As my husband, Marty, was getting into his truck last weekend to head to our lake place, he stopped and turned around to face me. I thought he might be about to kiss me goodbye again, but he had a very serious look on his face. He placed his hands on my shoulders and took a deep breath before speaking.
“Now, Julia…you have to promise me you won’t cheat on me while I’m gone. Do you promise?”
I immediately knew what he meant and quickly unpuckered my lips before replying.
“Of course I promise not to cheat, Marty. But do YOU?”
“Absolutely I promise. Do YOU?”
“Do you promise not to cheat even if some of your buddies come to the lake and try to get you to do it? I know you’ll want to…especially after midnight on Saturday.”
“Julia, I won’t even be awake after midnight on Saturday!”
“Still…you could set an alarm. You could stay up late partying with them and then you could become weak. You have to solemnly swear you won’t cheat. Do you?”
“I solemnly swear. Now you swear.”
I took a deep cleansing yoga breath…”I swear.”
“Okay then. Have a good weekend.” He kissed me one more time and got into his truck and started backing down the driveway. I could feel my resolve melting before he turned the corner of our street, but I shook my head and repeated my vow not to cheat on him as I walked inside.
I know this sounds bad, but it’s not what you may think.
Marty doesn’t have a bevy of beautiful lake ladies sitting by the phone awaiting his call to beckon them over, and I don’t have a stable of fine looking fellows pawing at the ground and praying for me to call them.
No…our vows not to cheat are all about our latest passion, a television show called 1883! This is a mini-series that tells the tale of a family called Dutton who traveled across the country by horse and wagon from Tennessee in 1883 to settle on some land in Montana that grew in acreage over the years to become one of the biggest working ranches in the state. The series is actually a prequel to another hit show called Yellowstone, which is about how the Dutton family acquired the land and what they have to do to keep it.
We’ve had a huge number of our friends who have suggested we watch Yellowstone so we finally did, although we’re very late to the party. Yellowstone is in its fourth season so we had to binge watch just to catch up with everyone else. Now… we are totally OBSESSED with it!
Since it took us so long to get on the Yellowstone bandwagon, we had to order the DVDs of the first three seasons. When it came, we literally watched all three seasons in a weekend. We never got out of our pajamas, and we lived on popcorn and chocolate.
A few months ago, the studios announced the series writer, Taylor Sheridan, had written and produced this 1883 prequel to Yellowstone, and the fans, including us, went crazy! There are fan clubs and fan pages on every social media for both shows, and I joined as many as I could. Once 1883 aired, with mega stars like Sam Elliot, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill in lead rolls, the first five episodes could be binge–watched, and then it became a weekly Sunday night show.
I haven’t looked so forward to Sundays since I was a little girl and we got a color television to watch Bonanza and Walt Disney! The fan pages have become an international book club of sorts and people are verrrrrry serious about these fictional characters. There were discussions about every aspect of the show from the costumes and scenery to the hair styles of the actors. It’s been a crazy, wild, and wonderful ride to have something to get so invested in and to distract us from what’s going on in the real world. There were horse thieves and bandits, tornados and droughts, and always the threat of being attacked by wolves or bears or any creature that could survive the wilderness.
There was one scene where a little girl gets bitten by a rattler as she goes off to pee that STILL haunts me! (And has me cautiously checking out the bathrooms before I sit down, too!) There were rivers to cross, cows to herd, and mouths to feed. And, as in any good show, amid the hardships of the wagon train, audiences found people to root for and love.
The most beloved person in the cast of characters was sweet young Elsa, played beautifully by Isabel May, and the entire story was told from her viewpoint and through her eyes. In the next to the last episode, during an Indian attack, she was shot through the stomach with an arrow but didn’t die. The Indian war party mistakenly thought the pioneers had attacked, raped and killed their families while the men were hunting. Even after being shot with the arrow, Elsa told them who really killed their families and likely saved the lives of the remaining travelers. Her wounds were tended to by several of the pioneers but her chances of survival were bleak.
For the following week, EVERYONE was talking about if Elsa lived or died. We were all giving our theories about how she could survive. We were grasping at straws and hoping against hope that her youth and strength would pull her through. I’d be willing to bet there were even prayer groups begging God (or the writer) to save her.
But we wouldn’t know until early Sunday morning when the last episode dropped.
THIS is the episode Marty and I promised not to watch without each other.
I’ve sat through football games, televised and in person, and he’s gone to stage plays, even a few musicals, with me during our almost 18-year marriage and that in itself is love because neither of us like what the other one adores. We’ve had good times, wonderful times, sad times, and bad times. But through it all, waiting to watch this last episode of 1883 together…that may be the biggest “I love you” we’ve ever said to each other! As Robert Browning said… “Come grow old along with me… the best is yet to be.”
Maybe there’s a season two!
I’m just saying…