The Earring

As told by me on Twitter:


It’s late, but that means it’s good timing for a bedtime story. Six years ago, my wife and I snuck away for a long weekend in Chicago. It was her first time in the Windy City, and we picked a blustery few days to be there. Very cold. We bundled up.

We did a lot of touristy stuff in the Loop, all fun: Art Institute, Sears Tower, shops on Michigan. We stayed at my favorite hotel, the Palmer House.

I thought it would be fun to have a drink before dinner at the bar at the top of the Hancock building, so up we went. The view was fun, the drinks quite nice, the atmosphere all you could ask. I wanted to show Kel the basement bar a few blocks down at the Drake, so off we went.

All Quiet on the Christmas Front

Christmas in the basement

There was a time for everything.


It needs no further explanation to say this was our first Christmas in the midst of a pandemic, and it was certainly different. Surprisingly, it might have been better.

Christmas days of years past were often filled with family merry-go-rounds, sprints between relatives’ roosts, packing up a car with presents, then unpacking them, wishing folks well, eating, unwrapping, repacking, driving, and repeating ad infinitum. Coming back home at the end of a multi-family quest was a gift in itself.

The Christmas Day race course had grown shorter in recent years. Family trees thin at the top and grow at the bottom. The trips to grandparents’ houses are now memories; with kids of our own to tow around, we move around less and less.

On Marriage

Sometime in the early dark of evening on this winter solstice, my marriage to Kelly will officially turn 18 years old. It will be old enough to vote. Our relationship has really grown up. Heck, it’s old enough to get married itself! These, I should point out, are the khaki-wearing Dad-joke punchlines I’ve been wearing out the last several days. When you’ve been married for 18 years, it means you are officially old enough* to make cornball quips like this.

The term of years in this year’s anniversary hit me a bit harder than normal. Perhaps it’s because I remember turning 18 myself–because I was in college. When I turned 18, among other things, I bought a pack of cigarettes at the convenience store. I didn’t smoke, but I thought it would be interesting just to buy a pack, Joe Cool on campus and whatnot. Fortunately our marriage behaves much better than a college freshman.

Newlyweds often mark anniversaries with notes about how in love they are, or how lucky they are to spend the rest of their lives with their partners. Couples who are new parents change up the language a bit, admiring their other halves for the mothers or fathers they are.

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