I Will Follow
Monday, June 8, 2009

This is what saying yes looks like.

This Hubby of mine. We are very different folk.

I am a homebody, content with small things like Liquid Amber bubble bath in my tub and a long, hot soak with a good book. I'm not much for crowds, amusement parks, bars, (at least not on a regular basis), and anything that takes me away from my safe little haven for too long.

But, he is.

He loves to travel. He loves Disney. He loves driving down the road that says No Trespassing, because he just has to know what's at the end of it. He loves fireworks. Oh, how he loves his fireworks! He loves to jump in the car and let the day take him where it may. He loves the adventure of life.

Oftentimes I find this incredibly annoying. Usually, because he wants to take me with him and he's a persistent devil when I whine and tell him, I don't really feeeeel like it.

Because of him, I have wandered the streets of Venice, purposefully lost, as the day grew dark. At first, more than a little afraid of the Italian gypsies I knew were lurking around the stone corners ready to mug us, but as the ancient city unfolded itself around us, showing us her treasures. I forgot the invisible gypsies and my fright and we walked for hours, discovering the length and breadth of the city.

Because of him, I have stumbled upon an Oldtimer's Festival in the hills of Tennessee, a joyous celebration of music, of traditions past, where the mountain folk gather with their banjos, fiddles, mandolins and dulcimers, pickin' and singin' in clusters, wherever the music spirit takes them. One musician would begin a tune and a crowd would gather, fiddle players would join in, voices would raise and magic would take over. I will never forget piping up on a beautiful round of "Amazing Grace", singing out loudly surrounded by mountain folk, caught in the same spirit. Something, I would never do in my regular life in the tub.

Because of him, I have learned that each bottle of wine is a treasure, a story of its own.

Because of him, I have taken a frighteningly, small plane to British Columbia and opened my clenched eyes with his coaxing as we soared over the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains, feeling like we were brushing the snow off the caps, closer than any jumbo airliner dared take us.

Because of him I have made certain friends of strangers. Because of him, I always take the more rugged path while hiking. Because of him, I have ridden jet-skis. shot guns, hiked waterfalls, traveled far, danced till the lights went on. Because of him, I have found myself in places and situations that I would have never deliberated, without him behind me, pushing me gently along the way. Because of him, the fireworks are never ending.

If it weren't for him, I'd be still soaking in the tub, a shriveled prune by now.

A True Story to cement my point: The kids were small and we would often jump in the car on a Saturday and just go, letting Saturday take us where it wanted.

That weekend the Hubby headed the car towards a little Podunk town a few hours away. In our Land of the Tropics, there is a lot of Podunk. Some infuriating, like the racism that still lingers in whispers. Some charming, like the Spanish Moss that hangs from the trees or the sweet little towns that have not sold their souls to strip malls and condos.

This was one of those towns with antique shops on every corner and sidewalks with azalea bushes blooming along their border. We were antique shopping, looking for treasures. The kids were bored and tired. We'd been at it for awhile. I was ready to go. The Hubby wanted to check just one more shop, not ready to end the adventure . The kids and I went in begrudgingly, another dusty shop filled with glassware and kitschy collectibles.

My hubby, in his usual zeal to make friends, struck up a conversation with the large, bearded owner of the establishment, a dead ringer for Santa Claus. I was getting irritated. He knew I was ready to go and he knew I didn't want to endure another conversation of the history of this Podunk town. That's the thing about Podunk town citizens, they are proud of their history and they have a collective compulsion to inform all visitors of its lore.

The whines were growing louder and louder, the youngest complaining at the top of her lungs that SHE WAS THIRSTY! Children's thirst issues, in my experience, are always life threatening, as if they've been wandering the Sahara without a drop of liquid for weeks.

Mr. Santa overheard her parched cries of woe. He bent down and asked her if a milkshake would do the trick. Immediately, all ears perked up as the little one miraculously revived herself to nod furiously.

Mr. Santa led us to the back of his shop and suddenly, it was as if we'd been transported back to the 1950's. His antique shop held a lovely secret, a charming ice-cream parlor in the midst of the kitsch. There were red vinyl booths, a checkerboard floor, and a counter that stretched the length of the store, with vintage signs advertising freshly churned ice-cream, malts, sundaes, floats, and all the other goodies that made my girls' eyes look like they were about to pop out of their head.

Mr. Santa told us to make ourselves comfy and we slid into a booth and watched him whip up chocolate malts for all of us, overflowing with whipped cream and sugary, sweet maraschino cherries. He served us all, pronouncing the enormous malts, on the house. He pulled up a chair, telling us that his antique store/ice cream shop was THE go-to-place in this town, especially now that he'd installed a karaoke machine. Everyone in the town, he said, congregated at his shop for Karaoke Fridays. He turned to the girls and asked them, if they wanted to give it a try.

Our Victoria didn't hesitate. A microphone and pre-recorded music, her idea of Nirvana.

We whiled away the afternoon, each of us taking turns with the Karaoke, while the rest of us applauded, Mr. Santa keeping our malt cups filled.

We laughed and sang and cheered each other on, our own private Karaoke/ice-cream/antique shopping party. The girls dwelling on "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and Disney tunes, while we rocked out, me doing a mean imitation of some Janice Joplin, while The Hubby kept it going with some Bon Jovi and Survivor. Mr. Santa brought down the house with his, "Born To Be Wild."

I would never have imagined myself on a Saturday afternoon, singing karaoke in the back of an antique shop while sipping malts in the converted ice cream parlor with a Santa Claus clone who was doing a damn, fine set of Steppenwolf tunes. But, this is what happens when My Hubby takes us out for a spin. The adventure begins.

This past weekend, we went away for a little end of the year class trip for our Victoria. We stayed at the beach with all of the other families of the eighth grade. It was pretty sweet, since most of our close friends are the parents of those kids.

We were at a resort, brimming with restaurants of every kind. The grownups went to dinner, where we had a lovely time, filled with fabulous food, a lot of laughs and many bottles of wine. On the walk back to our room, The Hubby said, "Let's take a walk on the beach."

And I gave him my standard whine, telling him I was too tired and I'd had too much wine and the boardwalk leading us back to our room was right there, right there, temptingly steps away.
He did as he always did, pushed and prodded until I gave in, as always, with a bit of contempt and a lot of sulk.

We took our shoes off and walked through the sand to the water's edge. The moon was full, holding court in the center of the sky and it shone down upon the Gulf, turning its inky blackness into a silvery blanket of tides, the waves shining like diamonds. It was breathtaking. And as I sat there, taking in the sight, I realized how blessed I am to have him there, whispering in my ear, keeping me in this business of life instead of taking the short walk home, so I can go back to soaking in the tub.

We have adventured together, his brave, daring soul holding my scaredy-cat hand and I am far better because of him, because he has brought me karaoke in an antique shop/ice cream parlor when I was least suspecting it.

Today's Must Have Download: Death Cab by Cutie's, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." The inspiration is obvious, but there's also the fact that The Hubby introduced me to this great, Irish group, a few years back. Ironic, since the only other time he informed me about music instead of the other way around, the band was also Irish and well...you know the rest.

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