It was a cold, wintery day. No, actually it was May.
My wife, a native Texan, walked unannounced into my office located mere blocks from Lake Michigan. A beautiful body of water with white sand beaches and home to spectacular sunsets, our living outside Chicago was still relatively new to us.
I should’ve known something was up when she walked in without saying hello.
Holding out her hand, she spoke in an odd, almost possessed tone reserved for late night horror movies.
“This is snow. This is May. This shouldn’t be happening.”
Plunking the wet snowball on my desk, she turned and walked out as quickly as she arrived.
Stunned, I held the phone receiver to my ear as watched as the snow began to melt on my desk.
Yes, I married a woman who truly knows how to communicate.
Sometimes in life you make mistakes. Taking my Texas girl so far into the north county was one of my bigger missteps in our long marriage. And she let me know.
For five years our family spent wonderful summers in and around one of our nation’s most beautiful cities – Chicago. But the little known secret is summers are approximately 6-weeks long – and that might be generous. I’m pretty sure Old Man Winter keeps his summer home somewhere in the metropolitan area of Chi-town. It can go from stunningly beautiful days to the weatherman projecting a snowfall in feet instead of inches.
Don’t get me wrong, our tour up in the North Country was nice. We met some wonderful people and made some terrific friends. If asked to name a downtown I’d like to wander for a few days, Chicago would be on a very short list of amazing places to visit. But as for taking a native Texan there for an extended tour, well, that might’ve been pushing my luck.
One day I found myself checking my voicemail and ran across a missed call.
“Hey,” my wife’s voice said — again in that eerie tone. “I just dropped the kids off at school and temperature gauge on the dashboard said minus 8 degrees. If I didn’t love you so much, I’d put them back in the car and drive south until it read sixty.”
It is said God listens to us all. Well, he must’ve been tapping my phone line as shortly afterwards He arranged for us to return south by sending us back us to Georgia.
Much like a great bowl of gumbo, life is an interesting mix of experiences and side trips where we accumulate the special influences that make us unique. Without them – and how they affect us – we just might end up as a dull bowl of simple chicken broth.
Recently life brought my wife back to the state she’d missed for so long. Now home within the safe borders of her native Texas, she is planning on holding tight. The reality of my life as a media vagabond may finally be coming to an abrupt end.
“You know,” she said, “if you ever decide to move north of the Mason-Dixon line again, you’ll be going as a single man.”
I know she loves me – but not even I am stupid enough to test her on this one.
– 30 –