Mack Commandeers the Blog: The Beginning | McGowan Images Blog


Mack Commandeers the Blog: The Beginning

I’m going to tell you a story today, and it’s going to be mostly words. I’ll share a picture right up front to amuse you, and maybe entice you into reading this disaster of a post. Also, click the links. They’re worth it 😉

Chelsea and Mack circa 2004, roughly 6 months after they started dating

Eight years ago today, Chelsea and I had our first night-time date. But that’s not where the story begins.

In the spring of 2004, I enrolled in classes at Tarleton in my traditional late fashion. I could’ve registered earlier, but I didn’t. I was a senior (the FIRST time I was a senior…), and being “on top of things” just wasn’t how I rolled. So after missing the first two days of classes because I wasn’t registered for them yet (sorry Mom!), I sauntered in to the Humanities building for my 11am Logic class. I’m not going to say “I saw her… And I just KNEW!”, because that’d be a lie. There was a cute redhead in the class, but there were cute girls in a lot of my classes. But over the next couple of weeks, I discovered there was a cute, smart, funny, engaging redhead in this particular class. And I moved up 3 rows to sit next to her.

We bonded by making fun of the most illogical logic professor in the history of teaching, and because we always finished our tests early, periodically had time to kill after class. We talked about family, church, and the ridiculousness of some of our classmates. We flirted. But I didn’t make a move… Not yet. As a guy who was pretty accustomed to being BRUTALLY shot down when he asked a girl out, I figured it was best to hold out until the end of the semester, so that if (WHEN) I embarrassed myself, I at least had the summer break to not have to look at this girl three times a week. But she had other ideas.

Right before spring break, after an especially easy test, we walked out of class at the same time (early) and she looked at me, matter-of-factly, and said: “Do you intend to eat lunch today?” Uh… yeah… Fat guys don’t skip meals. “Then you can take me to lunch.”

Direct, right?

And it worked… We hopped in my car– I was rocking a ’91 Ford Tempo, and I could see she was disappointed. My preferred ride, the ’72 GTO convertible, had stayed at the house that day.

Yes, the same man CAN drive both of these cars.

I try to make it up to her by pointing out that it had air conditioning, and asking her where she’d like to eat. When she mentioned a Chinese place that I’d had a particularly rough experience at (you can only ask me about this event in person. Telling the story online is libel, even if it IS true!) I sucked it up and we went anyhow. After an amazing 3-hour lunch, this girl GRABS THE TICKET! I’m like… What the heck are you doing, lady?!? This isn’t how this works… But she had the perfect response. “This way, you’ll owe me another lunch,” she said with a mischievous grin… This girl will be the death of me.

So we keep having lunches, and I keep making her late to work by taking too long. And she doesn’t care. And it’s awesome. Then she calls one afternoon, and we’re chatting away, like normal, and out of nowhere she asks me: “Do you intend to ever take me out on a date, like, at NIGHT?” I’m embarrassed. It hasn’t really occurred to me that “night time” is when people have “dates,” I’m just loving the time I get to spend with her. So, of COURSE I want to take her on a real date. I mean, duh, right? We settle on that Friday evening, fun times at the carnival that’s in town.

This time I take the GTO. I go to pick her up, and it’s weird. I mean, nothing is wrong about it, but I drive out to Morgan Mill, where she lives with her parents, to get her. And I meet the parents, who are having dinner. Mom seems nice enough, but Dad hits me with this question that caught me SO off guard, I’ll never forget it. “What time will you have her home?”

This isn’t a weird question. In fact, in retrospect, if nobody asked me that question, it would’ve been a bad sign. But I’ve been away from home for 4 years at this point, and it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been asked that question. I stumbled, and eventually found my answer. “When do you WANT me to have her home?”

It was the right answer, I think.

Our original plan was to hit the carnival while it was in town, but it was raining… Laaame. So we can that, and decide to get your basic “dinner and a movie” in Stephenville, since we have plenty of time to do that and make it back by the 10pm curfew her dad gave me 😉 We have a delightful dinner at Pastafina (she had fettucini alfredo, I had baked tortellini), and walk outside to see… The rain stopped. And the carnival going. So being the impulsive kids we are, we run across the street and buy tickets and start riding! We ride the Gravitron, the ride that spins around and sucks you to the wall, then we headed over to the Kamikaze. You see where this is going.

