Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Oasis

I stopped at our local Starbucks yesterday morning to pick up a coffee for my wife: Grande, two pumps cinnamon Dulce, non-fat, no whip mocha...

I do this Monday through Friday after I drop our son Chance off at school for the day. Figure it's the least I can do, since she's put up with being married to me for over 22 years now. Everyone at the Starbucks knows me, and most of the time they have Cherish's drink ready early. It's a great place with a great staff.

So...yesterday I pull into the parking lot around 9:10 in front of the Pizza Hut. A huge Semi pulls in next to me just as I'm getting out, blocking that exit. I make a mental note to go out the other way when I'm done. Go into Starbucks for the mocha. At least ten people ahead of me in line...yet the mocha is waiting when I pay...and everyone says to tell Cherish Hi. Like I said, a great staff.

I head out with her coffee only to find another truck parked directly behind my Jeep.(a 50th birthday present from Cherish)The driver unloads his last load, slams the back of the truck closed, and goes into the restaurant next door. He shouldn't be long, so I get in and warm the Jeep up. Couple of minutes go by, and he comes out. Gets into the truck. Anytime now. No problem. A couple more minutes go by...then a couple more. I strain my neck to try and look in the cab of the truck: He's not there. I get out and look around...don't see him anywhere. Strange...

I check in the Pizza Hut: No. The little restaurant: No. Starbucks: No. I check the rest of the businesses: Nowhere to be seen. I go back to the Jeep. It's been at least fifteen minutes now since he left his truck. Cherish's mocha is getting cold, and I've got to...well. I've already had four cups of coffee...enough said? I go one more round. That's when I see him. He's sitting outside of Starbucks...smoking and drinking a soda. I walk over. It starts off pleasant...at least on my part.

"Hi."

"Hey."

"Your truck is blocking my Jeep..."

"So?"

"Would you mind moving it please?"

"Fuck you old man."

A million thoughts go through my head at once: He's at least twenty years younger than me...even sitting down, I can tell he's about six two-three and about two thirty to two forty...I've got an artificial left knee that needs to be replaced...broken bones in my left foot...my right knee is shot from years of over compensating for the left one...both of my shoulders are busted and need surgery...I've got three degenerating disks in my back...the nerve damage is killing me...and he said"Old man"?

"What?"

"I said Fuck you, you latte sippin' old man."

I had a number of nicknames when I was on the job...none of them good. One of them was IA...Instant Asshole. The guys said I went from pleasant to prick in a heartbeat...some things never change.

I was able to persuade the young man, in a relatively short time, that he might have been in error...at least about the latte sipping part. He decided to move his truck. Damn near ground the gears to death trying to get out.

I won't repeat the whole conversation...but I'm pretty sure he questioned my sanity...once or twice. It was gratifying to know that I could still be persuasive...it's my boyish charm...always endears me to people.

I was laughing about it by the time I got home...and told Cherish about it after I rushed to the...you remember I'd had four cups of coffee. We both had a good laugh.

It was a big day for Cherish...I'm not going to say why...not my place on a public blog. But it was an emotional day for her. She left not long after, and was gone for almost three hours. She gave me a card when she got back.

On the outside, it read:

I believe
I believe in mind over matter
I believe in miracles and blessings, both great and small
I believe in the Human Spirit to prevail
I believe that hurdles in life are meant to be jumped over, not as something to stop us
I believe in possibilities

When you open up the card, it says:

I believe in you.

Beneath that, Cherish had written...

And I'll never believe that you are a latte sipping old man...
You're the best!!
Cherish

Might be the sweetest card I've ever gotten.

Chance went to the community center that night with his best friend. Cherish suggested we go out to eat...just the two of us. We went to Norm's Garden, a little Chinese place close by.

We tried to remember, on the way over, the last time the two of us went out to eat...or anything else for that matter, alone. Neither one of us could remember when it was. Obviously, a very long time. We're always busy...short on money...working...and we have kids...and no babysitters. Chance is old enough to stay with just Crystal now, but we're just not in the habit of doing anything. Too many years of not having the option, I guess.

We sat and talked while we waited for our food. ..about everything. The kids...the future...just everything. It was wonderful. Best of all, I got to show off my beautiful wife to the world...and gaze adoringly across the table at her. I was never going to get married again. Ever. Then I met Cherish. I thought, when I met her, that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life...and she's more beautiful today than she was then. Incredible. We ate...laughed...went home...and cuddled watching TV.

It was a great...the best night I can remember in a long, long time.

Our lives contain long stretches of desert. Some peoples stretches are longer than others. Drier. Hotter. Almost unendurable...but God always gives us an oasis every now and then. Sometimes they're big and last for quite awhile...and other times they're very small...and gone before you know it. The trick, as I see it, is...enjoy each and every oasis that you are fortunate enough to get. Appreciate it. Savor it. Fold it up like a treasured photo or poem, and stuff it in your heart...then you can take it out when you need to...on those long stretches of desert...

Life is the journey...not the destination.

My wife is my Oasis.

5 comments:

abaddon911 said...

good advice and great story.
I love stories like this.
I love any story really.

Singer416 said...

That is soooo sweet! Thank you for sharing this story. It's beautiful to see how much you love Cherish and that the whole world can know it.

Lacy Blake said...

You and Mom are both my Oasis'. I love you guys, this was an inspiring piece that I needed to get me through a stressful day like today. I love you.

PollyB said...

Thanks for sharing another great story. I agree with you, your wife is a beautiful woman and I can tell that the two of you are true soulmates. I look forward to the day that I can meet you in person. Thanks for sharing your stories....I'm so happy for my friend that she has such a loving husband. Keep up the good work :)

Off.to.Broadway said...

What an amazing story. You have an undeniable charm that comes through in your writing. I love reading your stories and I love when you talk about your family. I hope you happy days for the future.

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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled ex-cop...screenwriter...novelist...actor...and more than a little rough around the edges...