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by Sarah Fowler
There’s just something about a good ole country boy. A man who has a farmer’s tan, hands that are calloused from years spent working outside and jeans that are wore thin in all the right places. Had I written those words this time a year ago, it would have been safe to assume that I had been kidnapped by an overall wearin’ redneck named Bubba and his dog Buford and the moonshine had started to affect my senses. And I certainly would have NEVER in a million years admitted that I actually have a cousin named Bubba. (As a side note, my mother would want me to point out that that cousin is on my father’s side of the family.) Back then, it would have never even occurred to me to date a man who knew the inner workings of a John Deere tractor or exactly how many days were left until deer season started but now…now, maybe it’s me, maybe it’s desperate times or maybe it’s the sudden rise in temperature that has gone to my head but my goodness, there is nothing like a pair of cowboy boots and the distinctive southern drawl of a good ole country boy to make me want to grab a fishin’ pole and get lost in the woods for a little while. When I was a little girl I used to spend hours outside. We lived on a good couple of acres with what seemed like hundreds of pine trees that were the perfect place for my nature trails; the one and only time I ever “ran away from home” I packed my dog and a package of Oreos and made it about five feet before I decided the backyard was the perfect place to start my new life. I remember countless slumber parties where my friends and I would ride four wheelers and then spend the night outside in a tent with nothing but our sleeping bags and a flashlight. My Dad and I used to go frog huntin’ late at night in the summer and I would spend hours outside catching lightening bugs, constantly barefoot because “Country folks don’t wear shoes.” But these days you would have a hard time catching me in a pair of heels less than three inches tall and “roughing it” is staying at any hotel that doesn’t have valet parking. Then recently, something happened that changed all that: I got tired of being so freakin’ high maintenance.  A couple of weeks ago a girlfriend invited me to go with her to Pilgrimage Ball. I had dreamed of going to the Ball since I was a little girl; I conjured up images of elegance and grandeur, women in gowns and men in tuxes, the picture of style and sophistication. So when finally presented with the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to go. But there was just one little hitch in my plan, I already agreed to go to the Country Junction with some new friends that night. I rationalized that I could go to the old run down bar anytime and the Ball only happened once a year, but I still had a nagging feeling that I just couldn’t shake. I was looking at myself in the mirror putting on the pearl necklace that I hadn’t worn since my days playing The Stepford Wife when I knew what that feeling was. Staring back at me in the reflection was an image of a woman I didn’t want to be anymore. But I pushed it to the back of my mind and went to the Ball anyway. While yes, it was beautiful; my childhood dream fell flat as my fantasies were met with reality. And that reality was that standing there in a little black dress, drinking a glass of wine and faking laughter at some tired old joke, all I really wanted was to be sitting around a table with a beer in my hand, wearing a ripped pair of jeans listening to country music. And a man beside me that had spent his day doing anything but pushing a pencil.  I have dated my fair share of business men; men who wear a suit and tie to work, have conference calls to Tokyo and tied to their Blackberry’s. That was the type of man I thought I would marry, a man full of ambition who was only too eager to work his way up the corporate ladder. While I respect and admire those men, I met a man about a year ago who completely changed the way I see things. 19 years old, he and his younger brother had just inherited the family cotton farm. Their father was gravely ill and unable to get out of bed, let alone farm countless acres of cotton. Without hesitation, these two young men abandoned their dreams and took over the back breaking and grueling task of working the family farm. With cotton constantly dropping in price, I asked why they didn’t farm something more lucrative like soy or corn. To that he responded: “Because we’re cotton farmers. My daddy was a cotton farmer and so was his daddy and his daddy and his daddy before that. This is what we do, who we are.” It was as if the dirt had passed right through his fingers and had gotten into his soul; just watching this young man tenderly look over his crop as if it were a new baby tugged at my heart. In that moment he instantly earned my respect, in fact, more so than any man in a suit and tie had in a long time.I recently started seeing a man who is about as country as they come. Hunting is his passion and I swear his living room looks like a taxidermist’s wet dream. But I didn’t know just how country he was until our last date when he excitedly asked if I wanted to spotlight beavers on the river and shoot at them off his front porch. (For the record, I politely declined.) I would like to think that I have never met a man like him before but being born and raised in Mississippi, I know better. I’m sure I’ve met men of the same caliber but taken one look at the dirt under their fingernails or the grease stains on their clothes and not given them a second thought. But now…now I realize what I’ve been missing out on. And while I have no idea if this current relationship will outlast turkey season, all of this has made me realize that Prinny and I are finally ready let a man into our lives: He’s an adorable little blue tick hound puppy. We’re naming him Buford.

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