As you know Joshua, I’m a farmer. It’s hard to meet ladies. I work long hours. In the summer there are no days off. In the winter, there isn’t any opportunity to meet anyone anyway. This way of life isn’t for everyone. It’s a passion. A calling. It’s much more than a job.
Not many people understand that. It takes a special kind of lady to accept it. Not many ladies want a man who gets up at 4am, comes back home at 11am stinking of cow shit, goes back out all afternoon and evening, and rolls into bed and goes straight to sleep because they're exhausted.
Finding a lady like that is hard. It’s even harder when you have no time to go out because you’re so damned busy all the time.
There are dating sites for farmers. I’ve tried them. I don’t get matches or clicks or swipes or whatever is supposed to happen in these places. Folks pass me by. Can’t say I blame them. I don’t have James Bond looks, and I don’t have a big fancy house or car.
Thing is, back in the winter, after the harvest was done, after the winter crops were sown, after the animals were brought in and the days were short and the workload dwindled, I met someone. Kind of. Which is to say, I got a new vet.
When you run a livestock farm, you see your vet a lot. There are always vaccinations and injections and tests and treatments to be done. So you get to know your vet like a friend. Nothing binds two people together quite like getting showered in the shit of a sick calf!
My usual vet retired. He’s still a friend. His kids weren’t interested in taking over the business, so he sold it to an incomer. She was called Evelyln, and the first time I met her, she had her hand up a cows backside within minutes of saying hello. Her other hand held her phone, into which she was talking another farmer through a difficult calving. I was smitten — this was my kind of woman.
Evelyn is a naturally very friendly person. I don’t have many female friends. Fact is I don’t have any. So when she started being all friendly and hugging me when she saw me and so on, I got the wrong message. I thought she was into me. Don’t get me wrong, Joshua, I didn’t make this assumption easily. I’m no oil painting and honestly it amazed me how she was with me. But with no other friendships with women to compare it to, I could only conclude that she liked me. Romantically, that is.
I was even more convinced of that when I asked her if she wanted to stay for lunch one morning after she’d vaccinated the herd. She agreed, so we both got cleaned up and I cooked for her. We chatted for a couple hours until she told me she had other clients she had to see. Again she hugged me when she left.
I was smitten. I knew she was the one for me. Over lunch I had learned that she was recently divorced, that she had no kids, and that she had moved to the area to start a new life after the breakup of her marriage. It was meant to be, right?
That’s what I thought, anyhow. So I called her up the next day and asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner with me. I knew I’d got it wrong when I heard the silence at the end of the phone. She didn’t need to say the rest, I understood I’d made a fool of myself. After the silence that seemed to go on for a year, she muttered something about being busy that night. I replied something about of course she was, and she hung up.
I didn’t see her again for about three weeks, until a cow got sick and I had no choice but to call. I’d already done all I could, given the beast a dose of antibiotics and what have you. I didn’t call Evelyn, I called the practice and the receptionist said Evelyn would be out that afternoon.
When she came, there were no hugs. Everything was professional and formal. She looked after the cow, and she went. She was not unpleasant, she gave me a beautiful smile, and she went on her way.
Joshua, the thing is, seeing her again only made me more sure she was the one. But what to do about it? You can’t make someone love you, right? Except, maybe you could. After she’d gone, I sat there idly searching on my phone for ideas. I felt like a lovesick adolescent, it was ridiculous. When I found your page I read some of the stories, and it opened my eyes to what was possible.
I slept badly that night, and had to be up early for the cows so by the next evening I was even more exhausted than normal. I cracked open a bottle of brandy I’d been saving for a special occasion, and once it had taken the edge off my nerves, I filled out your page and asked for your help.
My fingers were trembling when I was done. I’ve seen life and death, I’ve had to kill unhealthy calves that were in pain, I’ve seen a friend injured by farm machinery, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as shaky as I was after I did that. I was asking you to mess with someone else’s life for my benefit. I drank some more, turned off my phone, and went to bed before I chickened out and asked you to ignore my message.
The next morning with my head throbbing, I still regretted what I’d done. I decided to send you another message to say ignore it, leave it be. But when I turned my phone back on I saw you’d already replied an hour earlier to say you were going to help me.
When the day of the spell arrived, by coincidence I was due to see Evelyn again. I had not seen her since she’d treated that sick calf. This time she had to take blood samples from the herd. It’s a regulatory thing. It means getting all the cows into a corridor and taking blood from each one in turn. The job takes about an hour, but we were so busy controlling those cows there was no time for any awkwardness between us.
When we were done, I remembered you would be doing the spell. I asked Evelyn how she was feeling and she said it was funny I should ask because she wasn’t feeling her usual self. She told me she didn’t know what was wrong, but she was going to take the rest of the day off. She called her practice there and then and asked the receptionist to reschedule her afternoon appointments. When she left, she hardly even said goodbye. She was distracted. That was the first sign that something was happening.
The next sign came about three weeks later when she called me and said she needed to come back to check one of the cows again. She said the blood sample for that one had got lost. Only when she got to the farm, she said it was fine, it had been a mistake and the sample hadn’t been lost at all. Why didn’t she just call on the phone?
We stood around awkwardly a while, making chitchat and passing the time of day, then Evelyn checked her watch and said well, she should probably get going and get some lunch. She said she didn’t know what she was going to eat as she had nothing in the house, and laughed like a little girl. It hit me what she was angling for.
Then the doubt kicked in again. I’d thought I’d known what she was thinking before and had been wrong. Was I wrong again? Before I could talk myself out of it I asked her if she wanted to stay for lunch. She said yes, that would be nice.
The third sign came when she stayed at my table for about three hours. In the end I had to get up and say I had some work to do. It was great spending all that time with her, but I really did have to get on.
She seemed reluctant to leave. And then she said it. She said she felt awful about turning me down for dinner that time, and perhaps if I was to ask again we could find a time that worked for both of us. Joshua, in my head I was singing your praises then!
We arranged to go for dinner that weekend. I took her to the local restaurant. It’s nothing special. That didn’t matter, it was the company that made it special.
The evening was long and we both drank a lot of wine. She kept staring into my eyes. We were the last to leave, and when we said goodbye she told me she was glad she had met me. I said I was glad too, and perhaps we could do this again some time. She eagerly agreed, so we made plans there and then to go out the following weekend.
That’s how it all started, Joshua. The next weekend she told me she’d been thinking about me all week. In fact, she said, she’d been thinking about me for several weeks. She said she thought she wasn’t ready to date anyone so soon after the divorce, but that since a few weeks she hadn’t been able to get me out of her head. She came back to the farm that evening, and let’s just say we enjoyed breakfast together the next day.
I can’t thank you enough, Joshua. If I had woken an hour earlier the day you replied to me, I would have sent you a message and asked you not to do the spell. I’m very happy that didn’t happen. I was wrong about messing with someone else’s life for my benefit. You didn’t do that, you steered Evelyn towards me. Perhaps that’s messing, perhaps not. All I know is that me and her are happy. So we both benefitted.