In Its Own Way: Chapter 2 – You may remember in chapter 1, our main character Joyce Townsend was a highly skilled illustrator and designer living in a small town outside of New York, where she made her living doing freelance projects for clients in Manhattan. Through a strange set of circumstances, Joyce managed to write the lyrics for two country-western songs, and they both became very popular.
It was now springtime, nearly a year after Joyce Townsend’s second country song made its debut. She hadn’t heard from the publisher in several months. The end of the week was fast approaching, and she just had a feeling inside that she was going to get a call from her original contact at the music publishing company, Scott Goodson. Thursday past and it was Friday. Again it was fairly late in the evening when Scott called. it was almost exactly the same time he called her the very first time many months ago. “Hi Scott, I was just thinking about you. It’s been several months since I’ve heard from you. It’s so good to hear your voice.” Joyce was being a little bit coquettish when she answered Scott’s phone call. Joyce always wondered why he never got very chummy with her on the phone. She saw pictures of him on LinkedIn and on the company’s website where he worked. Thinking to herself, “I really wish he would ask me if we could meet in person. I also wish Scott would show a little bit more interest in me outside of the business we’ve been doing together.”
Joyce Townson’s career was at its peak, and she knew she wasn’t getting any younger and wanted to meet someone that she could marry. Scott Goodson seemed to be in her mind’s eye, the perfect man for her. Joyce was in for a surprise because Scott asked her, “Joyce, I would like to know if you would come down to Nashville as our guest, so myself and our team could finally meet you in person.” Joyce did her best to maintain a certain amount of coolness and elegance, but of course, inside, she was absolutely elated. Her quick but calculated response to Scott was, “Gee, I don’t know if I can. I’m kind of busy, but I don’t want to disappoint you. I really do want to meet you in person. Let me see what I can work out and come up with some dates that I can make the trip.” Scott replied. “We will be more than happy to pay for your airfare. And we will provide excellent accommodations for you while you stay here in Nashville.”
It only took Joyce one day to rework her schedule, and she was ready to head to Tennessee that following Monday. She was letting Scott know that she would be available. He made arrangements for her flight and to have her picked up at the airport. “How exciting, this is a dream come true for me. And I hope Scott and I like each other a whole bunch, and maybe even fall in love.” Joyce was thinking and daydreaming to herself ever since Scott invited her to come down and meet him in person.
When she arrived in Nashville, Scott was waiting for her as she got off the plane. He gave her a big hug, and she reciprocated generously and genuinely. She thought to herself, “He’s better looking than I thought; the photographs don’t do him justice.” Scott took her to the hotel and let her know that he would be picking her up around 7 o’clock. Then he would take her out to dinner with some of the other people from his company. Joyce dolled herself up but made sure she looked conservative and not too flirty. Once they sat down for dinner, she was happy to be seated next to Scott. A couple of times, he reached over as he spoke to her and the others and touched her hand or her forearm. Joyce could not be any happier; she was cordial and all smiles.
The next day they met for breakfast, and Scott revealed to her that he was engaged to a woman he went to school with. And he intended to marry her. He told Joyce. “I have loved this girl ever since I can remember, and she loves me. And I know we will be incredibly happy together.” Joyce was doing her best to maintain her composure and congratulated him, even though her own heart was breaking inside. Despite her understanding and smile on her face and her congratulatory tone. Inside, her self-talk was anything but happy. Her thoughts were as one would expect. “Damn, damn it. I knew this was going to be too good to be true. But in one way, I suppose I’m happy for Scott. He’s really a good guy. Scott pretty much knew how Joyce was feeling and had a little bit of a surprise for her.
Scott again reached over and grabbed Joyce’s hand, “I want you to fly with me to my hometown in Oklahoma and meet my wife-to-be and all my friends.” Joyce was on the fence about the offer. She was definitely feeling down and hurting inside. “But maybe something good will come out of that. Maybe karma and fate are working side-by-side. I guess one never knows what will happen, when you meet new people. Joyce consoled herself with those thoughts.
Within a day, they were off to Tulsa, where they were met at the airport by Scott’s best friend from childhood, Carson Randall. Joyce immediately thought, “His name and his appearance… he definitely was a cowboy for sure.” Which, in some way, gave her a tremendous amount of joy inside. “Not only was he a cowboy, but he was a damn good-looking one.” She thought to herself. Carson was as warm and welcoming as could be to Joyce, and of course, he was giving big hugs to Scott. Carson told Joyce, “We’re up for a pretty good drive, so if you need to go to the ladies’ room, now would be a good opportunity.” Joyce replied, “Yes, I do… And thank you for letting me know. Just how far do we have to go, and what is the name of the town?” “Shawnee, it’s about 100 miles from here. But it’s an easy drive. You’ll get to see where Scott and I grew up, and raised some hell.” Joyce was again thinking about Carson, “I can go for where he and Scott grew up, but I don’t know if I’m up for the raising hell part.”
