Marine and the Beauty Queen

by OldSarge69

Copyright© 2019 by OldSarge69

Romantic Sex Story: He thought he had it all. A beautiful wife he loved, one of the most successful companies in the state and the envy of many men. Then he came home one day unexpectedly and found his wife with another man. As he began to reflect on his life, however, he began to wonder who really cheated on whom?

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Heterosexual   Fiction   Humor   Cheating   Oral Sex   .

If you are looking for a story filled with sex, then you are probably in the wrong place. I don’t write sex stories. I (hopefully) write interesting stories that contain sex. It has been said that women need a reason to have sex, while men just need a place. I disagree with that. I think that men and women need to have a reason to have sex and that if they care for each other, then the sex will be even better. All the participants are at least 18.

I have always heard there are three kinds of people in the world: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.

I had always considered myself the first kind of guy.

At least until I forgot some papers and had to return home to pick them up one morning.

That is when I saw my wife Susan on her knees giving a blow-job to another guy as he thrust himself in and out of her mouth.

Then I kind of lost track of the proper order of events.

At first I think I was wondering just what was happening -- if it was real or not -- then I just watched what was happening.

And all the time I was thinking about how much I had sacrificed over the past few years, trying to make her late father’s business into one of the most successful in the state. Working seven days a week, 14, 16 or 18 hours a day, just trying to make Susan proud of me.

In fact, those papers I had forgotten? I had been working on them until nearly 2 am, gotten about three hours sleep and then left to go to work.

I kept thinking this is the only woman I have ever loved and I had thought she loved me just as much, but now – NOW – now I didn’t know what to think.

When did Susan stop loving me?

When did she stop caring?

When did Susan start having affairs?

Finally, I made something happen.

Unfortunately, the something that I made happen landed me in jail.

My attorney later told me that what I should have done was grab a gun and shoot the little scrawny son-of-a-bitch.

“There ain’t a jury in Texas that would convict you of anything,” he opined.

I consider myself a very peaceable man and have never laid a hand on a woman in my life, but looking back, I have to admit there are times I almost wish I had kicked her in the jaw. From what I could see he didn’t have much to start with and that would have certainly taken care of the little he did have.

At the very least, it might have made me feel a little better.

As it was I grabbed the jerk by one arm and the back of his neck, marched him into the living room and threw him though a large plate glass window.

All the while Susan was screaming, “Don’t hurt him, don’t hurt him!”

Somehow I don’t think she was talking to the other guy.

Amazingly he wasn’t seriously injured – just a lot of little nicks and scratches.

He immediately started hollering for help and my wife was stumbling around, almost incoherently yelling at me.

So ... I stepped through what was left of the plate glass window...

... and broke his nose

... and knocked out a few teeth

... and broke his jaw

... and a few ribs

... then kicked him in the balls.

It was about that time that the police arrived.

They had a naked man in my front yard and a nearly naked woman standing on my porch.

Yet they arrested me for some reason even though I explained that this was MY house, that was MY wife and the naked guy was the scum who was trying to check her tonsils with his dick.

Damn cops.

My attorney tried to explain it to me.

“If you had just shot both of them or at least the guy,” he began, “they probably wouldn’t even have taken you in for questioning. Just taken your statement on the spot and characterized it as justifiable homicide, a crime of passion.

“However, beating the crap out of the pastor of the largest Baptist Church in town and one of the largest in the state ... well that was just a little too much. Especially since both arresting officers attend that church.”

Yes, the Reverend William “Billy” Thornton, son of the former governor of Texas and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Thornton, Texas was the man who was trying to polish the head of his dick in my wife’s throat. I’m not sure if his pathetic dick was even long enough to have reached her throat.

And yes, in case you are wondering the town is named after some of his ancestors.

As I mentioned his now-deceased father had been the governor of Texas at one time. His father’s brother had been a United States Senator from Texas.

The only good news – from my point of view – was that powerful people, and powerful families also tend to pick up powerful enemies. Such as the judge who set my bail at only $500.

Of course it didn’t hurt that I was a well-respected local businessman and member of most of the clubs in the town and county. And it probably helped that I was a disabled veteran and had received a Silver Star and Purple Heart while serving in Iraq.

The fact of the matter is I only spent about two hours in jail before my attorney arranged my bail.

I suppose that at some point I need to introduce myself.

My name is Dennis Osborne.

