Day 04... a picture of your favorite memory

I have a few Favorite memories..
but, this is one of my favorites of all..
This is Love Valley, NC.  This is the first Official Date that my cowboy and I went on..  I came back from the world championships with poor maggie, put her back on a trailer and hauled her to North Carolina after school one friday...
It was Halloween weekend.  and it rained all weekend long.. but, we still trail rode in the rain.
the town was awesome, old western town, not allowed to bring motorized vehicles.. Only horses, and you have to hitch them outside.
In this picture you can see maggie on the bottom, and Titan right next to her, standing in the rain, tied out front of a bar called the silver spur on halloween night :)  we had a big time, dancing and watching all the costumes :)

On another note... last night sucked...
I got to looking at all my loans from school..

Stafford Loans Unsub - $129983.30
Stafford Loans Sub -     $122057.70
grand monthly total of $2,788.76 as a payment.

Sallie Mae for your cost of living expenses
51,363.31.. It wasn't that much... it just had almost 20k of interest charges since december... 371.08 is that payment.

Ed Financial?  has something to do with stafford but apparently I owe them $809.31 at 6.8% for 18 mos.

Perkins... $6800.00 at 10 years with a 5% interest rate and a payment of $72.13 a month....

all brings me to a grand total of $311,013.62

wow.... no one ever told me that...
So then.... I called my school pretending to be a "prospective new student"
and the lady said "oh, well the full program is on about 150 to 175 thousand, plus living expenses....
what she failed to say.. is the fact that they 90% of the time, hold you there playing their red-tape game, fail you a lot, hold you back and change times of classes so they overlap and you can't move forward..
hold you back in undergrad because you didn't have that 1 credit of english that we looked over when we told you all you had to take was biology and organic chemistry... the lab fees, parking fees, price to take national boards, and the board reviews.  Cost of books...

If anyone reading this thinks that it's great to get a higher education.. think twice about it...

a loan that big in real life.. means i could have had a brand new corvette or ferrari or a big fancy high rise apartment building looking over central park... and if I would have gotten a loan for that, I would have had to show income, put down about 75 thousand and signed my life away to get the loan....
then at least I would have something tangible to show for the money...

what do I have now? nothing... just a heavy heart, a full brain, stress, grey hair and no job.

I mean I could see if I felt like I got my moneys worth, but I didn't...
I was stressed I hated my life, I hated what I was doing, I hated where I lived, Hated the fact that NO ONE would help you in ANYWAY at that school...

the only thing I have from there is mountain of regret.. and the word Doctor in front of my name...

but, My friend Mel seems to find good in a pile of crap so she said.. and I quote

" Yeah, but dude.... you're a Doctor!!  That's bad ass.
 And you had an awesome wedding, you're a marine's wife... and a sweet little
 farm with some horses...

 Go back and read that awesome article I wrote about your wedding... that'll
 make you smile.  ;)  "

She's right.. she really is..
and speaking of her article... She wrote an awesome article about our wedding.. and the magazine said "more pictures and less words"  so we had to butcher it so they would publish it... but, here is the original thing....

When I met Tara “Sweet Tea” a few years ago, I had no idea that one day I would be attending her beautiful wedding.  I had been invited by Scott to check out a Georgia CMSA shoot in Gainesville.  He then introduced me to Tara and her dad Tony.   We soon became fast friends, sharing a love of horses and all things of Southern goodness.  

Tara is a Southern Belle in every sense of the word.  She is like most Georgia girls I know, being born and raised in Georgia, she “has fire and ice in her blood. She can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea, darlin'.”  She first started out riding show jumpers, tall hot-blooded Thoroughbreds, asking them to stretch beyond their limits, pushing towards tall vertical jumps in double and triple combinations.  

One day, Tony saw Cowboy Mounted Shooting mentioned on a local hunting and fishing web forum.  He talked Tara into it and they decided to give it a try.  A total difference in all ways of what she was accustomed to.  The attire, the tack, the horses...all new and exciting.  

Like most, they practiced and got the feel for it from friend’s horses and guns, before trying it on their own, with their Arab gelding, Dakota.  Tara fell right into the cowboy shooting with her competitive spirit and passion for riding.  She’s always been a fiery girl, with a love for the outdoors, hunting, fishing and generally just being the best at whatever she does.  

Even though I’ve only attended a shoot once or twice, I know the family feel.  A love of horses and all things cowboy tend to draw people together.  With the cook outs and companionship after the events, in the cool evenings...she had become friends with a tall cowboy from South Carolina, Clint “Frosty”.  He had noticed her as well, and they soon were “running” into each other at various times.

Clint had been a shooter for a couple years before he met Tara and they began dating.  He’s a former Marine, and a native to South Carolina.  Currently he owns and runs Newberry Farm and Feed in Newberry, SC.  

On July 4th, 2009, they celebrated Independence Day surrounded by friends after the event in Georgia.  They laughed and danced the night away with their fellow shooters.  This led to them dating and becoming more of a couple, as they attended the same local shoots. Things were tough at first, Tara was still living in Marietta, GA finishing up her doctorate degree, while Clint was living in South Carolina running his feed mill.   However, this relationship was meant to be and no distance could come between them.

