Connie and I celebrate 36 years of marriage this coming Tuesday. It has become a tradition with us this time every year to take a short road trip into previously uncharted territory. There are three good-sized antique malls in a thirty mile radius of Wenatchee, and Connie is into antiques. I’m into her, so I don’t mind looking a little and wandering around a lot. Tomorrow we are going to head north toward Chelan and then over to Waterville, where neither of us has ever been. We have heard there are some good antique joints all along the way and some possible opportunities to do a little freestyle picking. From Waterville we will head to Ephrata, then Quincy, then Ellensburg. Tuesday we will take our time heading back home through Monroe, where we recently heard of a lady who has a barn full of great stuff she has been hoarding for years.
One highlight of our trips is always the podunk cafe’s and diners we find along the way. Some people like the exotic high end places where they serve steak and lobster, but we’re in search of homemade chicken fried steak, the kind where they go out and kill the cow just to make your meal. Lumpy mashed potatoes with country gravy, served by an eight-month pregnant waitress whose husband is a ringer for Larry the Cable Guy. I always appreciate seeing the husband because Connie is from a tiny burg in Idaho where the only jobs are at sawmills. She must be thankful she got me instead of some slacked-jawed hick. Actually, those hicks are good people, don’t get me wrong.
Sometimes people ask us what the secret of a healthy marriage is. To this question I must plead a high degree of ignorance. We are both of the same faith, and we share common sense values like hard work and the importance of family. Beyond that I think I lucked out–or I should say God blessed me with an outstanding girl. We have never read books or attended workshops on how to have a good marriage. I don’t know, we just like being together, even after all these years. I look at others who are lots nicer guys than me who have not had the kind of marriage I have enjoyed, and I don’t get it. One of life’s big mysteries, I guess.
If there are any regrets I suppose it would be that my kids do not share our commitment to the Lord. We thought we did everything right: prayed with them and for them, led by example, never abused or neglected them, never exposed them to drugs or alcohol, took them to church every Sunday. I see other parents who do not even know the Lord, and their kids are more functional and responsible than some of my own children. Sometimes there just isn’t a simple answer to the question of why things are the way they are with our offspring.
All in all it has been a good 36-year run, and I can’t think of too many things I would change. Enjoy the good weather and those who mean the most to you. Take time to stop and smell the coffee along the way.
I know, I should have said roses, but we both like the smell of coffee better.