For those new to the Kamikaze, half way through the ride, it reverses direction and hurtles you toward your death in the opposite direction. For us, this meant backwards, and I can’t say that either of us were handling it very well. I recall looking to my left at one point and seeing Chelsea turning this lovely shade of avocado, and that’s when panic set in for both of us. She tried to hold it in, but eventually her dinner just forced its way out. Now, typing this eight years later, I’m laughing. Heck, every time I tell the story I’m laughing. But right then, NOBODY was laughing. We walked, slowly, to Hastings to clean up a little bit. On the way, I quote Wayne’s World… the bit where Garth feels like he’s going to vomit every time he sees Donna Dixon. She’s unamused. She spends what seems like 3 weeks in the bathroom as I browse used CD’s, nervously eyeballing the door to make sure she doesn’t try to escape. I told her dad I’d bring her home, so I didn’t want her bailing on me!

Eventually she comes back out, and the green tone of her face has been replaced by the redness of crying and embarrassment… I feel AWFUL, but I know if I just take her straight home, it’s all over. So I’m like “No way, man, let’s just go watch a movie at my place.” Of course, once we get there, she has to borrow some of my clothes to change into. Clearly, I was much smaller then. So there, on my $65 garage sale couch, with a tub of Hot Tamales candy between us, we watched probably 80 minutes of Finding Nemo before I had to take her home (10:00 curfew, remember…).

She tells the story of walking back in to her house after I drop her off, and her mom noticing she’s not in her own clothes and raising an eyebrow. “IT WASN’T THAT GOOD OF A DATE, MOM!!!”

  1. Bethe says:

    Your first date story will always rank among my very favorites. I’ve had some bad first dates, but I didn’t puke in any of them. Glad that little mishap led to the making of a dynamo team!

  2. Carina says:

    awww, you guys have a great beginning story!

  3. Mary Marantz says:

    this is PURE amazingness!!!! LOVE you guys!


  4. Natalie says:

    I was giggling and smiling at my screen. Sorry about the bad ride experience but otherwise a lovely story!

  5. 🙂 This is a great story! Sounds like you didn’t miss a thing! We all have one or two bizarre stories about first dates… Mike and I have plenty… but they all work out for the better! Love you guys! Aunt Marla

  6. Chelsea Hutchens says:

    What a fun story 🙂 Glad you wrote it!

  7. Liesa says:

    If anything, this was certainly a memorable date! I love the directness Chelsea had. Haha, I don’t think she’s lost it either. Can we hear more Mack and Chelsea sagas, please?

  8. Emily says:

    Love this story! I giggled and smiled the whole way through. Today is the 3 year mark of my first date with Chad, but our first date story is not near as good as y’alls.

    Happy “First Date” Anniversary!

  9. Misty says:

    Holy WOW that picture of you two ADORABLE kids is so great, brings back memories!!! And what an epic first (official) date tale…just proves that love WILL find a way! 😉 Thanks for sharing, Mack!

  10. MaryAnn says:

    As one direct chick to another, I love this story. Are you still making her sick, Mack??? Lovesick, I mean??? 🙂

  11. The Nan says:

    I remember so well when Chelsea started talking about this guy at school…
    Yes, Mack, you gave the absolutely perfect answer when Dad asked what time! We liked you and respected your upbringing from that moment forward!

    We are glad you weren’t scared off by Chelsea’s directness!! We love you.

  12. Mike says:

    Mack, I am SO taking notes from your life lessons. 😉 I absolutely loved this post. You both are so real. L’amour. Here’s to many more years of happiness for McG! (The last line…so perfect, Chelsea. Total LOL moment over here!)

  13. Kevin says:

    I almost spit water all over my computer at the “fat guys don’t skip lunch” line!!! The GTO is bad ass, you two are just adorable in the picture, and I think your first date story is priceless! Plus I LOVE the total Wayne’s World part!

  14. Ambo says:

    Even though I know this story, heard it forever-I still love it. You guys are so awesome. Love you!

  15. Nikki Yates says:

    I just adore the story! Thanks for sharing!

  16. bobbileigh says:

    Love this story, thanks so much for sharing.

  17. francine says:

    this was great! i love hearing couples’ love stories!!

  18. Emma says:

    Good ol’ Stephenville! 🙂 That is a fantastic story! Thanks for sharing!

  19. RamG says:

    Greatness. Thanks for sharing your love story!

  20. Tiffany says:

    I was hoping that link would somehow lead to Clifford.

  21. Nicole says:

    I LOL’d! Great story!

  22. Lynne says:

    How special – not everyone has such a fun story to tell. Great read – you guys are great photographers AND great writers!

  23. Abby says:

    Reading this at work turned several heads…. mainly because I was laughing so hard. So, then…. all the nurses that I work with have now read it. This is amazing! When you two write a book together, please remember the little people. liiiike ME!!! Love you two!

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