Homeward Bound

Have we really been gone from home for an entire week? I am amazed at how quickly we filled the days up with meaningful (okay memorable may be a better choice of words) activity. Who knows when the General and her two siblings and their spouses will spend an entire week together again? You’re probably thinking my next comment will be the prediction that it won’t be in my lifetime. And of course, you’re probably right, but I say that only because we’ve never done this sort of thing with them before.

I’m still under a gag order, so I can’t share the details, but truthfully there’s been nothing I could have shared that wouldn’t have reflected positively on the family group. It has been a fun-filled week. At some level, I think that is an anomaly. How often do extended family members have fun together?

One evening, someone asked how long Treva and I had been married. I jokingly answered, “All my life”. I hastened to add, “It didn’t take me long to learn the secret to being happily married. The key is learning to say ‘Yes dear’”. I laughed at my own joke. She didn’t. Perhaps not to be outdone, Treva added, “That certainly is preferable to, “It’s my way or the highway.” I was shocked! I immediately countered that I never ever said anything like that!” She smiled and said, “I remember it differently.”

Treva then added a couple of stories that highlighted her perception that my maturity level was somewhat delayed in the early weeks of our marriage. One of the stories she shared is true. I say that because I remember it happening. Did I mention that when we first got married I was skinny? We got into a verbal disagreement related to plans for the evening. I wanted to invite another couple over for dinner. After all, it was a Friday night. Why not have fun with friends? She didn’t want to do that. After being married for all of three or four weeks, neither of us was very skilled at the art of compromise.

She obviously won the disagreement, because I didn’t invite friends over. Treva subsequently went to the grocery store. After she left the house, I crawled under our bed to pout. Actually, I thought she’d think I wasn’t home when she returned from the store and be concerned. What better way to teach her the importance of being more agreeable? How did I know I would fall to sleep while I was hiding under the bed? Okay, chalk that up to immaturity. I will own it. My behavior fell significantly short of active problem solving. By the way, I’m the one who learned a lesson. Not only was she unconcerned that I wasn’t home, she didn’t even bother to look for me.

The second story that she shared from the resources of memory long ago is from my recollection totally inaccurate. She maintains that we had a disagreement one evening and I opted to sleep in the bathtub. For the life of me, I can’t imagine any circumstances where my lack of prudent judgment would culminate in that kind of decision. Consequently, I’m confident that her memory is flawed.

So do we ever get into conflict any more? My first thought is to say, “Seldom”. On the other hand, that may not be 100% accurate. I had just finished packing my luggage for our morning flight and was hurrying to get to my laptop to crank out my morning blog, when she awakened. She said, “I have two diet Cokes left in the refrigerator. One is partially filled. Will you bring them to me?” It was only 5:30 a.m., I had time to do that. It wasn’t a problem.

When I saw how much Coke was left in one bottle, I made a value judgment that she didn’t need both bottles. She could drink the second Coke on the way to the airport. Actually, I didn’t see how much Coke was in the bottle. The bottle was wrapped with a paper napkin. The way I processed the situation was logical, “If there was enough Coke to save, then it should be enough Coke to drink. Who in their right mind would put a mostly empty bottle of Coke back in the refrigerator? If the bottle was mostly empty, you’d drink it all and throw the empty bottle away. I’m confident if the Barna Group did a survey across America, 99.9% of the population surveyed would agree with me.

When I returned with one bottle, the General immediately provided gentle redirection. She asked me to bring her the other bottle of Coke like she initially requested. In addition, she also wanted a glass of ice water. Are you kidding me? She was on her way for a morning shower. She obviously had mistaken me for “Room service”. In my “tote-and-fetch” demeanor, I did an about-face and returned to the kitchen to get the other bottle of Coke and a glass of ice water.

Dutifully returning, she took the glass of ice water from my hand, looked at it and commented, “That’s not enough ice”. I never cease to be amazed! You’re probably thinking my response was closely akin to, “Take it or leave it”! If so, you’d be wrong. I’ve learned to be a little more mellow. I simple assured her, “It will be fine for now. You can get more later.” Okay, so maybe I wasn’t quite that diplomatic. I may have added, “Don’t push your luck.” On the other hand, I may have thought it and refrained from saying it. I don’t know, but it easily could have been on the tip of my tongue.

We’ve had a great trip. However, I’m looking forward to getting back home and getting back into my routine. I’m also eager to see how much of our front lawn the goats devoured. Apparently, in our absence, they figured out how to raise the latch on the front gate. My son-in-law sent a couple of pictures so we’d know what to expect. From the looks of things, they pruned things pretty well. It was not a pretty sight.

The General and I had two very different reactions. She looked at the pictures and expressed hope that the goats had also devoured everything in the back yard. She’s been “on my case” to clear out a lot of the vegetation in the back. She thinks it looks overgrown and she wants us to start over.

Start over? Are you kidding me? The things growing in the back yard have been growing there for the past thirteen years. Taking on the kind of project she has in mind will take a lot more horsepower than either of us have the ability to invest.  Only time will tell who gets it down their way.  I bet you can guess who will eventually prevail.

I just remembered that time and/or planes wait for no man. Rather than speculate the outcome on the yard, I’ll simply thank you for investing a portion of your morning with me.

All My Best!

Don

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