How We Met: June 2, 2012


Lee had an early morning golf outing with Regan Wright, Tyler Srygley and John Bloch on a Saturday, June 2, 2012.  Late as usual, he felt rushed and hurried to the first hole without warming up… never a good start to an 8 AM tee time.  A driver hooking into the woods, an approach slicing into the woods on the other side, several chunks of grass replaced, and finally a putter ceremoniously wrapped around the nearest tree.  The day did not start well to say the least.  His game got worse from there, but the day would hold something special for him to find.

Jessica’s morning started with some clarity after several weeks of mixed feelings.  She’d been contemplating leaving Dallas for Shreveport again to take a different job and be closer to home.   She’d prayed long and hard over the decision.  But something was different on this morning.  A welcomed phone call from her friend, Ashton Danna, inviting her over to the pool helped confirm her resolution.  Dallas was a place she needed to be.  She packed a bag but only for the pool and she was off to get some sun.

As the boys rounded the 18th, Lee had sworn off golf for good and wasn’t in his generally playful mood.  Noon quickly came and the round was over.  Easily his worst round ever.  The guys wanted to have lunch at the course, but he wasn’t having it.  Lee was heading home to go sit at the pool and have a drink.

Jessica arrives at the pool seeing Ashton and several other friends lounging on the chairs in the sun as the pool starts to fill up with people.  She enjoys the company and finds comfort knowing she’ll be able to grow these relationships into lasting friendships.  They relax, talk and just enjoy the day.

Lee pours a stiff drink into a plastic cup, grabs a towel and walks out to the pool.  Nowhere to sit, of course.  The apartment pool is very popular.  There looks to be a few people leaving and an open spot at the end of a long line of lounge chairs.  He politely sets his towel down to claim his spot.  The pool is pretty full, but he doesn’t care about that.  The iPod buds go into his ears and he’s off to his own little happy place trying to forget about golf.  A girl gets out of the pool and sits two lounge chairs away.  Lee notices her and pulls an ear bud out to make sure he hasn’t stolen their seating.  She replies “no” with a smile and they make small talk for a quick minute.  She, now known to be Ashton, goes back into the pool and another girl comes out of the pool and sits in the lounge chair next to Lee.  Again, he double checks his bold move of taking the lounge chair and she tells him their friends just left so it’s all his.  She has the greatest smile and a wonderful southern accent.  Her name is Jessica.  Lee keeps the conversation going, quickly finding out she’s in banking as well.

After some brief career advice from Lee (which Jessica did NOT ask for), it’s time for them to go.  A last line from Lee, “Well if you ever need any more banking advice, I’m in apartment 185.”  Jessica and Ashton walk towards the gate to, what Lee assumes, will be the last time he ever sees her.

Ashton grabs the gate to leave the pool and traps Jessica in.  She recognizes the last words Lee said to her and tells Jessica that he was trying to get her number.  Ashton fishes out a used Sweet ‘n Low packet she was using as a bookmark and wrote Jessica’s name and number on it.  She said she wouldn’t let Jessica leave until she went and gave Lee her number.  Jessica took off her sunglasses and walked back over to the lounge chairs.  Lee perked up as she approached, assuming she must have forgotten something.  He wants to ask her if she’s left anything behind, but he’s immediately mesmerized by her eyes and can’t say a word.  Jessica hands him the Sweet ‘n Low packet.

Lee still has the Sweet ‘n Low packet in his wallet to this day.


Why “Horn Cotton Tales”

Well this blog is simply going to be a running storyline about a child and her journey in this life as seen through her parents eyes.  So “Horn” and “Tales” – done.  As for “Cotton”, that’s a much harder topic for me to write about.  My father, Lee Horn, Sr., who lost his battle to cancer July 5, 2014, was a cotton man.  I asked my beautiful wife, Jessica, about keeping his company name in some way.  As we discussed back and forth different site names, she suggested Horn Cotton Tales.  To me, it’s a touching tribute of the circle of life.

On Father’s Day 2014, I told my Dad that he was going to be a grandfather to our child, Emerson Kate.  On Father’s Day 2014, he told me he had maybe 6 months to live, which put their paths to likely cross for a short time.  At least, that’s what I prayed for.

My father didn’t make it to see his granddaughter born, but there won’t be a spec of him missing in her life.  As my father taught me, so shall I teach my daughter.  He visits me in dreams, I have his voicemails saved, he watches over all three of us (and our two devil cats) from Heaven, and, of course, his advice both good and bad lives inside me.

So this blog is our tribute to the circle of life, to our daughter coming January 30, 2015 God-willing, and to all those who love us for the family life we’re creating together.