“The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew…” -Robert Burns, To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with a Plough
This weekend, most of my schemes have fallen apart, but it’s been nice anyway. Phi Lamb’s Active Retreat was Friday night til Saturday morning. After this, I planned to head to Rolla to spend the rest of the weekend with Michael. But at the last minute, we decided he was too busy with projects and I had a lot to get done here, so we stayed in our respective towns. I ended up cleaning my whole house, which gives me a great sense of satisfaction whenever I look at it. I also got to have a lovely movie night with my friend Ashley…girls nights are few and far between, so I’m really glad we got to do it. Today, a friend from home and her boyfriend came to church with me. Well, they brought themselves but came at my invitation.
Seeing as it was so nice outside, I got the harebrained idea that Michael and I should each drive halfway to each other and meet in the middle for a hike/picnic. I discovered Painted Rock Conservation Area, 7 miles southwest of Westphalia, exactly halfway between Rolla and Columbia. Sure, it’d be almost an hour drive for each of us and we’d have very little time together. Michael had to be back in Rolla at 6 for a project meeting. But we were undaunted. Plans were made and off we went.
I never made it Westphalia. It all went swimmingly until I got a flat tire in Jefferson City. I’m not a very girly girl, so it is with great shame that I admit I’ve never changed a tire before. I know how to jump a car and I know where most of the key components are in an engine, but I’ve just never had to change a flat yet. I called Michael, who volunteered to drive the rest of the way to Jeff City and change the tire for me. While I waited for him, I walked a couple of miles down to the Missouri River since this was supposed to be a hiking excursion. I watched a farmer harvest his corn. I threw a stick into the river and watched it get swept away by the muddy current. Seeing the ripples spread brought to mind how things fall into our lives that we don’t ask for, and have long-lasting effects that we might not foresee. This metaphor considered, I walked back to my car where Michael had already begun changing my tire. He did pretty much all the work, but showed me and let me try every step, so I now know how to change my own tire.
At this point, we didn’t exactly have time to carry out our plans, but still wanted to eat the picnic we’d brought. After a false start at a winery that wouldn’t allow outside food, we ended up huddled in a pavilion at a run-down Jeff City park that boasted one sad baseball field. Despite all this, we enjoyed the cheese, crackers, grapes and apple. Most importantly, we enjoyed seeing each other briefly. It was certainly brief. As the sun began to sink, we knew he had to leave. He wasn’t going to make it back by 6…or 7. In fact, his group canceled their meeting all together. Oh well.
My favorite part is how we made the whole thing into a pleasant little excursion despite its disaster potential. My other favorite part is how sweet Michael was about it all. He never complained, though he had to drive farther than he’d planned and didn’t get to do what we came to do. He called me shortly after we parted to remind me not to drive over 50 mph on my doughnut. He called me again when I was in Ashland to make sure everything was going all right, that I still had 4 tires and that no one was hassling me for driving 50. He called me again when he made it to Rolla so I’d know. The moral? Every day’s a good day when you’re with the one who loves you.