Mike regaled me with gifts this Christmas: a coat from Land’s End, new cookware, dress gloves, and, to top it off, a two-night stay at the Marriot in Lancaster, PA. I gasped when we pulled up—can we afford this?? Mike assured me that off-season rates made the hotel affordable, and we got “free buffet breakfast!” as he repeatedly said with a certain gusto. I think the conquestual nature of men makes finding good bargains feel like killing the Mastodon. I flashed on my father bringing home cheap, greasy, delicious food from the Flamingo Bar in Destin, Florida, reveling in the low price. Such men have one foot on the Mastodon’s neck and a chicken leg in their right hand. Or, in Mike’s case, a bran muffin.
Before we tasted a crumb of the buffet breakfast, though, we soaked up another perk: the hotel pool. It took a while for the underused hot tub to warm up, but once it did we had a nice bubble and a lovely chat with a man from Boston who turned out to be a pastor, missionary, and, like me, crusader for clergy abuse prevention. We knew so many of the same people, places and causes, that our talk conclusively proved the six degrees of separation theory. One example: a sister church of his rents from the Beverly, MA Adventist church where my daughter will be giving a concert this month.
The following day, Sunday, Mike and I laid out some loose plans: we’d hike, then shop, then eat at the Olive Garden, then check out a Christmas light show, then come back for more bubbly time in the hot tub and pool. Little did we realize that the hiking options stunk. Lancaster is Amish farm country, flat as a . . . . well, a corn field. Shopping was abysmal, too—it was religious, Sunday-keeping Amish country and almost none of their cute little shops were open! (See above root bear sign.) The (non-Amish) Christmas lights, for which we were supposed to pay $7 per car, were little more than a football field full of blow-up Santas and Walmart reindeer (see above). A break from the malfunctions came with the Olive Garden. Now I see the beauty of franchise. One always knows one will get what one expects.
As Mike and I enjoyed the predictably delicious eggplant, salad, and minestrone, we talked. It’s amazing how two people who’ve been in each others’ presence nonstop for thirty years can still find something to talk about, but we did. We counseled on interpersonal dramas, swapped opinions about people and events, and reminisced of times past.
To summarize: In this day of find-your-soulmate, I recommend marriage, where you make your soulmate. In times of it’s-just-not-working, I recommend marriage, where you work it out. When the mindset all around says, “Rich emotional fulfillment above all else, even if you have to divorce to find it,” I recommend marriage, because when you’re wrinkled and incontinent it will be very emotionally fulfilling to have the spouse of your youth look in your fading eyes and say, “I remember when you were twenty-five.”
Thanks, Mike, for the last thirty years. And the Christmas vacation at the Marriot.
A major Alison Brook tour will take place in New England this January and February. Come out for the blessing! See details at www.alisonbrook.com.
I’m working on a book, Jesus Psychology, due to be published by Pacific Press this spring. I’m also discussing with the staff of Hope TV the possibility of doing 13 shows based on the book. If you feel that the message of biblical inner healing needs more exposure, contact Hope TV and tell them you recommend me: Call 888-446-7388 or email Kandus Thorp at email@example.com