I’m not exactly sure when Kody realized that I existed. For me, it’s like I have always known him. In small towns like Guymon, everybody knows everybody. We grew up together in the middle of the Oklahoma panhandle where fields of corn and wheat meet endless clear blue skies.
I remember the day in July of 1984 when our friendship started. Kody remembers an earlier episode during the winter of the same year involving a high school basketball game, my pink snow boots that looked like high-top tennis shoes, a detonated firecracker inside the gym, and our junior high principal Mr. Wolgamott throwing him out of the game, but that’s his story to tell. In my version of our beginning, I was fourteen, hanging out with a group of junior high friends at the Olympic-sized Guymon municipal pool. At the deep end stood the high dive, flanked by two low diving boards, with a deck off to the side where we slathered on baby oil and baked in the sun. Kody’s tan was sexy, and his muscles rippled as he flipped and cannon-balled off the high board that day. His laugh made me laugh, and I said to him, “Could you give me a ride home?”
Kody drove a 1977 white Chevy Silverado pick-up even though he was barely fifteen. Looking back I’m betting my mom would have been available to pick me up, and I’m pretty sure she would have disapproved of her fourteen-year-old daughter riding around with any boy, not to mention one without a license. I most likely asked Kody for a ride for the sheer summer thrill.
When Kody pulled into the circle drive at my house and slowed to a stop, I opened the passenger door to let myself out and said, “Thanks for the ride.” But Kody never parked, instead accelerating again, completing the circle while I held on to the open truck door and cracked up. A moment later and once more outside my front door, he stopped for another mock drop-off, and like a record, we rotated through the drive, the scene repeating, the Silverado pausing, and we rolled on, Kody’s arms flexing as he held onto the steering wheel, his laugh infectious. Finally, he let me go. We were kids, being kids, and I found myself giggling about that ride for days.
Flash forward a couple of years to our first date and a few more years to our first marriage and thirty more through our journey of ups and downs, human mistakes and equally human reactions, break ups and makeups, a divorce and a second marriage.