I had spent two years attending the local junior college in my hometown in North Carolina, earning an associate degree in business administration before enlisting in the Marine Corps.

Following basic training at Paris Island, S.C., I attended Advanced Infantry Training in Camp Lejeune, N.C., then followed that up by attending the 12-week Marine Armor Crew Course in Fort Knox, Ky., where I learned almost everything there was to know about tanks, from driving, loading, firing and basic maintenance.

Next came a tour of duty in Iraq driving a 68-ton Abrams tank. While in Iraq I continued my education, taking online courses and earning additional credits towards a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

I mentioned that I earned a Silver Star in Iraq, along with a Purple Heart. I was actually a little embarrassed about the Purple Heart.

Okay, a LOT embarrassed about the Purple Heart.

There really isn’t a nice way of saying this but one day some insurgents fired a rocket propelled grenade into our compound and I got hit by a piece of shrapnel.

In the ass.

I didn’t even know it at first. In fact it wasn’t until one of my buddies mentioned that it looked like I had some blood on the back of my pants that I reached around and found a small hole in my military utility uniform (called fatigues in the Army) and a small trickle of blood.

I reported to sick bay and they prepped me for “surgery.” I dropped my pants, and 30 seconds later they removed a tiny little fragment of metal from my butt. The metal was about one-third inch square.

They sprayed some antiseptic on it and covered it with a band-aide, then gave me a tetanus shot. The shot hurt worse than the wound.

To say that I took a lot of ribbing from my buddies would be something of an understatement.

Then one day about a month later we were all ordered to report for what we thought would just be a normal inspection. Turns out, in front of my whole platoon I was presented with the Purple Heart for getting wounded in the butt.

The following two months were pure hell.

I heard every possible joke, every comment, every ... well ... everything about my “condition.”

Every single day ... EVERY SINGLE DAY ... as soon as I climbed into my tank, there would be a pillow on my seat. A very fluffy pillow.

The ribbing didn’t stop until our compound was attacked one night. The Marine Corps prides itself on the fact that no matter what your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) is, at heart every Marine is a rifleman.

During the attack by a much larger force I grabbed my M-16 and with the help of my best friend, managed to take out a number of enemy combatants allowing the members of my platoon to safely withdraw until they could organize a counterattack.

Unfortunately my best friend was killed in the attack.

After I was awarded the Silver Star the ribbing pretty much died out.

But every day there was STILL a damn pillow on my seat!

As far as the disabled veteran part, well that actually occurred stateside after I returned from Iraq.

While attending a joint military exercise at the massive Army base at Fort Hood, Texas, I was riding in a military vehicle that blew a tire. The driver lost control, flipped the truck and I pretty much shattered my knee. Two of my buddies were killed in the crash.

A couple of operations later I could walk again, but will always have a limp and running and climbing into and out of tanks was not just difficult but virtually impossible.

The Marine Corps offered and I finally accepted a 30 percent disability.

One of the reasons I accepted the Marine’s offer of a disability was a young lady I met in Texas. From Fort Hood, I was airlifted to the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas for surgery on my knee.

There is a lot of (usually) good-natured inter-service squabbling between the Marine Corps and the Navy, but I will say this: The Navy is the best (and most expensive) damn taxi-service in the whole damn world. They take Marines where we need to go, feed us, get the hell out of the way when there is actually fighting involved, take us back home, and patch us up when we are injured!

Rather than subject me to a long ambulance ride the Navy actually sent an airplane to Fort Hood, to pick me up and fly me to Corpus Christi. Go Navy!

When I woke up in the recovery room on Sunday morning, following my first surgery, I thought I must have died and gone to heaven because I was looking at an absolute angel.

Her name, I later found out, was Susan Williams and she was a volunteer at the hospital while attending Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi where she was pursuing a nursing degree.

Susan was easily the most beautiful woman I had ever met and when I later learned she had been the first runner-up in the Miss Texas Beauty Pageant, I was not surprised.

Mere words really cannot describe Susan.

Oh, yes, you can say she was tall (5 feet, 10 inches), slender (120 pounds), long jet black hair, impossibly long legs, wonderful, compact figure (34-23-34) but that doesn’t really tell you much.

How do you describe eyes so sky blue they almost defied description? When I looked into her eyes the first time, I almost felt myself falling forward – and I was lying flat on my back in a hospital bed.

Jet black hair tells you the hair color, but it doesn’t tell you how her hair shined and caught the slightest breeze, whispering around her face until it was almost impossible not to reach out and gently push a few errant strands back into place.

