By Victoria Wienke
At this time of year everyone is busy getting ready for the holidays – shopping, wrapping, baking and getting together with friends and family that many times we haven’t seen in a year.
It’s also a time of memories – of past Christmas holidays, of special times with friends and family and catching up on things we’ve missed in their lives.
When you reach your 70s, you also find this is a time for being extremely grateful for life and the special people in our lives we all too often take for granted. In the last few weeks I’ve attended Christmas gatherings with women from different phases of my life but all close in age. I realized driving home that over half of these women have deceased husbands. One friend will experience her first Christmas alone this year.
This thought made me realize how blessed I am to still have my husband and for the many things he does for me. He has been my soulmate for 51 years. Although I admit that at times I find him frustrating, I would be lost without him and I need to tell him more frequently. Why is it that we often take the things that mean the most to us for granted?
My husband does the typical husband things around the house – lawn mowing, trimming, snow blowing, is excellent at repairing things and very good at using the “MacGyver” method when necessary, although not always to our daughter’s liking. Case in point – when he replaced our daughter’s broken car door handle with a shoestring for her to pull it was not well received. But it did work.
In addition, my husband is an excellent cook and loves finding new recipes. He retired six years before me and it was a welcome treat to come home from a stressful day of work and be able to sit down to a delicious dinner. Now we try to take turns as we both love to cook but if I don’t decide by noon what I’m cooking, he will take over. But I will admit that most of my friends would love to have a husband who took a turn cooking.
This man in my life is also a master carpenter – a real bonus for a woman who is always doing crafts. He has a workshop where he spends many of his retirement hours. As long as I can draw a diagram or show him a picture, he can make anything.
Both of our daughters also take advantage of Dad’s skill with projects for their homes and as a result, he has built bookcases, shelves, cat bunk beds, wall cat beds, bathroom barn doors, shoe racks, wine carriers, wood Christmas trees and snowmen, etc. He absolutely loves working with wood and we love and are fortunate to have an in-house carpenter.
My husband is a retired teacher and sports official for five different sports. As a result, I fully accept the fact that our TV will, 95 percent of the time, be tuned to a sporting event. Although I like a good football or hockey game, I do like to watch other things on TV. Fighting to get the remote out of his hands after he has fallen asleep is quite a chore. And even after being successful he often wakes up, grabs the remote and changes the TV back and then falls asleep again.
I realize we won’t be here forever but that boy next door who was such a pest in school has stolen a big part of my heart and I know I’m not complete without him. He is my “jack of all trades” and world traveling companion and I pray I will have him by my side for a while.
Victoria Wienke, of Hamburg, doesn’t mind wrestling the remote from her husband.