Thursday, February 14, 2019

Nancy Calhoun



It was a chilly Canadian day in the middle of December.
I was sitting on a red double decker tourist bus
rolling down a scenic road in Victoria, British Columbia.

I wanted the best view of the Straight of Juan de Fuca.
I climbed to the open air top level and wiped my seat dry with a towel.
The snow capped Olympic mountains stared at me from the south.



I loved the cool breeze.
The view was stunning.
My family was with me.
We were all healthy
It was a good day.


This is how I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary.




The big mall across the river wasn't even built when I filled out the obligatory wedding registry.
I still have the dishes I registered for, however, from the old downtown store in 1988.
They were simple, an every day kind of  dish. (Nancy Calhoun, White)
I still like them and I still use them.
Those dishes were there,
from the beginning.


I was married in the middle of December.  It was the perfect time because-- the husband could be there.  He was a submarine officer in the US Navy and mid December was a convenient time for a junior officer, such that he was, to take a bit of time off.  We married and then we left our hometown.  We drove across the country to our new home in Florida.

We settled in Winter Park and eventually moved on to Idaho Falls, Groton Long Point, Bremerton, Idaho Falls again, Greenland, Angola, West Seattle, and then finally, Maple Valley.

And then, you know, we suddenly had two kids and a bunch of diapers and soggy handfuls of goldfish crackers and something that somehow spilled on the couch that nobody knows anything about and preschool tuition and Urgent Care bills and fundraisers and a lot of broccoli that ended up down the disposal and more than a couple of shockingly short lived pets.  Occasionally, the husband and I would pause for a conversation..... a moment...... a memory.  But soon it was back to band concerts that were a little too long and all of the towels on the bathroom floor and and far, far away soccer games and rainy cross country meets and debates about proper bedtimes and too many video games and SAT tests and are you sure you did your homework questions and so, so much laundry and.....

finally,

somehow,


college
move in
day.


I was on top of that bus in the middle of winter with those sticky, little, goldfish squishing, soccer kids who somehow qualified for the adult price on this chilly tourist bus ride. The husband sat next to them.  The husband who has patiently put up with the yin and yang of 30 years of marriage.  The husband who has embraced all that can possibly
encompass
and encircle
and enrage
and envelop
two people
and all of
the aftermath
that follows

when
in 1985
one person says hello,

and the other person finds that to be quite a clever
pick up
line.


Today that mall across the river is kind of old. Today my wedding registry dishes sell online with the "vintage" label  attached to them.  Today the preschool tuition is college tuition.  Today that broccoli that no one would eat is roasted in a 425 degree oven with a bit of oil and garlic and salt and pepper and is eaten like candy. There are no leftovers.  Today the debates are about politics.  Today they pick up their own towels.  Mostly.  Today my couch is only covered in cat hair.  Today I see the family that's with me on this bus ride shivering in their winter coats.  Today I see them cold ...possibly miserable, watching me be happy, up on the upper deck, pelted by the ocean spray on this little tour of Victoria.

Today I see them letting me be me.

Today I see 30 years of all
that has
always
been
good.


Tomorrow we go home and warm up.

Tomorrow I remember those stunning
Olympic Mountains staring back at me
and the frozen kids and husband.

Tomorrow we eat pizza off of those dishes
(Nancy Calhoun, White)
from the old
downtown
store.

Tomorrow we eat off those dishes that were there from the very beginning.

Tomorrow I remember 30 years.

1 comment:

Charles Brister said...

Aww, what a nice story. Nancy Calhouns! Mystery stains and short lived pets! That’s a life right there!