The most perfect white teeth I have ever seen and lips that are so beautiful it seems almost to profane them by applying lipstick.

A smile that can take the breath away of anyone and dimples that are impossibly cute.

And a very slightly crooked nose that actually enhanced her beauty, rather than take away from it. It was obvious that at some time in the past she had broken her nose and it had not been set correctly.

To say that I was smitten would be like saying that Mount Everest is a fairly large hill.

My first words to her, before I knew her name or anything was: “Are ... are you an angel?”

And that wasn’t a feeble attempt at a pickup line. I seriously thought I must have died and woke up in heaven.

“No,” she laughed, “just a poor nursing aide.”

“If you are only a poor nursing aide then what do the nurses look like here?” I asked and yes, that was a slight attempt at a pickup line.

This time she laughed a little harder, then quipped with a huge smile: “Well, Debra is the head nurse and she is about two or three inches shorter than me and weighs about 200 pounds. Would you like me to get her for you?”

I think I told her that wouldn’t be necessary, but I was still very groggy from the anesthetic they had used to put me to sleep and apparently I immediately dozed back off.

When I woke up several hours later I was in a different room but this angel was still there.

“Are ... are you an angel?” I again asked, and she laughed and reminded me that I had already asked that question once.

I then remembered waking up earlier for a few minutes, and I introduced myself and she introduced herself and we shook hands – and continued to hold hands for several minutes.

I think I dozed off for a few minutes, but when I woke up again Susan was still holding my hand.

She explained that she was a nursing aide, while attending college and hoped to get into nursing full-time after college.

To be honest I let her do most of the talking.

Her Texas drawl was truly beautiful – just like she was. Plus I was still pretty groggy and would doze off, then wake up and doze off again.

A few hours later a nurse brought me some food and Susan helped me eat. In fact she actually pretty much fed me since I was still a little groggy.

After eating Susan told me I needed to get some sleep, but promised she would check on me the next day (Monday) after her college classes had ended.

At almost 1 pm exactly (1300 hours military time) Susan walked back into my hospital room.

To tell you the truth I had been wondering if I had dreamed about our meeting the day before. Was it really possible for someone to be that beautiful?

As soon as Susan entered the room I realized that not only was it possible, but if anything she was actually even more beautiful than I remembered.

Susan was wearing a sleeveless blouse with a deep V-neck that accented the gentle swell of her breasts. Susan wasn’t especially large up top but the low-cut blouse definitely displayed what she had in a very tasteful fashion.

When I saw her walking ... it was all I could do to keep from hyperventilating! Her blue jeans looked as though they must have been spray-painted on. I honestly don’t understand how she even got those jeans on they were so tight and hugged her backside so much.

I couldn’t help but remember an old Mel McDaniel tune which contains the line, “Lord have mercy, Baby’s got her blue jeans on.”

The jeans also accented her almost impossibly thin waist.

I don’t think she was wearing much makeup and believe me, she didn’t need it. Maybe just a slight light blue eye shadow which really brought out the incredible blue of her eyes and a hint of blush on her cheeks.

This was truly the most beautiful woman I had ever met.

We talked for hours that afternoon and evening. We quickly found out that we were both the only children in our families – no brothers or sisters.

I told her my father owned a small farm in North Carolina but also worked full time at one of the many, many furniture plants in the state.

I found out her father owned a large ranch but also owned a construction company that specialized in road building and paving.

I told her about growing up on that small farm in North Carolina.

She told me about growing up on that large ranch in Texas.

I told her about plowing fields and planting wheat, oats and soybeans and driving combines to harvest those crops, then about baling hay.

She told me about saddling horses and going for half-day or even full day rides across their ranch. That was actually how she had broken her nose, being thrown off a horse who had been spooked by a piece of paper fluttering in the wind.

A friend of mine in North Carolina owned several horses so I usually rode several times a month but Susan rode nearly every day. Well, at least until she started college.

We told each other about hunting, fishing and camping in our respective states. She loved hunting and fishing and dearly loved camping. As did I.

I told her about how my mother insisted that I take music lessons and that I used to play the piano and violin. And how much I hated those music lessons because they kept me from being outside on the farm.

She told me about how, almost from the time she could walk, her mother had insisted on Susan entering every beauty pageant in Texas and surrounding states while growing up – and how much she had hated every one. She won most of the pageants but still hated participating in them.

