The heavily forested hillside of our Christmas-treeing expedition outside of the college town of Pullman, Washington, reverberated with calls of our friends.
“Char, where are you?”
“Evelyn, are you still behind me?”
Calls to Mary, Beth, and Carolyn, but never did I hear, “Joannie, where are you?”
After our group had the Christmas trees cut and strapped to our respective cars, we all had a last cup of hot chocolate before we headed home. On the drive home, I sat stiffly on the front seat along side Ric. He seemed perfectly happy. I was not. Finally, I petulantly asked, “Why don’t your ever check on me? All the other guys check on their wives or girlfriends?”
He looked across at me, shook his head and said, “I don’t have to call for you. I know which rocks are going to interest you, which plants you will stop to look at, how many sugar pine cones you are going to gather. There is not a time that I can’t walk right to where you are. I always know where you are. I always will.”
This story was first published as a Christmas present for my family in the 2007 book, Along the Way, Stories from Here and There.