Please Help Us Free Our Dad

 

It was a balmy July night in 1999.  I strolled into the local Star Stop at IH10 and Hwy 62, a little west of the Texas and Louisiana state line.  I was a single 39 year old man with four kiddos in tow.  I just happened to be alone this late evening, due to a planned outing with a local gal who was the manager of this particular Star Stop.  I was fueling my dually when I noticed a very attractive lady changing out the trash can liners in the waste containers at the fuel islands.  I was covered from head to toe with sheetrock dust, because I had been working on a personal home project.  I went on inside the store to gather a few items and to confirm with the midnight manager, Missy, about our scheduled meeting.  I inquired about the lady at the fuel island, and was informed of her marital status and that her name was Melinda.  With that being said, I made a comment about her "good looks" and went on about my business.

I arrived back at the Star Stop later on, clean and ready for an evening at the bottom of a local sandpit.  If you've ever been to Southeast Texas, one becomes familiar with Zima's tropical Skittles and sandpits.  It's a combination that only goes tandom with Bob Seager and George Strait...Southeast Texas Style as some locals would describe it.

I befriended Melinda, aka, Mickey at a later date and came to enjoy long evenings and outings with her.  I watched her go through a rocky divorce along with a few heartaches, that go along with it.

Melinda and I became very serious and within months began to share the same home.  I watched as Melinda and her ex fought over their son, Steven, due to her new living arrangements.

I finally spoke to her on Steven's behalf, that I did not want him played as a pawn in their battle.  I suggested that she return to her husband and try to make her marriage work for the sake of their child.

At this time, I began to pull homes for Cowboy Mobile Home Movers in Baytown, TX.  I spent several weeks at a time out of town, and watched as Melinda and the ex made no headway in their attempt to salvage even a friendship.

The nightmare that was going on in Steven's life had only worsened with no hope in sight.  Eventually Melinda came to Baytown to spend the weekend and inform me that she, in fact, was moving on with her life.  She had made one final attempt on Steven's behalf, and with that information, we spent the weekend together.

And I watched life begin to unfold, once again in my friends life.  I remained in Baytown for several months, as Melinda and Steven carried on with their lives in the Golden Triangle.  With weekend visits at hand, we enjoyed life and each other to the fullest, in every form, shape and fashion.  I can say if I had ever had a "best friend", it was now and it seemed "real" and it was scary.

I had been hurt by all my own foolishness early on in life.  I had lived life as if every day were a holiday and every night was Halloween.  I shied away from anyone that indicated that they wanted a serious relationship.  I did not attract the best selection of women, given the fact that my first comment to them would be, "if you want to go around the block a time or two then I'm game.  Other than that, count me out of the equation completely."

My friend, my buddy, my sidekick was a blast in all that we shared together.  Hurts, ups, and downs were  team effort.  I was going where I swore that I'd never go.  I found myself falling weak, and looking for a way out.  I started having Melinda to have my starched wranglers and shirt laid out and ready for a night out with the boys several nights a week.  This only went way too well.  I was told later on just how "sweet" I was....Seems I was telling her sweet things, each night as I lay down, of how we should marry.

My friend, my buddy, and sidekick had become more than I had realized and I was afraid to say the least.  I had been to heartbreak hotel and back, and had been granted my own set of keys.  I can't say that once one has been there and escaped that they would choose to return.  I certainly never thought that I would and here I was.

I'm not longer looking into her eyes, I now see myself in them.  I'm the puppet, and she's the puppeteer.

I'm the local house mover and I've never led a sheltered life.  I've pushed rodeo stock for Harris farms, feared no man or beast and right now I'm scared to death of this "perfect" woman.

I have fallen and the worst part is that, it is "great".  I've tried to play it off and even fool myself, but with no luck.

I shared all of my inner true feelings with Melinda and face that we should be together. 

It's time to welcome the first part of her life.  The marriage that Melinda had just dissolved was not her first marriage.  She had a marriage previous to that one that had produced two daughters.