She wanted nothing more than to be a tom-boy, tending to and riding horses but her mother kept trying to make her a prim and proper “lady.” And her mother insisted that Susan also take piano lessons.

And how much she had always rebelled against that.

Until a year earlier when her mother died of cancer. She was apparently perfectly healthy but one day noticed a small lump in her breast. Within six weeks, she had died. The cancer had already spread throughout her mother’s body and by the time they found it, it was too late.

Susan had refused to enter any pageants in the last few years but her mother’s last request was that she enter the Miss Texas Pageant, and “try” to win.

“I know how much you hate these pageants and I don’t care if you win or not,” her mother said to Susan, “but I want you to really try ... really try for once.”

Her first runner-up finish in the Miss Texas Pageant, nine months earlier, showed how much she had tried but Susan said her lack of a real talent – other than raising horses – had hurt her chances with the judges.

“So many of the other girls could sing or dance so beautifully or play musical instruments,” she said. “I tried to play the piano but it was obvious that I hadn’t taken lessons in years.”

Susan had started to cry softly while relating this until I told her she had no reason to cry.

“I know your mother would have been very proud of you,” I told her, “you finished as runner-up and I am sure most of the other girls had spent several years just getting ready for this one pageant. You had, what, three months?”

She nodded her head, “Yes.”

“You did your mother proud,” I told her. “You tried, you gave it your all and that’s all anyone can ask.”

By now Susan was sitting on the edge of the bed, and leaned over and kissed me, very softly, very gently. I think Susan had the softest lips I had ever felt on a woman.

“Thank you for saying that,” she said.

“Are ... are you an angel?” I asked, with a big grin, “Because that’s the most heavenly kiss I’ve ever received.”

Susan and I both laughed then we heard something at the door.

Another nurse was there, and I noticed she looked at Susan a little strangely but really didn’t think much about it.

“Visiting hours are over,” she announced.

Susan got up to leave.

“Will you come back tomorrow?” I asked her.

Susan said she had classes in the morning but should be here around 1 pm.

Before she left I grabbed her hand.

“You ARE an angel,” I declared and kissed her fingers.

She laughed, then bide me goodnight.

I think I fell asleep in minutes.

At six the next morning I was woken up by a nurse that was almost scarier than any of my drill sergeants at Parris Island. She was about three inches shorter than Susan and weighed at least 200 pounds so I assumed this must be Debra, the head nurse.

Her name tag confirmed that and Debra immediately started yelling at me to get up, get out of bed and get ready for physical therapy.

“Physical therapy?” I asked. “I just had surgery two days ago!”

“And you should have started yesterday,” she declared. “The Marine Corps and the Navy don’t have time for you to be laying around on your skinny little ass!

“Now, can you use the bathroom by yourself ... or do I have to help you?”

Dracula, I mean Debra helped me to the bathroom but I did manage to do my business by myself.

Debra then had me set in a wheelchair and wheeled me to a torture chamber that would have been more at home with the Spanish Inquisition.

After two of the most incredibly painful, brutal hours I had ever experienced Debra pushed me back to my room where breakfast was waiting

Then I just waited. At 12, they brought me lunch, which for hospital food was actually quite good.

True to her word, at almost preciously 1 pm, Susan walked through the door.

To be honest, I really didn’t know quite what to expect today. I mean we had talked for hours and hours the previous day and at one point Susan actually kissed me. Just a very brief kiss on the lips – but still a kiss.

So ... what would today bring?

When Susan walked in, she walked over, grabbed my hand in both of hers ... then leaned over and gave me another kiss! Wow! I mean it was only a second or two longer than the one from yesterday and closed-mouthed (no tongue), but still a wonderful kiss!

“Are you ready to get out of her for a little while?” she asked.

“As long as you keep me away from Debra and the torture chamber you folks call physical therapy, then yes,” I exclaimed.

Susan laughed, then helped me into a wheelchair and pushed me outside into the sunshine.

We found a beautiful little secluded garden area on the hospital grounds and we just sat, holding hands and talking for hours.

By six pm, I had to use the bathroom so Susan wheeled me back to my room, then offered to “help” me if I needed assistance.

I blushed, Susan started laughing and I blushed even more.

I threatened to hit her with my crutches!

We were both laughing like crazy people now.

When I finally was able to conclude my business in the bathroom, Susan wheeled me to the hospital cafeteria where we ate our first meal together.

