by Cathy Kimes

I was very fortunate to be hired by Southern Pacific in Denver in 1995. As a divorced single mother of three, I needed a good secure job, and SP gave me that. I also had been taking care of my disabled father for about 10 years at that point in my life. So, in 1998, I had to make a decision. I had to decided if I should leave the house I had struggled and fought hard to buy for my kids and myself in Castle Rock, Colo., leave my home state and family and friends, and disrupt my kids stable life -- OR -- stay in Colorado and try to find an equally good job to support my family (I did not receive child support so I was it).

I tried to find a job but that was before the job boom in Colorado, and I could not find a good paying, good-benefits job. I ended up putting in a bid on a job in Omaha in the Mechanical Car Department, and let fate decide!

It was a close call because I had such little seniority, but Omaha it was! So, on a Friday I packed up three kids, my dad, two birds and two cats and a full rental truck, and the next day we headed for Omaha. Just three days before, I had been in Omaha trying to find a house to rent. Not knowing anyone there, I had to go by what I could afford and my instincts, and I found a house at the last minute to rent in SW Omaha. Early Saturday morning, we moved, and Monday, I reported to my new job at UP Headquarters.

Needless to say, I was a busy mother and daughter! I had been divorced at that time for 12 years, so my kids, my Dad and my jobs kept me busy. Add to that, as I got older my own serious health conditions robbed me of my strength and independence. So, who had time for serious romance? Who was even looking?

In 2008, that all changed and it was because of my co-worker/friend who played matchmaker. My friend Deb Ashworth introduced me to her friend Bob in November 2008. Now, Deb and I would often joke and talk, but I never seriously considered a matchup until Bob showed up at my desk one day. I worked in CMS and he worked in the bunker.

What made this meeting amazing was the fact many conditions had to fall in line for us to be together. For me, I never dated while any of my kids lived at home. In August 2008, the last of my three moved out. My father's health had been declining to the point I could not care for him by myself, and I had moved him to an assisted living place in June 2008. In October 2008, my department CMS moved to the HDC.

For him, he lived in Tarkio for 20 years and had spent his time either driving to and from, or working at the HDC. His youngest had moved to Kansas City in summer 2008, leaving him with a big house alone. So, he decided to sell his house and live closer to the HDC. After years of driving hundreds of miles a day, he was ready for a break.

The week Deb introduced us, I had been living alone for three months. He was right in the process of moving his things to storage and renting a long term hotel room in Council Bluffs. If my job had not moved to Omaha and then to the HDC, we would have never crossed paths. If he had not moved from Tarkio, we would not have crossed paths, because he commuted. Also, we both had different work schedules so we would have never met even for casual conversation. If my dad was still at home, if my kids were still at home -- I would have never given him more than a passing thought after I met him.

Each sequence of events had to happen perfectly in order to make our meeting possible. Within days of things falling into place, we met and became instant friends. Within three months, we were engaged. Within 17 months we were married.

We were both ready to meet each other at the right time in the right place. Bob not only is my best friend and my husband, he is the kindest, most thoughtful to my chronic health issues, and the most incredible man I have ever been fortunate to meet. He opened up a new world for me. He brought me happiness and contentment after an adult lifetime of hardships and pain. For 24 years I had lived for my dad and my kids and now, because of UP -- because I moved from Colorado, and he from Missouri -- because I had no one in my life -- because I was needing love for me and was not aware of it -- because of all this, I started a new life, a new beginning at the age of 50.

Its been almost two years since we married and despite the fact we work in separate departments at the HDC and despite the fact we work totally different hours, we have a solid, strong and happy marriage and will continue to.

My life changed in 1995 when I walked away from a job I had held for 13 years and started a new career path with the SP. And I could never be more blessed because of it.

Cathy Kimes

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Love, Working at UP
Omaha, NE
Sign in to comment »