A Gnome And A Few Days In The Woods


September 24, 2020

This has been a tough year for everyone - global pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, job losses, financial worries, racial tensions, and party politics. Just when I think we've run the gamut of historic disasters and tragedies, now there is an asteroid heading toward earth. Nothing seems to surprise me any more.

I needed away from home isolation, face masks and the fear of getting ill. Away from bad news, rhetoric politics, and the accompanying constant noise of both. Even as a fairly positive person, I felt my mental health suffering from a world of pessimism. I craved a stress buster and Mr. Right knew exactly what to do. He chose the perfect birthday gift for me.

"What would you like for your birthday?" Mr. Right asked during a commercial from a recent football game playing in an almost empty stadium. My birth date was only a few days away.

"How about two weeks in Italy?" I joked, knowing I might as well have asked for an elephant with painted toenails. We're in a pandemic. No way in Hades will we fly to another country.

"A few days at the lake is about all I can do at the moment," he replied with a raised eyebrow, wise-crackery in his voice. I was about to answer, but his attention was back on the seductive crisp, clear resolution of HDTV and sports.

Laughing Minions sounded from between the sofa cushions. A text from my son. I dug around for my cell phone. What do you want from Amazon for your birthday?

A trip to Italy. I thumbed back without hope. Maybe it would work this time.

Bought tickets last month. Leaving this weekend. Didn't know you wanted to go too, he replied. He's a poor doctorate student, and Amazon sells a lot of things, but trips to Europe isn't one of them. Sarcasm, again. I hate sarcasm unless it's coming from me. I shared a garden gnome with him from my Amazon "Wish" list.

Mr. Right packed up Clarabelle the Campervan, Noodles the Wonder Dog, our Luggable Loo and me for a two-night camping trip at the local lake. It was the middle of the week and the campground was empty but for one other campsite. The temperatures were perfect, dropping from a balmy daytime 80 degrees to a comfortable nighttime 60 degrees.

Water birds squawked across the murky lake as it lapped against the jig-sawed shoreline. A crackling fire. Fresh caught Blue Gill fillets, baked campfire potatoes and sweet, sweet s'mores. A glass of wine and the night stars. A good mattress, a cozy blanket, the soft snores of Mr. Right and the warmth of the Wonder Dog curled against the back of my knees.

The Amazon truck delivered my garden gnome while we were gone. I couldn't have asked for a nicer birthday. Yes, even in 2020, we can still get some of what we want, but more importantly, we can all get a bit of what we need, also.

Hang in there, only three more months until the new year, and hope for a vaccine. Continue to stay safe and be well.


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