A Journey

Travel. I love it. I wish I had the money to see more of the world, especially with my kids. I have been to Australia, Europe, Egypt, and Turkey, where I stayed in a tree house for 3 days. I lived in England and Honduras. I drove to Costa Rica -through Nicaragua- with 3 friends, one of whom was pregnant. When I was 7, I flew to St. Croix by myself. I have been to 40 of the 50 states. Recently my 7 year old put a “Don’t mess with Texas” bumper sticker on my car (not sure why) and ironically it is one of the ten I have yet to get to. When I finally visit Austin and Marfa and track down Tim Riggins in Dillon, I will take the sticker off.

G3. We pull backwards into the spot, promise each other to both remember the number since we lost a car once in an airport parking lot. Open the doors, get the luggage, and walk. No car seats. No kids. Just the two of us on our way to Maine for a wedding. If you know anything about wasps or Maine, it can’t really be described as a romantic getaway. A small community, open windows, and 55 degree temperatures, requiring welliess rather than sexy stillettos,  run interference for cupid. But it was to be a special weekend of friendships rekindled, memories made, and relaxation. If we didn’t kill each other in the airport first.

As we reached the end of our block, a mere 3 minutes after our ample departure time, I realized I had forgotten my ipod. No turning back says the driver (my husband). Oh well, the scenery for my runs on the beach will be motivation enough and since I have a travel companion, I  would not need to tune out other airport sounds. Once in the terminal, I quickly realize his “smart phone” with Angry birds, an Ipod, and a kindle meant this one device provided all the companionship he needed. As I combed the airport stores for a good read, my own companion, I thought about renaming myself the Iwife. A complete package of entertainment, who might be called the “smart woman” like his smart phone. I sing. I play games. I tell stories; what does that device do that I don’t?

There is of course the ever entertaining past-time of people watching. I saw 6 kids with leashes on. Yes, the versions now have fuzzy backpacks attached with some animal creature so it appears -to the child- the string is for the pet. But we all know it is to restrain the child. I thought these became passe when parenting books got their own section in the library. I wondered which came first -the leash or the running away? There was the obese woman with 9 tattoos and 4 cheek piercings- she looked so angry, I wondered what the butterfly inked on her chest could possibly symbolize. And I was shocked by the line wrapping around the corner, 20 people deep, to by a “Crumbs” cupcake for $4.95 plus tax.

As we boarded the tiny connector from Raleigh to Newark, I convinced myself this weekend could be wasted on thinking “he’s just not that into you” or saved by trying to trust the idea my husband is wired differently. When I found my seat wedged in the middle of Greg and a 22 year old Wolfpack fan with large headphones and bad acne, I leaned a little closer to my husband and was glad I had that option. When the annoying “Red Fan” took my armrest, I whispered to Greg “Doesn’t everyone know the middle person gets both armrests?” We chuckled with “youth these days” and were somehow back on track as a unit, as quickly as we had gotten off. Marriage is funny that way.

The wedding was stunning even if the weather left something to be desired. The rain added character. It was unique. It took the focus off of everything being perfect. We sat down to the rehearsal dinner in a tent overlooking the water and rocky shores of Wood Island Harbor and the heat lamps cranked out an amazing bit of warmth. The fresh clam chowder and perfectly steamed hardshell lobsters lightened the mood. As the father of the bride choked up during his toast, my husband caught eye contact with me. With a small tear in his eye, we realized this -hopefully-one day would be him. The bride, a kind yogi from Baltimore, raised in London and toasted by her godmother as a restful soul, stole the show. She retold a story of the engagement party, how she was becoming nervous with all the attention becoming focused on her. Her quiet, Portuguese fiance assured her all would be right. The focus in fact was not to be on the bride or the groom, but rather on love, a separate third entity which their commitment symbolized. Sarah was calmed, re-centered and sure the man she had chosen for a partner was just that.

The following evening, with the rain letting up long enough for the bride to get into the chapel and the reception without her boots or umbrella, the tent dazzled with laughter and joy and love. The tables were adorned with bowls of radishes and salt to symbolize Sarah’s English childhood. There was Portuguese bread, made in the shape of shells showing Henri’s heritage. And the place-cards were  pots of jam with our names on them, made by the father of the groom and mother of the bride. As the wine and conversation flowed, the groom stood up to toast his bride and all of us who came to share the day with them. It happened to be the 31st anniversary of his family’s immigration to the United States. He related the well known tale of a couple trading in everything known for the hope of a better life, one with more opportunity. He spoke of how marriage is a similar leap. It is a journey -one with setbacks and hardships and a hell of a lot of work. But one filled with adventure and unknown blessings along the way.

Madame Von Swearagin, my scary high school french teacher, once said: “If you want guarantees in life, by a refrigerator.” Practical advice and yet profound. Buying appliances is a drag, a large sum of money allotted to something mundane. Their penchant for breaking down usually comes in twos. I don’t want my life to be a guarantee. I am the kind of person who thinks wellies look great with a couture wedding gown of ruched silk taffeta. But sometimes it’s hard to see the sun through the rain.

6 responses to this post.

  1. you have done it, once again.


  2. Posted by Frances Caldwell on June 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    How have I missed your blog? Doesn’t matter, I’m on it now. This is wonderful – how often we have those little connections and how great it is when we recognize them as blessings. Have a reserved sign on your bed for WK. Love to all of you.


  3. Posted by Julie Brown on June 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I am at the beach sitting on my little porch. I am on the second of the Outlander books that Susan put me onto (I could kill her! There are 7 of the things!) And just checked the computer and I find your wonderful blog. Thank you. J


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