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a hospital cafeteria is not exactly the most romantic meal I have ever had.

Wait, let me revise that: With Susan, meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a hospital cafeteria might well be the most romantic meal I had ever had. It was certainly one of the most memorable.

My surgery had been Sunday morning and, other than Monday, every day that week was virtually a repeat.

Godzilla, I mean Debra would wake me up every morning at 6 am, then take me to the torture chamber for two hours.

Back in my room I would eat breakfast, read, sleep, read, eat lunch and then wait for Susan.

And every day, sometime after breakfast and well before lunch, I found out why people hate sponge baths.

Every day Susan would arrive at 1 pm, exactly.

And every day, when Susan walked into my room she would lean over and kiss me. And every day the kiss would last a little longer.

After the kiss Susan would then wheel me around the hospital, or around the grounds outside. We would sit and hold hands and talk – for hours.

After eating she would take me back to my room and help me into bed, then we would talk and talk and talk. Every night a nurse would come in and say that visiting hours were over.

And every night, before leaving, Susan would lean over and give me another kiss.

I never tried to grab her or prolong the kiss. I just let her kiss me.

By Thursday night, I felt her tongue press against my lips. I opened my mouth and we finally exchanged a deep kiss. I was still making no effort to hold her or force her against me. I just very lightly put my hands on her shoulders.

We actually kissed for several minutes before Susan pulled back and said, “Wow!”

“Yea,” I agreed, “that was really Wow!”

Susan just looked down at me for a few minutes with a very serious look on her face, then her face transformed into an absolutely gorgeous smile: “See you around one,” she said, then swayed out the door.

The next morning, Cerberus, I mean Debra woke me up, then wheeled me down for my usual torture session which seemed especially painful today. The rest of the day proceeded like normal, until it was time for lunch.

For a change, Debra brought me lunch herself and sat down beside the bed.

She watched me eat for a few minutes, then began:

“Are you going to hurt her?” she said.

Before I could even answer, Debra continued talking.

“Did you know that Susan normally only volunteers two or three days a week at the hospital? But she has been here every day this week – because of you.

“I don’t think I have ever seen anyone fall so completely in love before, so quickly. I can tell, just from watching the two of you that you also care for her.

“But do you understand that Susan is incredibly vulnerable right now?

“Did she tell you about her mother dying a year ago?”

I told Debra, that yes, Susan told me.

“Did she tell you that nine months ago, three days after the Miss Texas Pageant, she was brutally raped?”

I could literally feel the blood drain from my face and it was obvious to Debra that Susan had not told me.

“Oh, my God, no! She hasn’t said a word about it,” I croaked out.

“Since then, she hasn’t looked at any guy – until you.

“She talks about you all the time. About how confident and sure of yourself you are, yet how gentle and relaxed you are. About how you are always making her laugh. How easily you can laugh at yourself and tell stories about some of the dumb things you did growing up. And how intensely you listen when she is talking.

“Susan’s mother and I grew up together and I’m actually Susan’s Godmother. I helped her get this volunteer job, so she could start interacting with people again and was hoping that through helping others, she could also start helping herself,” Debra said.

“I could not love Susan any more if she were my own daughter,” Debra continued.

“I want to ask you again. Are you going to hurt her?”

“Oh God, Debra, I knew I was falling in love with Susan but not until now did I actually realize just how much I love her. How much I want to protect her. How much I want to hold her. How much I want to help her.

“I swear Debra, I will never intentionally hurt her!”

Debra and I talked for another 30 minutes and I began to realize that beneath that gruff exterior beats a heart of gold.

As 1 pm neared, Debra got ready to leave but advised me to not say anything to Susan about any of the things we had talked about.

“When she’s ready for you to know, she’ll tell you,” she advised.

I lay there for about 10 minutes, until I saw my door start to open. I knew it had to be Susan so I closed my eyes and pretended to be sleeping.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my ruse up very long. About 30 seconds after I heard Susan walk over to my bed, my lips began curling upward in a smile but I continued to keep my eyes closed.

“Hmmm,” I heard Susan say, “I’ve heard about the handsome prince waking Sleeping Beauty with a kiss but I not sure what to do with this situation.

“Oh, now I remember,” she said, “I’ve read about the beautiful maiden kissing the ugly frog who turns into a prince! I wonder if that will work here?”

Then she leaned over and kissed me on the lips.

I immediately opened my eyes and was looking directly into her eyes from a distance of about two inches.

