Tag Archives: Cold

A Tale of Two Anniversary Hikes

It was the best of times. Set in the worst of times.

Amid COVID restrictions, how could we celebrate 46 years of wedded stress — er, bliss?

Normally, I offer suggestions way beyond our first anniversary, when Hubby’s parents paid for dinner at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Now, we pay for our own celebratory meals, sometimes in restaurants with daunting silverware and equally daunting prices. We no longer limit trips to exotic locales like Wabash, Indiana. Once, we even splurged on Hawaii.

But now, what to do?

Hubby enthused, “Let’s take a hike.”

But we hike so much, Hubby’s Fitbit thingy is exhausted.

“It’s cold,” I whined. Snuggling and drinking hot chocolate sounded saner.

“But I want to play in the snow.”

Snow? Okay! I donned cold-weather gear.

In a nearby forest, verdant pines and leafless oaks looked equally elegant. Outlined in white, scraggly weeds and thorny bushes proclaimed their Creator’s redemption. Though seemingly dormant, the forest teemed with animal tracks — with life.

Our decades together rested on us, light and joyous as snow.

It was the best of times.

Temperatures rose the next day, when we hiked at a nearly deserted park. Trees, having lost magical white clothing, shivered. We plowed through dark, sticky mud, attractive only when I imagined we were adventuring through brownie batter.

Soon, we navigated puddles, then streams flowing across trails. Images of Israelites crossing the Red Sea flooded my brain. Biblical thoughts, at least — more biblical than some eddying in my mind.

At a bison pen, big, shaggy animals barely blinked at our presence.

Bored bison are so romantic. Especially their smell.

Water inspires swoon-moon-June feelings, even in January. But the gray, half-frozen lake resembled an old black-and-white TV screen.

Skinny-dipping? For polar bears only.

Hubby asked, “Want to kayak?”

“Not enough ice and water for you on this trail?” I queried.

Fortunately, he was only half-serious. But he related how he and fellow Boy Scouts, during their winter paddle, chewed gum to mend their busted canoe.

“We had fun,” he insisted.

Despite challenges, we’d enjoyed our second hike, too. Together.

On January 4, 1975, I wouldn’t have anticipated fun on a mud hike. Then, we were all about storybook moments, white and sparkly like my wedding gown.

We still relive those moments, as on that incredible, snowy hike.

Still, mud-hike marriage moments happen, even in Hawaii. On a tropical trail, Hubby extracted me from sucky mud that stained us orange.

Thank God, we haven’t told each other to take a hike. Instead, we’ve taken a lifelong hike together, including the best of times and the worst of times.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are magical and mud-hike moments in your marriage?

Yay, November!

Embrace November, with its nasty weather and nastier heating bills?

Warm hats have gone AWOL, except the pom-pom wonder Aunt Mabel knitted last Christmas. Buttonless and zipper-challenged coats should have been dry-cleaned in August. Umbrellas are too obsessed with their broken ribs to provide protection.

Fortunately, fireplaces ignite so we can toast our toes. Along with the season’s first steaming cup of hot chocolate, we’ll savor equally delicious books.

Although, authors sometimes diss November. Poet Robert Burns speaks of “chill November’s surly blast,” and in Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s alter ego, Jo March, considers November the worst month of the year: “That’s the reason I was born in it.”

But readers rejoice that both Jo and Louisa made their first appearance in November, along with C.S. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen Crane, William Blake and Mark Twain.

My dad also was born this month. Pastor, missionary, tie-hater, woodchopper, even at age 91 — without him, I remind my husband, I wouldn’t be here. Another reason to appreciate November, right?

Hubby pleads the Fifth.

Continuing on.

Cozied up on November evenings, we forget about washing windows or putting away garden hoses and patio furniture. If coulda-shouldas yammer, congratulate yourself that you are not wearing a back brace like the people who did.

November also grants a few weeks to meet pre-holiday weight loss goals. But why let downer diet thoughts bother you? The red top and black pants you’ve worn the past 19 Christmases will suffice.

Speaking of weight, ice cream lovers don’t stand in long lines in November. So what if it’s cold? Be brave. Add hot fudge or caramel to counteract frostbite. An even more appropriate choice: warm peanut butter, as November is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month.

It’s also International Drum Month in which we celebrate school bands whose stirring rhythms warm frozen football crowds. Mothers whose toddlers bang toy drums may not cheer much, nor parents whose garages house teen bands. But November 19, Have a Bad Day Day, serves these moms and dads well.

All that daylight we saved since March is nowhere to be found. But November, National Sleep Comfort Month, confirms that snuggling in bed an extra hour only makes sense.

Jogging in the dark doesn’t.

Nor does yard work — especially with the blessing of an early snow. If we’re lucky, frozen ground won’t permit our planting 900 bulbs bought while under the influence of Lowe’s commercials.

Then we can watch football, “Face the Nation” or “Punkin Chunkin,” depending on whether we want to cheer the demise of quarterbacks, politicians, or vegetables. We’ll welcome Thanksgiving with true gratitude that we remain safe in our recliners.

Yay, November!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about November?