See that lady in the pizzeria, with her husband on the veranda of the late-lamented Roland Garros Restaurant by raul Someş Mic in Cluj? She is Shirley Kimball McDougall, my wife, mama de patru de mi şase copii, my best friend on this Earth, my resident psychologist and therapist for almost 40 years, the one who finds lost things as if by magic, the warmer occupant of our marriage bed, and my emotional anchor.
Shirl is in Aspen, Colorado, over 3000 kilometers west of here. She has gone to visit our daughter Piper for a week. Isn't that wonderful?
Sure, it is!
Shirl is the woman who encouraged me to do a Fulbright year in Romania in 2008-09. She is the woman who suffered through my taking our sons Jamie and Jesse on a transcontinental motorcycle ride to the California coast in 1995 on three Suzukis. They were 18 and 16 at the time. (Shirl did not like it, but she allowed it, one of the greatest bonding experiences of my fatherhood.) This is the woman who tolerates my flirtations (with those irresistibly charming Romanian women), knowing in her heart, that I am hers, and hers alone. She is the woman I love most.
Last night, I phoned Shirl in Aspen, and learned that she has rescheduled her return flight to a week later than planned. She and Piper are having a great time. On Saturday they will go skiing, an activity that Shirl loved as a youngster and as a young adult, but has not done in decades. And, she has never skied Colorado powder. Both of them want more time to play together in the thin air.
When we discussed her rescheduling, my response had to be, "Go for it, lover!"
I miss you, dear wife! But, did I not spend 41 days last summer riding Rocinante to Fairbanks and back?
|With daughter Piper|
Have fun, dear girls! I love you both!