Clash of Concepts

November 13 – Sulky

Why are all these Class of Concept words so negative? I suppose it’s my job to turn this around.

The first time I ever saw a sulky was about 1991. Rodney and I had only been married about three years and Tyler was barely in his second year. We decided we needed a little getaway, so we got a dear friend to watch Tyler, and Rodney planned a “red” night for us—sorta.

We went to dinner at Red Lobster—where we went on our first date, although a different location—watched harness racing (hence the sulky reference) at The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky—where we saw a guy have a heart attack and die—and spent the night at the Lexington Green hotel—there’s where the “sorta” comes in, since he thought about Red Roof Inn, but wanted something a little classier—and that it was.

Although seeing the man code in front of us at the race track wasn’t an exciting time, we had a non-sulky evening remembering that we were two people who fell in love and started a life—and a family— together. Those days were difficult, because we were young, still getting used to sharing a life together, and learning how to be providers and caregivers for another human being. At the same time, we both were launching dream careers and coping with living an hour apart from one another.

It’s weird to look back on those days and realize how little we knew about each other. Now, as we prepare to celebrate our 29th anniversary, we know each other better than anyone else does. He’s probably the only person who would willingly put up with me for that long. And vice versa.

We’ve definitely had our ups and downs through the years, but I look at young people now who struggle to find the person they’re meant to be with—or even someone they can tolerate for more than a few months—and I’m grateful that one crazy summer night I turned left when I pulled out of Hardee’s restaurant in Nashville, Indiana. At that very moment, as I sat at the stoplight waiting for it to turn green, I knew I was facing a life-altering decision. Left or right?

That seemingly small decision—to turn left—actually put into motion the next 30 years. Without that decision, we would not have ended up married, Tyler wouldn’t exist, Zach wouldn’t either, and neither would any of the happy moments I have experienced in my life.

I am grateful for that decision, and I’m grateful for the sulky that reminded me of how fortunate I was to spend my life with the love of my life.

So, how’s that for turning it around?

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