I had not been single for many years, so the dating process was on the list of things to do. Luckily I was not looking for anything permanent. I was loving being on my own. But it was the time when a person (me) was looking to find out who she was without the constant pressure of anyone else such as parents, a partner or children. For the first time in my life it was just me. I could be anywhere and do anything I wanted, so I felt like a dog who had been tied up to the same tree most of its life. There's a lot to explore in the world!
He had dated a friend of mine, that's how I met him. Their relationship had not gone well, I mean, he had given her some money for one of her horses and one day my friend went over to his ranch to check on the mare and realized it was time for the animals yearly exam so she loaded up the mare to go visit the vet. He (we will call him Jim) called the police and had her arrested for stealing her own horse. But in spite of their problems, I could not ignore that he was handsome, super intelligent, very fun to talk to, rich and just separated from his wife. And, I did not own a horse. All lights were green.
We talked on the phone, I said I was on the way to his area and he said he wanted to spend time with me so stop by his business when I got into town. I was a little nervous when I walked into his shop. I did not really know him very well personally. All of what I knew was via the friend who had been hauled off to the clink for the horse thing, so I had to take all that into consideration while getting to know him personally. I never was the type of person who would base my opinion about something on someone else's opinion. So when we smiled and laughed and clicked, I felt reassured that our relationship would be at least fun. He mentioned he was trying to set up housekeeping at the ranch, and it felt good for him and his wife to finally make separation official. He gave me directions to the ranch and said "there's a key under a rock in the front yard, I will see you around 5 PM. Oh by the way, I baked some cookies and put them in a sack on the fridge, help yourself; look in the sack before reaching in." He grinned and went back to work and I drove out to the ranch, tired from the trip, and unsure about my choice to spend time with him, but knew the road went both ways if I had doubts.
In retrospect I am sure I should have seen at least the tip of a red flag when I drove up to the beautiful ranch, walked up to the front door and looked around me. There were hundreds of rocks in the yard. I guess they called it a yard because it had an old fence in the front of it and a couple of old, overgrown rose bushes here and there, but otherwise had no sign of it ever being considered a 'yard'. An hour later the tip of that red flag got bigger when I finally found a muddy key under a rock in a muddy, weed-and-bug setting and finally went into the house. I looked around, got the feeling of the place. An old two bedroom ranch house that had been built on to here and there, but it was comfortable, so I went to the fridge and reached up for the paper bag of cookies, but noticed the sack felt funny and... it moved! I stood there frozen in place staring at the sack. I wiggled it.. It moved. I knew there was a rattle snake in that sack! I very carefully put the bag back on top of the fridge and stood there amazed! My brain was saying a dozen different things such as, what the heck!? Get out of here! This is funny! He's a smart man, why did he ask me to open a sack with a rattle snake!? Well, I am not the type to run away from a challenge. So I brought my suitcase in, took a shower, puttered around the house fixing things up, arranging his move-in boxes.. Luckily I am not afraid of snakes, so was okay being in the kitchen.
He came home on time and as he was walking through the front door said loudly: " I'm home, did you look in the sack before you ate a cookie!?" As fate would have it I was trying on my new nightgown and had noticed it had a few buttons on the front of it I did not want, so had taken my pocket knife (that looked exactly like a switchblade) out of my purse and was cutting the buttons off the gown I was wearing as I walked into the living room saying: 'Yep! Always did like fresh snake food!" The look on his face was priceless, his jaw hit the ground. He expected to come home and find an upset lady who had nearly been killed by the snake the man used as a run-free house guard when he traveled and instead found a beautiful blond in a flowing gown holding a switch-blade. It was a fun, but temporary, now and then relationship with a snake guarding the home from anything permanent.. I was okay with that. I always did like a challenge.
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