Day 9 from the road in THE City, San Francisco, Calif., one of the spectacular venues in America. We filled up the Escape in Soledad, Calif., after visiting the Pinnacles National Monument at $3.13 per gallon, the highest rate thus far.
Soledad is in the famous Salinas Valley, the heart of this nation’s vegetable producers, and the community’s occupants appear to be among those you see harvesting the various items (lettuce, broccoli, peppers, cabbage, you name it) – meaning they stoop in the fields to make sure all that leafy stuff and much of the country’s fruit hit the shelves at Kroger. It would be sensible to think that such labor doesn’t exactly pay well. However, it is odd to see such high gas prices, - 14 cents a gallon more than in big, bad Los Angeles or its outlying cities.
Makes you wonder.
Tomorrow is my fourth anniversary as the proud husband of one, Jodie Ann Zoeller. We were married on the Saturday following Sept. 11, 2001, and it was one wild weekend. Jodie’s sister was barely able to fly out of San Antonio and my son got arrested in Corsicana for an unknown speeding ticket at 2 a.m., leaving his fiancé and two sisters in a waiting room while he spent time in the click with some guy named “Tiny.” All the while, I waited … and waited … and waited … until they arrived at 6 a.m.
We then had to buy him a suit since his other one was stolen at a collegiate laundromat. I think you get the picture.
Then again, it’s been a fairly wild four years. We’ve enjoyed wonderful days and nights of spectacular travel – from Hawaii to upstate New York and the Catskills to Mackinac Island to New Orleans to Chicago to our current excursion.
There have been some tough times. I underwent triple bypass open-heart surgery three months after exchanging vows, I lost one job and gave up another when the travel time (three hours) was killing me and we gave up our privacy and our home to try to improve the lot of Jodie’s sister and daughter for three years. It caused a lot of friction and might have caused permanent cracks in other people’s relationships.
But we survived because, based on prior experiences, we seem to be survivors. Each of us has gone through divorce and we’ve been alone for long periods of time. Neither of us like the latter and are determined that this will be a lasting relationship.
That’s good. It makes our backs a little more like that of a duck. Some things just need to roll off without causing problems. That permits quality time to be dedicated to serious issues. It is what I would tell anyone in a marriage. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is a truism. Concentrate on the meaningful issues, involve each other in the decision and stay with what you’ve concurrently decided … unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
I am not the easiest person to live with and I have my moments of spontaneous combustion. It takes a special person to accept that and try to nurture me despite it all. That’s what Jodie does and she earns any and every marital award in the world.
I wish I could shower her in chocolate, flowers, books and a TV with a VCR AND DVD player in one.
But for now, my unwavering love and long hugs and kisses will have to suffice. Somehow, while we enjoy a special dinner in San Francisco at a legendary eatery (John’s Grill, home of the real Maltese Falcon), I will toast my good fortune of having her in my life for the rest of my life.
God willing that will be a long, LONG time.