The prince kissed his new bride. Then setting her upon his white horse, he swung up behind her. Off they rode, into the sunset, to make their own happily-ever-after.
Anna closed the book and caressed the picture of the happy couple on the cover. She wiped moisture from one eye. At twenty-four, she had yet to meet her Prince Charming.
Clutching the book, she moaned. That news report last night about Prince Randolph arriving in Wisconsin had triggered her own happily-ever-after dreaming. Especially since the reporter speculated Prince Randolph might be looking for an American bride.
Anna sighed. He was handsome. And his little country, Anatopan, north of Genovia, looked heavenly.
Poof! Glittery chimes and fairy dust flashed in her bedroom. Even more amazing was the middle-aged woman in a shimmery blue ballgown, straightening her crown and waving a wand.
“Hi. I’m a Fairy Godmother. Ready for something special?”
“Are you for real?”
“Well, I ain’t fried chicken.”
Anna waved the book in her hand. “I want this—”
“That’s not how it works. Do you have boots?”
Anna blinked. “Boots? Don’t you mean heels or glass slippers?”
“Not for this ride. Your flip-flops must go.”
Anna admired the cowboy boots, then pointed to her clothes. “What about my t-shirt and shorts?”
Fairy Godmother tilted her head. “You’re right. Try this.”
The jeans, blue plaid shirt, and cowboy hat fit perfectly. “Sweet! Am I riding off into the sunset on a white horse?”
“Something like that.” Fairy Godmother scratched her chin. “What do you drive?”
“It will have to do.”
No! Her Prius was no match for a Cinderella carriage.
Fairy Godmother waved her wand toward the window. Poof! “Your GPS is set. Now get moving.”
Anna motioned to her attire. “This wasn’t what I had in mind.” Wasn’t she supposed to have a resplendent gown?
A wise smile crossed Godmother’s face. “Trust me, you look perfect. I’ll meet you there.”
Soon, Anna arrived at a rodeo-like arena. Fairy Godmother, now dressed in western garb, met her at the ticket booth.
“Follow me.” Godmother rushed Anna through a service gate.
Dusty and hot, Anna heard lots of cheering, but saw no horses or princes. Fairy Godmother had made a mistake. This was not her wish.
“Ever drive a tractor?”
Anna shrugged. “Just on Grandpa’s farm.”
“Piece of cake.” Fairy Godmother gestured to the massive tractor at the far end of a track. “Just put the pedal to the metal and ride it to the end. Here’s your ear protection. This beast gets loud.”
“What?” Anna’s stomach flopped. “I can’t drive that thing.” The wheels were taller than she was.
A young man stepped up. “You’re next, Tractor Girl.” He guided her to the ladder.
She climbed up and sat on the tractor seat, surrounded by knobs and buttons. Where to begin?
The man pointed over her shoulder, his breath tickling her neck. “This is the throttle. When the light turns green, pop the clutch, and give it all ya got. You’ll do fine.”
The announcer bellowed, “And now, for the final tractor pull of the day, let’s hear it for Tractor Girl.”
Sound of cheering and applause caused her heart to pound. All the attention in the grandstands was directed at her. This was her moment? Thanks a lot, Fairy Godmother!
The red light turned yellow, then flashed green.
Turning the throttle, she revved the engine, took her foot off the clutch, and stepped on the gas. The tractor lurched forward and groaned. Slowly it covered the track. One length, then two. She pressed the gas, determined not to let it stall. Steadily, it covered ground.
The vehicle began to slow. She felt it losing power as it dug into the dirt. The wheels spun. Acrid black smoke poured from the exhaust, while her knuckles on the steering wheel whitened. Several loud pops, then the engine died, and all was quiet.
Oh no! Had she broken the tractor?
The announcer screamed into the mike, “Pulling a weight of 65,000 pounds, Tractor Girl has set a new record.”
Cheers erupted from the crowd.
The cowboy she’d met earlier returned. “You were great!”
“But I broke the tractor.” She took his hand to steady her descent.
“No matter. You handled it like a pro.”
Glancing at his face, Anna pulled back. He looked familiar.
He grinned. “I’m Randy. Prince Randolph to most.” He reached his hands around her waist and caught her from the final step of the tractor.
“Did you really come to America to find a bride?”
He held her hand as he led her to the grandstand stage. “No, I came to find an American girl with a sense of adventure. You know how the song goes—to be happy, a man needs a truck, a woman, and a dog. Thought I’d come find out if it’s true. I have a truck, and if you’re interested, I’ve arranged a date for tonight. Then all I’d need is a dog.”
Anna chuckled as she crossed the stage to claim her trophy. The announcer handed her the golden tractor, and she held the prize high as the crowd cheered and stomped.
Fairy Godmother headed in their direction, carrying a puppy. “Look what I found under the stands.”
Prince Randolph took the tiny ball of fluff into his arms. The pup licked his face and snuggled against his chest. Grinning, Prince Randolph tipped his ten-gallon hat at Fairy Godmother. “You created a magical day. Thank you.”
“Fairy Godmother, this wasn’t at all what I expected, but it sure was fun.” Stroking the puppy, Anna grinned at Prince Randolph.
“Oh no, Dearie. This wasn’t your wish.” Waving her wand at Prince Randolph, she winked and whispered. “I’m his fairy godmother.”
When not writing the stories of her heart, Ruth can be found biking with her husband, sharing s’mores around a campfire with her family and friends, or snuggling with a book.
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