“Anniversary Weekend, Part II”

The day began… oddly. We were not awoken by a baby monitor, nor crying from the other room. In fact, I don’t know what woke us up, whether it was the sun peeking in through the curtains, some bump in the hallway, or maybe just the natural progression of sleep running its course. Whatever it was, it was abnormal, yet undeniably pleasant.  We brewed coffee, stayed in bed, read from our books and phones. Not having obligations is freeing.

When I emerged from the shower, a bright yellow envelope with my name on it lay waiting for me. I chuckled. Sonja’s favorite cards are Papyrus, and the anniversary card in my bag that I had to give to her was also bright yellow. The thought crossed my mind, and she asked me why I laughed.

As it turned out, we had purchased identical cards. I guess at a mere 5 years in, we know each other pretty well.

We dedicated the day to relaxation and enjoying one another. We had breakfast, then took a long walk up to a little farmstead where we tasted wine and got hot apple cider. We walked around the grounds, then up to an historic mansion. The inside stairways were something out of an M.C. Escher sketch, and there were pictures on the walls of the previous owner, the founder of Arbor Day, with men like Adlai Stevenson and Grover Cleveland. It’s funny to think of a Nebraskan in such a position of power today.


The house was immense and gorgeous. I think we both envisioned what it would be like to live there if given the chance.


When our lengthy walk had run its course, we returned to our room early in the afternoon and snacked on cheese, charcuterie, grapes, crackers, and wine that would eventually become dinner as the day drew on. We had opened a special bottle of wine, the Robledo Seven Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. It’s special in part because it’s from Robledo, a winery we love and visited on our honeymoon, and in part because its from the year we were there, the year of our honeymoon. Spicy cloves and blackberry, red currants, cranberries, and cinnamon, it’s a delightful wine, and the perfect companion for cheese, relaxation, and excellent company. We took advantage of the pool and hot tub, lounged in bed, read, and talked about life. We snacked and sipped at the wine. We watched a movie, Man On The Moon, which I hadn’t seen in fifteen years. I finished my book, The Hate U Give (an extraordinary book), and we finished the wine.

Oddly enough, it got a little boring sitting around all evening on Saturday.  I suppose you get used to the chaos that is normal life so having nothing to do but relax can make the time go slowly. We soaked it up however, knowing that we’d be back to reality before we knew it.

This morning we’ll grab breakfast, and then I’m leaving for Washington D.C. with 24 students. It’s going to be hard to leave this place, but wonderful to transition into something so meaningful and fulfilling as sharing our nation’s greatest city with young people. Sonja will return home to the kids and, I trust, love them for the both of us until I can return. It’s been a fantastic first five years of marriage. I’m looking forward to the next five. And the next.

Cheers to relaxation and time spent in good company,


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