We both immediately dissolved into laughter.

“Forsooth, fair maiden, it is I Prince Charming,” I declared, once I was able to stop laughing. “Your kiss has broken the evil spell. Are ... are you an angel?”

“Nay, Prince, not an angel but a simple maiden am I,” she said. “But my Lord, I had always heard that Prince Charming was supposed to be riding on a white horse, not laying around on a white hospital bed ... and was supposed to be much more handsome!”

We both began laughing again until Susan walked over to my closet and started taking out my khaki Marine uniform.

“Here, start getting dressed,” she ordered. “I am kidnapping you for the entire weekend.”

When I questioned her about my leaving the hospital, she explained she had already cleared it with both my doctor and with the head nurse, Debra. Suddenly it made sense why Debra had stopped by for our private conversation earlier today.

“In less than three months, I’ll be graduating with my nursing degree,” she continued, “and I can take care of you at the ranch as easily as I can here.”

I already knew that Susan had a near perfect 3.98 grade point average in nursing and would be graduating with honors.

She added that the doctor, even though he wasn’t actually supposed to, had given her a medical kit containing everything they thought she might need.

I think I groaned a little as I swung my injured leg across the bed.

“Are you okay?” Susan immediately asked, the concern evident on her face.

I assured her I was fine, just remarked that they were “especially sadistic” today during my morning physical therapy.

Unfortunately, my khaki trousers would not fit over the bandages on my knee so we had to settle for a pair of shorts and a comfortable shirt.

But before Susan put the uniform back in the closet, she started asking about the medals on the shirt. I explained what each meant including the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Not what had happened to get them but what the medals represented.

“You were wounded?” she asked. “Where?”

“In Iraq,” I answered.

“No, I mean where on your body?” she explained.

“In Iraq,” I again said.

No matter how many times she asked nor how many different ways, my only answer was always, “In Iraq.”

Finally, somewhat exasperated, she declared: “I promise you I will find out before the weekend is over!”

Four hours and about 150 questions later about the location of my wound, we finally arrived at her father’s ranch.

The drive itself was fascinating. The land was so different from anything I had seen before, even different from the land around Fort Hood and vastly different from my native North Carolina and Iraq.

I also found out that most Texans (including Susan) considered speed limit signs to be mere suggestions as to the minimum speed they should be doing.

I stopped looking at the speedometer after Susan reached 90. I mean, Yes, I have traveled faster in the past. But usually I was in an airplane at the time.

Initially after we left Corpus Christi the land was incredibly flat but several hours later we begin to enter rolling hills with immense pastures.

In North Carolina my father owned a little over 125 acres with 75 in fields and about 50 acres in forest. Of the 75 acres of land we plowed and planted, every year we tended half that. So, one year we would tend 37 acres and let the other 38 acres lie “fallow” for a year to rebuild the soil. The next year we would switch fields.

Our largest field was about 10 acres with five to seven acres being more normal. Almost every field was completely surrounded by forests with narrow farm roads being the only access from one field to another.

In Texas most of the pastures seemed to be larger than my father’s entire farm.

The further we drove the hilly the country became and the pastures were filled with lush, green grass.

When I remarked about that to Susan she explained.

“We’ve really had a lot of rain this year,” Susan said, “normally the fields aren’t quite that green and the grass isn’t that heavy.”

In North Carolina, we had huge oaks, and towering poplar and pine trees. In Texas, there weren’t many trees and most were rather ... well ... low and gnarly or scrawny. When I asked Susan about the trees she said they were “mesquite.”

By now we had been driving for about three-and-a-half hours so I asked Susan how much farther to her Dad’s ranch?

“Actually the land on both sides of the road is his,” she said. “We should get to the farmhouse in another 30 minutes.”

Wait I thought. We are already on her Dad’s property and it will still take 30 minutes to get to the farmhouse? And Susan wasn’t exactly driving slowly.

“Just how much land does your father own?” I asked her.

“I’m not exactly sure,” she said, “but I think it is about five thousand acres plus he leases some more.”

When I didn’t say anything Susan looked over at me then burst out laughing before reaching over and pushing my bottom jaw shut.

“Really Dennis, when your mouth is open like that it makes you look kind of goofy,” she said.

“Five thousand acres?” I finally manage to blurt out, “plus leases more?”

“Look, Dennis,” Susan began explaining, “you told me your father has 125 acres and you farm about 75 acres?”

I nodded yes.

