Mr. Pennsylvania didn't live right where I was staying, but he was accommodating and said we could meet up in the Cabela’s parking lot. Supposedly I couldn’t miss it.
I wasn’t familiar with the Mecca-ness that is Cabela’s. I mean, I’d heard of the chain, but I didn’t know that people came from miles around on a Saturday to hang out there. The parking lot was flooded, but I found my date and off we went for a hiking trail.
I asked Mr. Pennsylvania what he did and then sat in confused silence for quite some time. It had something to do with hydrogen. I tried to ask an intelligent sounding question, but realized there was nothing I could say on that subject that would sound anywhere close to intelligent, so I just nodded my head and said, “Uh-huh,” every once in a while. I’d asked for smart, and I’d gotten a smart one! Too smart for me!
Hiking was one of my favorite things to do when I lived in Colorado, but since hitting the open road two months earlier, I’d spent most of my time sitting on my butt in my car. Translation? I was not in good shape.
The good news: We had a great time talking. Hydrogen didn’t come up again and we stuck to topics I knew about, so I didn’t spend any more time feeling stupid.
The bad news: I had to stop a few times to get my heart to stop racing. I didn’t want to have a freaking heart attack at 35. I was sweating like a pig and he wasn’t even breathing hard. I really don't know why guys continue to agree to go out with me.
The overlook was fabulous and well worth the racing heart and heavy breathing (on my part). Several hawks were circling and it was one of those moments when I felt really at peace and just happy to be. We sat up there for a long time, just talking.
We got back to his mini-van (“It’s good for hauling my drum equipment around,” he’d said) in decent time. It was indeed four miles to the top, then four miles down. Overall I’d say I hung in pretty well for an out-of-shape aging woman.
He’d planned for us to go to a vineyard after our hike, but it had taken longer than he’d expected. The place would be closed by that time, so I suggested we go wander around Cabela’s instead. I don’t think he really wanted to, but I said I wanted to see what was in there.
“I’ve heard it’s full of stuffed animals,” he said.
“Stuffed animals . . ." I said, " . . . as in Teddy Bears or as in taxidermy?”
“Taxidermy,” he laughed. “I guess I should have clarified that.”
And full of stuffed animals it was. I’d never seen so many dead things in one place. Mountain goats, deer, elk, wolves . . . a plethora of animals rose above us in a crazy mountain-like display. We wandered around some more and found another display of African safari-type stuffed animals -- water buffalo, lions, crocodiles, and even an elephant. It was crazy. There were a ton of people there with their kids; I guess you don’t have to pay money to go to a zoo if you walk around Cabela’s and check out the free dead animal displays.
We were heading toward the doors when we saw a display of hunting DVD’s for sale. One was playing as an example. A big male turkey appeared to be sneaking up on an unsuspecting female turkey.
“Are we about to see turkey sex?” I asked. Then BOOM. The turkey got his head blown off. An old man looked at me and laughed. Guess not.
We walked back out to the parking lot, and as I was about to leave, Mr. Pennsylvania handed me a CD.
“I saw who your favorite bands were, and I thought you might like this,” he said. Aw. Thoughtful as well as funny and smart and so, so attractive. Great combo.