Thursday, February 16, 2017

Farmers Only, an old Appaloosa and a double dog dare...

Dear Farmers Only
My name is Patrick Smith and I want to tell you how I met the love of my life on Farmers Only.
In March of 2015, I was living in Sterling, Virginia having separated from my wife of 25 years. I had left my farm in Gettysburg, PA and was living in corporate housing which I shared with co-workers. Life in a townhouse was far different than life at the farm. Without the daily chores of feeding horses, mending fences and repairing everything from plumbing to shelters, I had plenty of time on my hands. 
One evening as I sat watching TV and surfing the internet, I saw an ad for Farmers Only. Online dating is not the sort thing that I would normally get involved with, but I was bored and newly single and I figured what the hell. 
I opened up an account, wrote a profile and attached a picture of myself with one of my horses, an old Appaloosa named Scout. I set my search for northern Virginia and started to browse through the results. I found several women that seemed to have similar interests in horses and over the course of the next few weeks exchanged a few emails with a couple. While we discussed the possibility of meeting over coffee, it never came to pass with our busy schedules.
Meanwhile, 183 miles away Lori Baldwin sat with her teenage daughter watching TV. Lori was a single mom, divorced and raising her daughter in rural Pennsylvania. Her job as a registered nurse kept her very buy, but she spent every minute she could with her daughter Brandy.  As the two watched TV one evening, an ad for Farmers Only came up. They had a laugh over the idea of the service, not giving it any serious thought.
Lori’s life was hectic, filled with the demands of her job and her efforts to give her daughter a full life with a loving parent. It did not leave her much time for herself and although she had dated, she had not found someone worth sharing her life with. But she and her daughter had a wonderful relationship as well as a friendship. They often acted more like sisters, hunting, playing sports and horseback riding together whenever possible.
On this night as they watched the ad for Farmers Only, Brandy jokingly told her mom that she should sign up. Lori wasn’t interested but the jokes turned to dares and finally to the serious “double dog dare”. That was all she wrote. Before long, Lori had signed up and she and Brandy put together a profile for her.
As I said, Lori and Brandy had a special relationship that included a tradition of practical jokes played upon each other and anyone in range. Brandy managed to get into her mom’s account and “liked” a series of men that she knew her mom would have nothing in common with. Lori is an attractive woman and was bombarded by messages from men who she would not ever have wanted to date, but still the overall experience with Farmers provided entertainment and some new friendships with her own contacts.
Weeks went by and one evening as Lori browsed her search results she came across a photo. Her eye was immediately drawn to the photo, he was damn handsome! I am of course talking about Scout, my horse. She did manage to get past his picture and noticed that he was indeed standing with a man. After reading my profile, she decided that I was a bit arrogant but hey, that horse right?
I saw Lori’s picture and was immediately captivated by the smile of this beautiful young woman. I knew that there was no real hope here, after all she was ten years younger and 183 miles away. However, I could not get her out of my mind and finally sent a simple message to her stating that it figured that I would leave Pennsylvania only to see someone so lovely back there.  
Before you knew it we were texting back and forth, then emailing and then finally came the phone call. Everything seemed so easy, we talked like old friends, discussing everything from horses and our children to politics and religion.
It did not take very long before I received a call from Lori. She was coming down to Sterling, she wanted to meet face to face. I reserved her a room at a local hotel, so that she would have her own place and we arranged a date. It seemed a little crazy, but it just seemed right.
I arrived at the hotel to pick her up for our date. I knocked at the door, staving off the fears of some catfish event. When the door opened, I was relieved to see the same beautiful smile and was overcome with relief. I asked her if she was ready to go and we were off.
Now for Lori, this whole trip had been a little hectic. Beyond the drive across three states, she had to battle the comments from her mother, who was sure that she was being lured away into some human trafficking scheme. As she drove down, the excitement was tempered by her own concern that she may end up as a special on cable TV. “Whatever happened to Lori Baldwin?”
Our first date was fun and relaxed. We went to the air and space museum, rode in a flight simulator, had a nice dinner and wrapped things up with a walk in the park. Things went so well that Lori decided to stay another night. 
I arrived the next evening after work to pick her up for our next date. I climbed the stairs up to the second story where her room was and as I turned the corner, she jumped out yelling “Gotcha!”. I did explain about the practical joking. She laughed, I laughed …….once my heart started beating again. At this point, she figured that I was fun and I knew that she was crazy! It was a perfect match.
The following months were spent trying to spend time together between our busy schedules. We would trade off travelling, her visiting me in Sterling and me visiting her in PA. She introduced me to her daughter and the two of us took to each other quickly, sharing interests in music and books, as well as hunting and cars.
This Summer, Lori took the leap and found work down here in Virginia. We moved in together, along with her daughter far from the city. We both commute daily, but still live in the country where the horses are in the back yard, hunting is nearby and we have peace and quiet.
On November 19th, I had the happiest day of my life. I married the love of my life. She is my best friend, my partner in crime and the best thing that ever happened to me. All because of Farmers Only, an old Appaloosa and a double dog dare.

Patrick and Lori Smith





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