Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to have a lot of happy anniversaries

First anniversary: Roxy and I were living on the road at Storm Site, Somewhere USA. I didn’t take time for a real sit down dinner—but pulled through the drive through at a KFC.  As we ate our first anniversary dinner, I worked on insurance claims; she just watched me work, smiled, said "Happy anniversary" and took a bite of chicken.   
In the blink of an eye a year went by and anniversary number two rolled in. Amazingly enough, she was still there, by my side, out in the field, in another hotel, at Somewhere Else, USA. As we wrapped up another long day, she smiled and said, “So…KFC?”
And so began our anniversary tradition.
Year after year, most of them on the road, working here or there—but we’d always find a way to swing through and pick up a bucket of the Colonel…until this year.
These days, we’ve settled down, not chasing storms like we used to do, but still remember those days, and try to honor that old tradition. This morning, we left for church, picked up mom, brought her to lunch, helped sister move and install her air conditioner.
We picked up a few groceries at Erickson’s (well, about ten years ago the name changed to Family Fresh but I never remember that). A gallon of Kemps ice cream was on sale for $4.99. I wish our freezer could hold about ten gallons. We ran into our daughter Kayla, standing at the meat counter. She and Roxy talked about the best way to fry chicken, they wandered about the store, mostly standing in one place or another.
My feet ached in my Sunday-go-to-meetin’ cowboy boots. I made my way to a leather sofa over by the pharmacy pick-up counter. I pulled out my phone and scrolled through facebook, checked my emails and all the time I wondered where we’d get our KFC. 
I noticed Kayla and Roxy standing next to the peanut butter. I figure Roxy must’ve been telling her about some kind of coupon deal.  I wondered if the ice cream had been melted to liquid.
Our daughter, Shyloh, called, she just made homemade cookies, they were still warm and she only lived a few blocks from the store. I knew the ice cream would melt—but we had to go.
After four or five hours (not really, but it felt like it) Roxy said, “Ready?”
I grabbed the bucket of liquid Kemps and walked back to the freezer. I put it back and pretended to be exchanging it for another flavor and grabbed another, fresh, frozen vanilla. I wish I’d have thought to put it in the back. Ummm...if you grabbed a bucket of ice cream, got home and found out it wasn’t frozen—sorry ‘bout that.
We stood outside our daughter’s, eating a handful of still-warm chocolate chip cookies and accepting a plate full of more. I had left the truck running with the a/c on high to try and keep the ice cream cold. I shoved a third cookie in my mouth and noticed the building across from where she lived. An old, faded, deteriorated red and white block building. And I remembered. Once upon a time, when I was still a kid, and they were still open, that was where we used to get Kentucky Fried Chicken. I sighed, ‘cuz I know, no place in town, sells Kentucky Fried Chicken.
We made our way back to our little summer home—a fifth wheel camper.
We unpacked the groceries, a few boxes were warm. They weren’t from KFC, they didn’t fulfill our tradition. But, Roxy just smiled and said, “Happy Anniversary” and took a bite of chicken.

Maybe that’s why we’ve made it. It’s nothing big. Not fireworks. Not perfection.  It’s allowing simple moments to grow into special memories and create ties that bind.
Making this moment that moment every moment.

...and don't forget the ice cream.

Thanks honey, I love you, happy anniversary.
Oh, and I turned it into KFC

Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6)

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