“Be my life companion . . . . “

I admit it.  I’m a romantic dreamer.  In fact, that’s probably why I’m a writer. I can imagine all sorts of stories. I loved romantic dreaming when I was a teenager, and the title of this blog comes from a song popular then.  All I remember is how it started, “Be my life companion and you’ll never grow old.

(Never grow old? Young-uns today probably don’t realize yet that, whether we’re 26 or 76; inside, we’re still the same.)

My husband and I have been married for a good many years and have always enjoyed being companions. We love doing projects together. For a very long time that project was creating a homestead in the Arkansas Ozarks. We  bought our land ten years before we moved here full-time, and our first job was making a clearing in the forest to build a weekend cabin. We bought two chain saws and got to work. On weekends and during vacation time we cut down trees, large and small and cut out underbrush. I learned to use a come-along (helps guides trees in a proper fall) while my husband chewed through trunks with the big gasoline powered saw. Then it was my job to cut logs to firewood size. For that, I had a smaller electric saw.  We also bought a wood splitter and worked as a team when we operated that.

We built our cabin by ourselves for the most part.  Wonderful companionship, and we were both doing jobs that were really important. We were a team.  It was hard work, but I’ve never been happier.

After we moved here full time our work split.  First, John and friends went to work expanding the cabin into a larger home.  I was the gofer, but, otherwise, there was no part for me. Honestly?  I was unhappy most of the time. No more shared chores or companionship. John was even busy in the  evenings.  Supplies had to be planned and ordered, work schedules figured.  One good thing. I began writing during that time, and sold articles and essays about the Ozarks to magazines and newspapers.

After the house was finished, our life still split during week days, as is common to most couples.   John worked in town at various jobs, I did house cleaning for others as well as at home, and continued my non-fiction writing.  Retirement?  Though we were certainly at an age when some contemplate that, it wasn’t in the cards for us.  Besides . . . wouldn’t we be bored?

On weekends we worked outside most of the year. I had a huge vegetable garden, John took care of mowing. We both tended to necessary upkeep around our 23 acres. Time passed.

When my fiction writing career took off, our work split again. Outside chores were reduced to the nearest possible minimum, my vegetable garden was abandoned.  John, who had been “retired” from the bookkeeping job in town and replaced by a much younger female, now helped me with record keeping for my work as a writer.  We each spent days in our separate home offices.

Then, interest was shown in a quirky cookbook featuring recipes used by the definitely peculiar cooks, Carrie McCrite and Henry King, who star in my “Something to die for” mystery series.  John volunteered to prepare that cookbook.  Now, we’re back to companionable activity in a big way. We pour over recipes, compare, organize.

And we cook!  Every day one new item is tested.  We read recipes, discuss possible alterations,  grocery shop, come home to chop, mix, and cook. We’re a kitchen team, with John as chef and Radine as assistant.  Talk about companionship!  I recommend it.  You never know where your life will go!

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