How we met…

by Caton McKenna

I’ve met a man who has stolen my heart. It wasn’t quite love at first sight, but I think it’s a good story anyways…Wait for it..Alright the suspense is killing me, here goes:

Our story starts circa summer of 2007? I was studying at Cornell, and I was on summer vacation. Jenna’s boyfriend/now husband’s twin sister Ingrid was graduating from West Point, and they were having a party at their house on Kendrick Rd to celebrate. I arrived after dark and remember talking to a group of people I could hardly see. This was ideal for me since I could regale everyone with humorous stories without making eye contact. My stories are often wildly exaggerated, ask Jenna, but no one was stopping me under the party tent. I remember one guy in particular laughing heartily as I told a story about barely escaping a rabid raccoon (*only a little hyperbole there*). He was at the end of the table next to Martin, and seemed to be an old college buddy. I liked his sense of humor immediately. He found me funny, ipso facto, great sense of humor, however, I was a little wary of his plaid shirt.

Apparently this guy asked Martin about me, to which Martin replied something along the lines of:

Don’t get involved with her unless you want your heart-broken.

Nice. Thanks Martin.

Fast forward to fall 2007. I was helping out at the Cornell University Dairy Sale, and I noticed the same guy from Ingrid’s party was there. I went over to say hi, and sit with him for a bit. Since I make everything into a game, I asked him if he wanted to make wagers on the auction price of each cow. He obliged me. He also lost. No real surprise here. Because Mike is a true romantic, he still has the sale catalog from that day with our score tallies written in it. He’s either sentimental, or he’s a hoarder. I prefer the former (and now a farmer- cue drums).

I told Mike he should come to the after-sale party, and he said he might.

Hey, should I have your number?

Asked like a true player. And I gave it to him. Of course.

Mike never came to the party that night, but he did go to Jenna and Martin’s wedding in the summer of 2008. I briefly recall spending a little time with him towards the end of the night…and might have given him a kiss good-bye (on the cheek) when I headed home. I think Mike caught the garter that night…so he might have been a little preoccupied.

In the fall of 2008, I was a little more involved with the Cornell Dairy sale, so there was no time for wagers. I did ask Mike to come out to dinner and games with us and a few other people after the sale. He accepted my invitation. I asked him to call me when he got home safely.

His call and subsequent texts went unanswered. At the time, I was a flutter of energy, flirtation, and non-commitment. I was in my senior year of college and heading to Nashville to teach in an inner-city high school after graduation. I had no time for relationships or good guys like Mike.

Mike persisted through my ice queen treatment with sweet “Hey, thinking of you” texts, that I would respond to if I was lonely or sad after I moved to Nashville. One text scared me with its honesty:

Caton, I think you are the only girl I could ever love.

We were over 900 miles apart, and I just wasn’t ready to be the type of girl Mike deserved. He continued to pursue me through mailed notes (with his favorite mint chocolate chip gum) and flowers delivered to my doorstep. I responded with a terse text, “Thanks!” I didn’t want to lead him on anymore than I already had. I stopped talking to him completely until we reunited in August, 2013.

I told you our love story is a long one. Wait for the “reunited” blog in the next post.