Ash wondered how he would fit in at this private college. It still amazed him that he was able to get into Rollins College with a scholarship! A full 4 year scholarship, no less. His father was able to petition the Board to offer his only son this great opportunity to go to this prestigious private college, all because his father believed in him. Ash couldn’t imagine what his father could have said, but whatever he said, it worked! And now, here he was, starting school. Even after a month of classes, Ashley didn’t know a soul, but he was going to get out there and make some friends. First stop-- The Caddy Shack! He read in the flier that it was where all of the students hung out.
Noon, kind of early, but here we go! Ash walks in and looks around and sees…a whole lot of strangers! Seems like everyone has someone to talk to, someone to hang out with, someone to help them belong. Everyone had someone, but Ash…he was flying solo! And he wondered, how was he ever gonna make this work? Orlando may only be 100 miles from Plant City, but it was a lifetime apart. Plant City was Ash’s hometown, where he grew up, where he worked part time since he was 12 years old at the family strawberry fields, earning enough to pay for his car and insurance AND help his parents out. They tried their best, but their fields never seemed to break even. Probably because Pops was too easy going, not much of a head for business, not great with the books and too willing to forgive debts and not collect when Cavenaugh Farms needed the revenue. Ash knew… someday!
Someday, after he gets his business degree, he was going to take over the business, turn the Farm into a profitable venture and use his business knowledge to turn it all around… for his family! Keep your eye on the prize, his Pops always said, and don’t let a girl turn your head—stay away from the girls!! As he looked around, Ash knew...that was going to be pretty easy, especially since he didn’t know a single person and everyone else seemed to know each other. Ash was sure—no chance for a love connection—need to “know” a girl before you can be distracted by one! Ash had no distractions…not a single one!
“Excuse me!” Ash looked up and realized he had bumped into this girl and her strawberry shake had spilled all over her pink t-shirt! Her shirt read, “Somebody Luvs Me in Texas!” Ash was looking at this blonde haired, blue eyed vision of southern hospitality. He didn’t know her name, but he knew one thing—he had to find out who she was! “I am so sorry! I didn’t see you there? If I had, I would never have bumped into you- I would never waste a good strawberry shake! I know what it takes to pick those berries!” Ash suddenly realized...that did NOT come out the right way! And he could tell- she was NOT amused! She turned up her nose and rolled her eyes and started to turn and walk away and then turned back and said, “You owe me another strawberry shake, and I expect you to get me one- NOW!” She was demanding and assuming and self-confident and condescending…who was this girl? And why did he love her already! Ash said, “I can do that, I can do that right now…just tell me your name, and I will get you your shake…I need to know your name!”
She turned to walk away then spun back around and said, “My name? You want to know my name? Once I tell you, your life will be changed forever! Are you ready for your life to change? Because once I tell you, it will never be the same, and you will never be the same—I can promise, you have never met someone like me…they don’t grow ‘em like this in Florida…you gotta go to McAllen,Texas to get a girl like this—and believe me, you could NOT get this girl, not in your wildest dreams…so once I tell you, your life as you know it…will be ruined because…you’re gonna want me, and you will never be able to get me…not someone like you! So, you tell me, Mister ”I can’t even see the forest for the trees as I bump into someone, spilling their shake all over them” nerd—Tell me, are you ready to have your life change? Cause once I tell you my name, you can’t go back to who you were!” “So??? So….you ready to ruin your life, Mr. Bigstuff? – I don’t think so!” Then she turned and stomped off …leaving Ash with his jaw dropped wide open—but he knew…his life was ruined, and he had to have that girl!