First Meeting ~ Lesson 1, Excite
|A - Mary Kate Lang
Ms. Lang, or Kate her friends call her, works for a firm in Bangor, ME mainly for the farming community. Kate is 34, single, with no children. She has an MBA from NYU, but after a few years in New York City, she decided to move to a smaller city, and has been there for six years.
Kate is a closet masochist, and what she misses most about NYC are the clubs she used to frequent.
B - Calvin “Cal” McGillicuddy
Mr. McGillicuddy is the youngest farmer in the Houlton, ME area with 240 acres, which he inherited when his father passed away two years ago. Most of his acres are planted in potatoes each year, like most surrounding farms. He is 31, single with one 12-year-old son. He has vacationed in Boston, MA, but prefers fishing the Allagash River to visiting cities.
It wasn’t that it took long to get there, maybe an hour and a half, tops. It was just such a lonely drive. Almost nothing to see except trees, and until satellite radio, nothing but country and static. I-95 didn’t have much traffic at this time of day, and I made it in just over an hour without getting pulled over. The car gave directions, I was soon northwest of town. And apparently 1,000 feet from my destination. It was such a handy gadget to have, but they really could have done better on the monotone voice. I turned down the long drive towards a two-story white house with a wrap-around porch. McGillicuddy wasn’t the biggest client represented by the firm, or even the biggest account I managed. However, it had been a few years since anyone had made a personal visit. The person who retired should have done it, but his lazy ass was on cruise control, and now it was up to me to handle any fallout.
I pulled into the dooryard with a small pack of barking dogs to greet me. No one else came out, and the animals all seemed friendly, so I got out and stretched the road off me while keeping the furry beasts at bay. Hollering a few greetings didn’t bring anyone running, either. I wandered toward the back where weathered barns and outbuildings stood, and rounding the corner of the house, I saw a lone figure working on an older piece of green painted machinery. The tinny blast from an old radio playing something with a twang made it clear why there was no answer to my greeting.
“Excuse me, are you Mr.McGillicuddy?” I asked to his back. “Sir?”
I thought I’d have to repeat myself, but he replied, “I’m Cal McGillicuddy. If that’s who you’re huntin’.”
He put down his wrench and turned to me. It wasn’t that he didn’t have handsome features. It was everything else. He had sandy brown curls and deep brown eyes, but he was a filthy mess. He had a neatly trimmed mustache, my favorite facial hair, but he smelled of the potato dirt. There was no smell quite like it either, being both earthy and dusty at the same time. He might be six-foot, but it sure is hard to tell in those oversized leather workboots. In fact, even though it was approaching 85 degrees, he wore long sleeves and coveralls.
“Hello, Mr. McGillicuddy, I’m…” He held up a hand to stop me.
“Cal. No one calls me mister around here. You are?” He gave me a tight smile.
“I’m Kate Lang,” I said. “I’m the new lead person on your account at First Farmers.”
“I see. What happened to ol’ man Haskins?”
“Retired a month ago,” I responded. “So is this your place?”
“Ayuh.” That was a piece of Maine lingo I could live without. “So you drove up from Bangor? Why?”
He listened quietly as I gave the speech about personal service, and that we had been lax in visiting clients. Aside from a few nods, he said nothing until I was finished. In fact, he didn’t say anything for a bit as he thought and rubbed the back of his neck. So, he was also the quiet type. Interesting.
“I tell you what. It’s hot out here, so why don’t you sit up on the porch?” He had a crooked smile. “I’ll wash up and be along directly.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“There’s a cold beer in the ‘fridge if you’re so inclined!” He said as he headed for a barn.
The last thing I needed was a beer, but my throat was dry and the dust made it worse. I expected Pabst, so I was a bit surprised to find local craft beers. I opened one and was about to sit when I saw myself in the window reflection. My long blond hair was flat from the heat, so I fluffed it as best I could. My shirt and skirt were both wrinkled and clinging to my body, which still looked good because of my gym membership, but there was certainly no iron handy. Brushing the dirt and dust off of my shoes made me wonder why I hadn’t worn flats. There’s nothing wrong with being short, and they would have been much easier in this place.
I was taking another sip of the hoppy but very unique beer when Cal climbed the steps to the porch. The change in his looks threw me. His hair was wet and tangled, but it looked better. The work clothes had been switched out for a tight pair of jeans and a tighter t-shirt that was also wet. His muscles weren’t made in a gym, they were from running a farm, and they were magnificent. I could feel myself tingle just a little. I’m not sure if he noticed my looks, but I sure was having a bit of trouble keeping focused on the work at hand. Once business was all but concluded, Cal asked if I’d like a tour of the farm. On another day, that might have been nice, but there were other clients waiting, so I had to decline.
“Kate?” He looked me right in the eye. “If you’re going to work with farmers, you might spend more time on farms.”
“Just an observation. A pair of jeans and boots would go a long way in these parts, too.”
“I see…” I mumbled.
Before visiting my next client, I went to a local shop to find a nice pair of well-fitting jeans, and then found a pair of those dumb leather work boots like Cal had been wearing. It could have been just heeding some sage advice, or it could have been because you never know who you might see again in a small town. All I knew was that I thought quite a bit about Mr. McGillicuddy that day. In fact, I just seemed to think about him period.