|Are you a morning person?
|A few years ago a friend and I packed up our two 3-year-olds and our two 1-year-olds and set out on an 18-hour journey from central Texas to Colorado. She and her husband owned a cabin and we decided to spend some time enjoying the Colorado mountains. Our husbands would join us later in the week via airplane.
It was about 6 a.m. on a bright August morning when we packed the toddlers and toddler paraphernalia into her tank-like SUV and began the ambitious fiasco, I mean, journey. Soon, all four children blessedly fell asleep and I began the conversation.
“Barb, it looks like we’re going to have great weather today. The weather channel said that it’s clear sailing. Oh, and did you read that article about marriage in Reader’s Digest?”
“I thought the parallels she drew were fascinating. Oh, and I tried the Chicken Picatta recipe you gave me. Fantastic. Barb, where did you find such an easy recipe?”
“Uh. I dunno.”
“Barb, Phil and I were thinking the other day about some of the deep things you and I discussed about parenting. He agrees that none of us really knows what we’re doing. What did you think about the new Dobson book about raising boys?”
“Uh. I dunno. Lisa, please stop.”
“Stop? Stop what?”
“Stop talking? Why?”
“It’s not even 8 a.m. There should be no talking in the world before 8 a.m.”
“You’re kidding, right? You’re saying you can’t carry on a conversation before 8?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I mean, I might find a few words here and there, but they won’t make sense. Give me some time.”
I was in shock. I had heard people talk about one’s bodily “clock.” But I’m a morning person. My husband is a morning person. We get up at 6 and discuss politics, theology and family finances before we even have our first cup of coffee. But Barb was a highly respected friend and I honored her request.
At about 8 p.m., I was ready to stop at a hotel for the night. Barb said enthusiastically, “Oh Lisa, we don’t want to do that! Let’s go on in! We’ll get there before midnight! No reason to waste time with a hotel stop!”
I hesitantly agreed to the plan. At 10 p.m., she said, “The kids are asleep now and you can keep me company! Won’t this be FUN?”
“You know. You mentioned earlier that you and Phil had read the book about raising boys. We read it too and I was just wondering if you understood the deep implications about the phases of life?”
“Uh-huh. Uh, I dunno.”
“Also, Lisa, I wanted to talk to you about my cousin’s troubled marriage. I told her you might have some insight. It all started when they moved to Arizona and she didn’t have friends and then she got bitter at James and James was clueless ... ”
“Stop? Stop what?”
“Stop talking. It’s after 10 p.m. You can’t possibly expect me to provide marriage counseling after 10 p.m.”
“Because my speech will be slurred. I’ll give you $1,000 to stop at a hotel.”
“But I thought you were going to keep me awake!”
“No, Barb, I was going to lay my head on a pillow at Motel 6, remember?”
We made it to the cabin around midnight. I’m sure we learned some valuable lessons on our late-night journey. I just can’t remember any of them.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger on 9.19.07