Joyce was surprised how big the town actually was, and there seemed to be a lot of business activity, even some high-tech companies. They did not put Joyce up in a hotel. They told her she needs to stay with the family and that there was plenty of room. Joyce was okay with that, especially because she was hoping to get to know Carson better. Over the next few days Scott mainly was hanging out with his wife-to-be, Katie Johnson. So Carson became her chauffeur and meal companion when they weren’t eating back at Scott’s family’s ranch. Carson showed her the town, and then he showed her some of his favorite places to go, walking and hiking. Then he took her horseback riding. Joyce told Carson, “I’m as happy as any girl could be. Spending most of my life in New York, this is another side of life I’ve never been exposed to, and I’m absolutely loving it, quite frankly.” Carson asked Joyce, “Why don’t y’all just move here? You seem to fit in quite handsomely and everybody thinks you’re a dear hearted soul.”
Joyce that night, laying in her bed about midnight, couldn’t get to sleep. She kept thinking, “I’d move here in a minute especially if Carson would be my beau.” It was getting close to the time Joyce had to go back to New York. Work was backing up and she told Carson, “I wish I didn’t have to go back. But I still have to make a living and that’s where my work is.” Carson replied to Joyce’s dilemma. “Well, let’s have dinner tonight together, just you and I. There’s a great restaurant I know, and we can chat about your future. After all you’ve written a couple of amazing country songs. I’m sure there’s more in you. Oklahoma loves country folks and especially likes country music. And we all are very proud and happy, to brag on one of our own, that writes the lyrics for country songs.” Joyce was blushing. She knew that was the very thought that she had been giving to herself the whole time she was hanging out with Carson.
The next day Carson picked Joyce up at Scott’s family home. Scott hugged Joyce and then put his arm around her as they left the house and walked with her and Carson to the car. He gave Joyce another big hug. Then holding her hand and Carson’s hand he said to Joyce. “Carson and I are like brothers and he’s got a lot of love in him.” Joyce thought to herself, “These are some really fine men and they’re not afraid to be kind and loving towards each other. Not like most of the men in the big cities like New York.”
Carson drove Joyce to his favorite restaurant in town. Paul’s Place Stakehouse. Actually that really wasn’t his favorite restaurant; he preferred Bandana Red Stakehouse. But he thought, “She’s from the big city and Paul’s Place might be more suitable to her.” What he didn’t know was that she wasn’t much of a red meat eater. But all of a sudden, to please him, she became one. Joyce understood where he was coming from and she did not want to embarrass him in any way. They ordered a bottle of wine and only drank one glass each. They had their “Eats,” as Carson would say. After they finished their meal, Carson said to Joyce. “I want to take you over to see something. I’ve been waiting my whole life to share this with someone just like you.” When Carson said that, it made Joyce feel especially warm inside, and it wasn’t that glass of wine doing it either.
They drove a couple of miles or so out of town, went on a short dirt road off the highway. There was a stand of trees lit by the setting sun. Come on, let’s get out of the car. At this point, Joyce started to be concerned about her safety; after all, this seemed to be pretty remote to her, and if she had a problem no one would hear her screaming. But much to her delight Carson was being a perfect gentleman, which Joyce, understandably, really knew he would be. They walked up the little path through the trees to a large opening. There stood a brand-new-looking ranch house with a porch that went all the way around it. In the distance, she could see some cattle. And there was a big red barn. She thought to herself, “This isn’t New York anymore; this is a piece of paradise. All this open land, plenty of room to have animals and maybe even raise some children.” Not that she had ever done either of those things.
Carson looked Joyce straight in her eyes, and with a shy smile he proceeded to say to her. “My dear Miss Joyce Townsend, I would like you to be my wife and share this home with me. I built this over the last eight years, and I own it free and clear, along with the acreage that goes around it. Enough to raise some cattle and maybe even have some chickens for fresh eggs.” Joyce’s eyes began to tear up. She was experiencing a million emotions all at once. The tears started to run down her cheeks. Carson said, “Joyce, I did not want to make you cry. I hope I did not say anything to offend you or hurt you in any way.” Joyce managed to bring up a smile looking at Carson’s genuinely concerned expression, and she said to him. “My dear, dear Carson Randall. I’m crying because you are an answer to all my prayers, and I truly cannot imagine living my life without you as my husband.” Carson developed a happy but tender expression on his face, and said “Does that mean you will be my wife? If so, you just made me the happiest cowboy in the whole country.” Within less than a heartbeat Joyce replied, “Yes, yes, and yes! I am your wife to be, and soon I will be your loving wife forever.”
In less than a month, they were married. In two weeks after that, Joyce got rid of all of her belongings, with the exception of her drawing table and her personal art collection. Joyce yelled out her window. “Goodbye, New York! It was sometimes fun. But now I’m going to live happily ever after with the man I truly love. Thank you, God. You have blessed me beyond anything I could’ve expected or maybe even deserved.” Joyce kept saying that over and over to herself and even made it into a simple prayer that she recited often.
You may have guessed it. Within a year, they had their first child and after another year they had their second child. They live a beautiful and happy life and share a bond and mutual respect that would be envious to any couple who had the opportunity to get acquainted with them. You might say they will live happily ever after. And as Carson predicted. Joyce did write another country song shortly after they were married, and she called it “My Heart Met its Soul in Oklahoma.” One of the lines from the song goes like this, “Our hearts never knew our souls until we met, by the grace of God.”