Twenty-four years ago after I met the man who would one day become my husband, I sat at a restaurant table with a girlfriend and gushed over his qualities. “He’s so handsome, smart, and oh my goodness, he is the best at telling stories!”
It’s funny how life comes full circle and then screeches to a stop right in front of your living room couch, as it did for me the other night.
My husband was in the middle of yet another one of his famous long stories—the kind that includes more details than The Federalist Papers and more descriptive adjectives than Fifty Shades of Grey. By the time he wrapped up his latest tale, I had mentally planned our family meals for the next three months, contemplated the theory of relativity, and escaped to a Caribbean island where I happily co-existed with no one else but the ghost of Gilligan.
“I took Oak Street to work today. You know the way, right honey?” I smiled and nodded as if urging him to actually continue. “I drove past the home improvement store, the car lot, and our accountants’ office, and then managed to snag a great spot next to my office building. The sky was blue, the grass was green, the birds were singing, a soft breeze was blowing, and oh, did I mention I found a scratch on my bumper?”
My eyes glazed over like a donut while I secretly wondered if there was a point to this story.
He continued, “More about that scratch later in the story. So I got into the office and realized I was hungry. It was almost like someone was reading my mind because lo and behold, there was a plate of delicious cookies right there in the break room, calling my name. There were chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and even molasses cookies. Oh wait … let me back up for a minute. Did I mention that I ran into Sylvia outside the building? She said she saw you at the grocery store the other day, but she didn’t have makeup on and her hair was a mess. She’s had the worst time lately. Did I tell you about her mother and her bout with irritable bowel syndrome?”
There was no question I had to do something or there wouldn’t be a tomorrow for either one of us. Then the angels sang, the clouds parted, and I saw a rainbow with just one word at the end of it. I blurted, “Anywaaaaaaaay …”
He stopped in mid-sentence. Something flickered in his eyes. I’m pretty sure it was his brain rewiring. Then he said, “Oh yeah, all I really wanted to tell you is that I had the best chocolate chip cookie today. We should check out Chubby’s bakery this weekend.”
Wow. Who knew the power of just one word?
My husband is still the best storyteller around. But I’ll admit, it takes one to know one. Did I ever tell you the story about how we met? It is the funniest story ever. I was at an outdoor concert with a girlfriend. I rode my mountain bike there. That bike had the weirdest tires. My neck used to really hurt after a ride. I wonder why? It was a hot evening and mosquitos were everywhere. I had the best hair that night though. That was back when I used hot rollers and lots of hairspray. Oh, and my outfit. I have to tell you about my outfit. Spandex shorts and a cropped top. It was truly spectacular.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” —Philip Pullman