her and asked if it was all right to give Randy her phone number. They have been dating ever since. Cathy was aware he had her a ring made in Florida last July but Christmas, her birthday and other days came and went. Had he changed his mind? Was he not going to ask her to marry him? They were deeply in love. He was The One, her partner and friend. At age forty nine she was ready to make that commitment once again.
They were driving down to Augusta one day this spring and while on the interstate Randy opened the console and pulled out the ruby and diamond ring. He said "Do you want to get hitched?" A little nonplussed by this setting Cathy responded "I guess so." Cathy laughs when telling this and says "We met in a goat pen and got engaged on the interstate."
After that romantic proposal they arrived in Augusta. Randy wanted an air compressor at Harbor Freight, a sort of big hardware and tool store. The problem was it was eight hundred dollars and they did not have that much money. The customary 20% off was excluded from the air compressor. Cathy, excited and a professional business woman herself, was not having it. She asked for the manager. She said to him "Do you see how old I am? I just got engaged. Do you see that big old redneck over there? I am old and fat and he loves me just like I am. I want that air compressor for his engagement present." She says all this as she wiggles that big ole ruby ring in the managers face. The manager replies "What about six hundred and fifty dollars?" Randy says "Let's load it on the truck," smiling widely at his bride to be. Customers and the staff of the store cheered.
That is Love at the Hardware Store.
"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts, when God pries your fingers open."---Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983
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