Thanksgiving, 2007. The succulent Thanksgiving turkey had morphed into turkey tetrazzini and all the pumpkin pie and turkey cookies had been devoured. Mr. Smith loaded up his car and headed off to his new adventure in Pennsylvania and I remained in Indiana, taking care of and trying to sell our home. Then 2007 turned into 2008 and I was still taking care of the house waiting for some lucky person to snap up our cozy, charming home and it make it theirs.
Perhaps you remember 2008, the subprime mortgage crisis, the abominable housing market, the great recession of 2008. Our house wasn’t selling. For a while we were cruising along peachy keen. Mr. Smith was wrapped up in his new position and I had a job that I loved. We would rendezvous every other weekend and spent a lot of time on the phone.
But then I hit a wall. I was living in a 2,800 square foot home all alone. I was shoveling walks, taking out trash, attending to all the details of our house on my own and I was getting LONELY! We decided that whether or not the house sold, we needed to set an end date. We looked at the calendar and our responsibilities and decided another 12 weeks was more than enough of our long-distance marriage.
Having an end date in sight was helpful, but I was still lonely and looking for a way to deal with the weeks stretched out in front of me. I focused on the “12” and in my usual stream of consciousness thinking I thought – there are 12 bottles in a case of wine. And the best gift I ever gave found its roots.
I was paid weekly back then, so every payday I would buy a bottle of wine to give to Mr. Smith and write a little tag for it. This gave me something to look forward and I’d spend the week thinking about what kind of wine to buy that Friday. I chose bottles that had a significance to us – something we shared regularly at a local bistro, a champagne for toasting, something I knew Mr. Smith would appreciate. It was satisfying and thrilling to watch the lineup of bottles of wine grow over the subsequent weeks. I would gleefully hide them when Mr. Smith was coming home for a visit.
I booked the movers and did a lot of purging, all the while watching the number of bottles of wine grow. On one of my wine buying trips, a very agreeable salesperson gifted me with a handsome wooden box to present my gift in. The movers came and packed up all our worldly possessions minus the case of wine which I personally drove to Pennsylvania. I took great pleasure in presenting Mr. Smith with his “house-warming” gift.
It’s over a decade later, the house did eventually sell, and Mr. Smith will still tell you that case of wine with its handwritten, heartful tags is the best gift he’s ever received. Isn’t it amazing that the best gift I ever gave was the best gift he ever received???
C’est la vie.