As things became more serious between Tara and Clint, they began looking for a farm to call their own.  They’re both down home, easy-going kinda people, that do not need much to make them happy.  After looking at several places that either needed too much work, or weren’t appropriate for horses, they finally found the 250 acre Cromer dairy farm in May of 2010.  It was a real fixer-upper, but with a lot of hard work, they’ve made it their own and named their ranch Il Cavallo.

Tara took an internship in Augusta, GA to be closer to their home and in December 2010, she graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic.  Then she was able to move permanently to their farm.  They have a fully working ranch with laying hens, a growing herd of beef cattle, twenty-three horses and three new foals born this year.

Tara has always been a hard-worker and loved the simple life, this ranch is right where she belongs.  She was there pulling barb wire and doctoring calves, right alongside her cowboy.  They both knew they had found their something special in each other and on April 2, 2011, Clint proposed.  At a family dinner with her parents, Clint pulled out the ring and said he could not wait any longer to make Tara his wife.  He slipped a beautiful diamond on her finger and she said yes.  

They discussed dates, she first thought of October, a nice cool fall evening.  However, they were too excited to wait.  They picked a date near July 4th, their official anniversary.  The Saturday after the July 4th would be July 9th, 2011...which also happens to be Sweet Tea Tara’s birthday.  Maybe she was trying to help Clint out with remembering the date!  

Soon the plans started.  They walked their farm, hand in hand and picked a hill in the horse pasture, overlooking their land.  Where better to signify the start of their new lives together, than the very farm they had worked and grew to love.

As any young lady excited to be married, Tara jumped right in with picking a dress, flowers and a cake.  Her colors were gold sunflowers and red roses.  She made her own center pieces from mason jars and sunflowers.  The reception was held in the equipment barn, with pine shavings covering the floor and tables set up for the guests.  She also picked a simple yellow cake adorned with fresh sunflowers.

Over one hundred friends and family members arrived for the ceremony, many dressed in their best western attire.  As the guests were seated and ready, the wedding party started the processional down the aisle.  The wedding party consisted of Felicia, Sharon, and Sandy as Tara’s bridesmaids.  While the groomsmen consisted of Robert, Bobby, and Jim.  They were followed by flower girl Kayla and a young cowboy Brayden as ring bearer.  

Eric officiated the wedding and accompanied Clint down the aisle to the front to await his bride.  

Tara, with her flower girl Kayla and the father of the bride, Tony, arrived in an old John Deer corn wagon pulled by a team of stout Belgians with sunflowers in their mane.  Tara hitched up her dress and stepped out of the wagon like a true cowgirl.  Her daddy offered his left arm to escort his daughter and tucked under his right arm...a double barrel shotgun.  Just in case!  

They approached the alter, where Eric asked, “who gives this bride?”  Then Tony handed over his little girl to the tall cowboy in the black cowboy hat.  

Eric told the story of this cowboy and his cowgirl in a series of lyrics from old country and western songs.  It made the ceremony light and fun, just like the bride and groom.  Just as Eric began to ask if anyone objected, shots rang out and a cowboy galloped up on a horse.  He hollered out, “I object!  I still love her!”  As the cowboy holstered his gun and removed his sunglasses, he quickly realized... this was not his former love...”Melissa?  Sorry, wrong wedding!”  He quickly spurred his horse to gallop away as Tony stood up and fired his shot gun.  The cowboy was played by Mike Lewallen, and it was a last minute idea by Tony that just had to be included.

As the laughter of the guests subsided, Eric said, its time to get down to business.  He led a prayer, an exchange of vows promising forever and rings signifying the circle of love.  After, what I’m sure seemed forever to Clint, he was finally able to kiss his bride.  Eric announced them as Mr. and Mrs. Clint, then they walked arm and arm back down the aisle, together.

The wedding party followed and they gathered at the wagon wheels and hay bales, the entrance to the wedding, where they stood together and raised their pistols in the air for a six-round salute to the newlyweds.  

Following the ceremony the guests were treated to a Bar-B-Que dinner, catered by Maurice’s BBQ.  A feast of pulled pork, beef brisket, cole slaw, green beans, macaroni and cheese, Carolina hash with rice and cold slices of watermelon.

When Tara and Clint were announced for their entrance, they began their first dance as husband and wife, to Hank Williams Jr., singing “The Blues Man.”  Tara and her father Tony, danced to “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, then Clint and his mother Lanell followed up with a dance to, Willie Nelson’s, “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

They danced and partied all night surrounded by their closest friends and family members.  Early the next day Tara and Clint headed out, accompanied by Eric and Sharyl for a week long Princess cruise to Alaska.  They all enjoyed fishing, panning for gold, visiting beautiful cities and viewing some magnificent mountains and even saw some whales.  Not the typical things you see here in the south, that’s for sure!  

Tara and Clint are looking forward to continuing their lives at their Il Cavallo ranch.  Tara is also excited to open her chiropractic practice in downtown Newberry, SC.  Be sure to wish them a congratulations the next time you see them at a shoot, because this couple has something special that nobody else has.

Written by Melissa Gibson


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