It’s somewhere past 10 o’clock on July 2nd and I’m excited to hear the putt-putt of SweetEsther pulling into the driveway at last. The day before, I had put my husband on a plane, headed to Vancouver to bring our 1982 Westfalia home from the Volkswagon mechanic where she had spent the past month getting back into shape for the summer. I watched the Canada Day fireworks from our deck without him, and he spent his first night sleeping in SweetEsther without me. It’s all terribly codependent and maudlin, but I digress.
Hugs, kisses, professions of loneliness, yada yada yada.
“I’ll help you bring in your stuff,” I say, as we head out to the van together.
Husband Randy stops and looks at me – it’s that look he has when he’s thinking something and not saying it. Hmm.
Then out of the blue he says, “Do you want your birthday present?” My birthday isn’t for another 28 days.
“Is it something too big to hide til the end of the month?” I ask.
“Then I can wait.” There’s that look again, with just a hint of disappointment. “Unless you want me to want it now.”
“I do. I kinda do!”
“Then, yah! Presents!”
He opens the sliding side door of the van and pulls a distinctively shaped box out of the back where it has been nestled safely among mattresses and sleeping bags for the 800 kilometre trip. Now I am jumping up and down, clapping my hands like a three-year-old, because I’ve wanted this so badly but I hadn’t even dreamed that this is what he would bring me.
It’s the most beautiful thing ever: a lovely mahogany Gretsch tenor ukulele! I take it out of the case and strum . . . it’s remained perfectly in tune, and it resonates like a dozen heavenly voices. Too much? You would have to hear the comparative sound of my beloved & well traveled beginner soprano ukulele that has to be re-tuned after every song to understand. Besides, Husband Randy just took extra hours and travel time on an already arduous solo journey, to stop at Long & McQuade to procure this beauty for me. Because he felt I was worth it. That is, perhaps, the sweetest gift of all.
Happy Birthday-month to me!