Contest, 2 shy people meet "Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve". J. K. Rowling
| Randy roped cows and tended horses. He could recognize wounded and sick animals, mend fences, and fend off lions and coyotes. He could work all day in the hot sun, on little sleep. He could endure wind storms and rain. What he couldn’t do was talk to a girl.
He could be charming enough to older women. Little children loved his gentle ways, soft voice, and playfulness. But when it came to pretty girls near his own age, he was all nerves and awkwardness. The other hands always got to dance with the best girls. Even the plain girls thought he was boring and too ill at ease.
Then a new farm family moved into the county, near the Sheridan ranch. They had a daughter named Ruth, with blond hair, blue eyes, and nice face. She was shy, too. She loved to read when she finished her chores. Some ranch hands had tried to approach her, but she had rebuffed them all, politely of course. She wanted a man with brains and promise.
One day Ruth was in town with her mother buying fabric and trim, while her father picked up a seed order and other supplies. Randy had just finished loading up the wagon with ranch supplies and staples. He leaned against the back of the wagon and started reading, while he waited for Mr. Sheridan to finish at the bank. He looked up to see Ruth eyeing him from the front of the general store. When their eyes met, she quickly looked away, then followed her mother.
Randy told himself it was now or never. No competition around. He put down his book and scurried across the street. He caught up with them at the cobbler’s shop.
Randy said, “Howdy”, then awkwardly scrambled to remove his cowboy hat. “Ruth, isn’t it?”
She nodded her head, pausing in her walk. Her mother kept a close look at them. So Randy nodded at her.
"Good morning, Ma’am.”
"Good morning.” Then she diverted her eyes and stepped into the shop. She turned a sideways glance to the young people.
“My name is Randy. I work for the Sheridan’s.”
“I saw you reading. What was the book?”
“Wordsworth poems. My father used to read them to us when I was a kid. I didn’t understand them, but I liked hearing his voice say them.”
“Where is your father now?”
“Oh, he died a while back. We lost our farm to the bank. My mother moved back East to her sister. I liked it here, so I stayed. The Sheridan’s are nice to work for.”
“You like poetry?”
“Yes, I do.” He shuffled nervously.
“So do I. Not many men do. In fact, I don’t see many men reading, except for contracts and bank statements. Or the Bible.”
“I guess that’s true. I suppose they get to thinking about how hard they have to work, and reading seems sort of sissy. That doesn’t bother me.”
They both stared off into space
“You’re easier to talk to than most girls.”
“You’re nicer to talk to than most men.”
“Has anyone asked you to the dance Saturday yet?”
“No. I didn’t know there was one.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Once a month, here in town, at the hotel. They move the tables and chairs.”
“That sounds like fun. But I have to ask my folks. They’re sort of strict.”
“That would be great. Your parents might want to go. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to come to your house to get you and drive you home. We can ride by ourselves.”
“You have your own wagon?”
“The Sheridan’s have several. I’ll borrow one. If I can’t get one from them, I’ll rent one here in town. I want to give you a nice ride, treat you like a lady.”
“That sounds fine, Randy.”
Her mother emerged from the shop with repaired boots in hand.
“If you young people are done chatting, we’ll head home now.”
“Ma’am, I’ve asked your daughter if I can call on her on Saturday and take her to the dance.”
“That will be fine, Son. I’ve been watching you. If she’s consented, I’ll approve. “
“Thank you, Ma’am”. He held out his elbow and assisted Ruth’s mother down off the sidewalk.
“I’ll see you Saturday, Ruth.”
She smiled and waved as she walked away.
Randy almost skipped back to the wagon. Mr. Sheridan was waiting, smiling.
“Yes,” said Randy, grinning. “I took a chance and it paid off.”