“Let’s suppose that he could instantly, transfer all 50 acres of trees into pastureland, thick with the kind of grass you have up there. How many horses do you think he could raise on that 50 acres?”

I told her I wasn’t sure.

“Probably about two horses per acre. Depending on what size barn you have and how many stalls, possibly even three horses per acre. Let’s say 150 horses. Now you would never push it that much but it would be possible.

“In North Carolina and places like Kentucky you talk about horses per acre.

“Down here we talk about acres per horse. I have been driving northwest since leaving Corpus Christi. If instead we had stayed in the valley below Corpus Christi and driven straight west or slightly southwest the land is very different.

“It would be as hot as you know what with scruffy dry grass and trees that look like they are dying of thirst. Down there you would only be able to raise about one horse for every 10 acres.

“Around here my father can easily raise one horse per five acres but he never even comes close to that. In fact he usually tries to maintain that ratio of one horse per 10 acres.

“In North Carolina 150 horses would require 50 acres. Here with my father, 150 horses require 1,500 acres! And he has a lot more than 150 horses, plus cattle.”

When I didn’t say anything Susan again looked over and started laughing before reaching over and pushing my mouth shut for the second time. She again made a little remark about how “goofy” I was looking.

I stuck my tongue out at her!

She laughed, stuck her tongue out at me then Susan continued her ranching lesson.

“You also have to remember that even though we have had a lot of rain around here there are other places on the ranch where they have had no rain.

“So every year you have to consider that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the ranch land cannot be grazed for one reason or another. Plus another 10 to 20 percent simply never will be usable as grazing land since it is too rocky or hilly.”

I was still in shock at the thought of anyone owning 5,000 acres so the rest of drive kind of passed in a blur.

Finally though Susan turned onto another dirt road and in about five minutes we came onto a farm, filled with different buildings.

Susan stopped the car and started explaining what the different building were. Some, like the barns (there were three) I could have figured out myself but others, including one she called the dog house kind of threw me.

“Dog house?” I exclaimed, looking at the single story building that must have been well over 100 feet long.

Susan started laughing again and said that was what they called the bunk house in Texas where the hired cowboys used to live.

“Now of course most have their own homes and drive here every morning,” she said. Susan said her father had about 15 to 20 hired cowboys at any given time.

“A few actually live in the dog house but most just drive here,” she added.

Susan then resumed driving.

No sooner had we pulled up in front of a sprawling, two-story house than the door opened and out walked the biggest man I think I have ever seen.

I am not exactly small. I’m just a tad under six feet, and weigh about 190 pounds.

He had to be at least 6 feet, 6 inches and probably tipped the scales a little north of 300 pounds.

“Look Daddy,” Susan began in a little girl voice, “this Marine with an injured leg followed me home. Can I keep him?”

“A Marine? A Marine?” he began in a very gruff voice and very stern visage, “you brought a Marine onto our property? I thought I raised you better than that Susan?”

Then he smiled and stuck out a hand about the size of a medium turkey.

“Former Staff Sergeant John Williams, U-S-M-C,” he said, “Semper Fi!”

“Corporal Dennis Osborne,” I offered. “Please to make your acquaintance, Sir. Semper Fi!”

My hand was completely swallowed in his but much to my surprise he did not try to crush my fingers.

Mr. Williams grabbed my small bag, Susan handed me my crutches and I hobbled inside.

One of the first questions Mr. Williams (“Please call me John”) asked was about my leg.

Before I could even answer Susan jumped in to explain that I had been injured when the truck I had been riding in crashed during a training exercise.

“But Daddy I also know he has a Silver Star and a Purple Heart,” she said, “but he won’t tell me anything about those.”

John didn’t say anything for a few minutes but Susan and I could both see him turn slightly pale.

“Susan,” he finally began, “I have never told you this but I also have several medals I received in Vietnam – including the Navy Cross, the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. When a veteran doesn’t want to talk about his medals – well it usually means it is too painful for him to remember.”

By now John – big, big John – actually had tears running down his face.

Susan had been sitting beside me on the couch holding my hand but now she jumped up and ran over to her father and hugged him.

“I’m sorry Daddy, I never even thought about that. And I’m sorry I made you remember something you have been trying to forget.”

By now of course I am feeling terrible. John probably thinks I did something heroic that I don’t want to talk about and of course the truth – at least as it concerns the Purple Heart – is completely different.

“John, Susan, I think I need to explain something,” I began.

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