A love story

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Girl Who Was Once Smacked By A Hoe

By Brandon Moeller

Once upon a time in a metropolis 40 miles from Rosenberg lived an aspiring newspaper columnist who was enrolled at the local university. That columnist was me, and that time was the late 1990s. And this is the story of how I met Kim Kovar and talked her into letting me buy her a Sourdough Jack combo with a Styrofoam Antenna Jack Ball in hopes she'd ask me out on a real date and return the favor, but it wasn't until like ten freaking years later but that's OK because now we're getting married.

The Jack antenna ball, celebrating
New Year's 2000

So – officially – the Jack in the Box trip wasn't our first date. It was really just a sincere gesture of appreciation to Kim for her sharing with me something that I held near and dear to my heart: class notes. You see, Kim also was a student at the local university and that's where we met, but unlike the aspiring newspaper columnist, she actually went to class. In the fall of 1999, we were both taking a political science course concentrating on the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and in return for letting me copy her notes, I told her I'd take her to any place she'd want for lunch one day.

And, lo and behold, she took me up on the offer. So we meandered out and about from campus until she finally made me pull over at Jack In the Box on Montrose. There, we had a pleasant meal together and we became better friends.

But before all this sourdough for notes nonsense, came a hoe. You see, there once was a time that even Kim Kovar worked for The Daily Cougar, the official student newspaper of the University of Houston since 1934. There, she was a copy editor and sometimes a reporter. And that's where I first laid my eyes on her, and woah! She was hot.

But I'll never forget the time she came in the newsroom with a black eye and a bandanna around her head. It was a nice touch, I thought – I was an aspiring hippie myself. I stayed at my desk as I heard everyone question what had happened to her. It was a hoe, she said. Apparently, stepping on one causes the handle to spring forward and whack you in the face, and Kim had a nice shiner to prove it.

The front cover of the April 1, 1999
issue of The Daily Cougar.

On April 1, 1999, The Daily Cougar published issue 121 of its 64th volume, and the significance of this issue is that it features a page one news article written by one Kim Kovar and a third page column written by one Brandon Moeller. Also on page three is a staff box which lists Kim as a copy editor for the issue, and my buddy Ben Coons as the page designer.

I met Ben in high school at the church youth group and later when we went to college together, I convinced him he should work at the Cougar. I remember that Ben and I used to alternate days when it came to laying out the paper and I even pulled some copy editor shifts back then. I mention Ben here because he has been invited to the wedding and so he better come, dammit. (Note to Ben: Return your RSVP card already, or Kim will call you. Seriously.) The layout job paid minimum wage, which meant it was a little bit better than the $25 a night the copy editors took home. But just barely.

So the girl who was once smacked by a hoe ended up in my class, I copied her notes, took her out for lunch and then later even shared a second political science class with her called Black Political Thought. But after college, we drifted apart. In 2000, she started working at the Houston Chronicle – thus ending her career at The Daily Cougar - and after college I worked at a string of small town newspapers in Tomball, Raymondville, then Tomball again.

Selections from the April 1, 1999 issue of The Daily Cougar.

It was while I was laying out yet another weekly issue of the Tomball Potpourri when I got a message on MySpace with the subject line "a blast from your college past."

I think she wasn't very fond of capitalization that day, June 28, 2006, because here's a sampling of what she wrote:

"hey brandon. this is kim kovar. we were both in a class at UH called Black Political Thought. remember that one? and probably some other journalism-type classes too. so you're a big-time reporter at the tomball paper, eh? good for you.

good to see you're still fighting the good ol journalism fight. i'm still copy editing at the chron. nothing else too exciting, but i can't complain."

See, not a lot had changed – I was still laying out newspapers and writing for them and Kim was still copy editing. It's just that about seven years had passed.

And so we met up. And started talking. A lot. She invited me to a Dave Matthews Band show, but since I was a reporter, I couldn't afford to go. And then I heard the next show she would go see was Todd Snider at the Mucky Duck. I had heard of Mr. Snider from a few bootleg trading groups I belonged to. So I called up the venue and got myself a standing-room-only ticket. Then I told Kim about my purchase and we made plans to meet up there. I was late. Or, perhaps – maybe she was early.

Anyway, I stood in the back of the venue once the show started (he kicked it off with "Can't Complain" which is funny because that's the last line in her e-mail she wrote me) and after the show she told me to kiss her and I've been doing what she says ever since.