Betty J. Slade
This week, I came to a new understanding about an age-old parable. It is a familiar story about a treasure hidden in a field. A man sold everything he had to buy that field, then knowing the joy of possessing the treasure within.
I said to my Sweet Al. "I think I bought the field when we got married."
"What are you talking about?"
"A field of treasure. I had no idea what treasure I would find within the boundaries of our marriage. Neither one of us knew what we would discover in each other when we married. So, why did you choose me?"
"Because you were as cute as a button, fun and I loved your ducktail."
Needless to say, my ducktail got an updo around the same time that Al's widow's peak faded from view, but I digress. Yes, I also chose my Sweet Al because he was cute. Because he had good manners and a beautiful heart, too.
We bargained for each other. I would take care of his home, raise his children and be a good wife. In turn, he would love me, provide for me and protect me. Pretty simple. That was what marriage was all about, or so I thought.
After attending a concert in Albuquerque, a few nights before my "field of dreams" revelation, our family stopped at a fast-food restaurant. Our son and my Sweet Al were in one car, two of our daughters and I were in the other. We parked side by side and talked through the open windows while we waited on our food.
Al reminisced. "This reminds me when I would go to Bob's Drive-In. I would park, then meet a girl and make a date for Friday night. When my buddy arrived in his hopped-up Mercury, we would drive to the other side, talk to some other girls, and set up a date for Saturday night."
Heavens, my Sweet Al had transformed into a 16-year-old like in his high school days. He became Mr. Personality, full of wit and flirtation. He even tried a few pick-up lines on me then asked me out on a date. It was cute and a little corny. Mind you, three of our grown children were listening to their dad, snickering as they looked at me and waited for my response.
Flashbacks flooded my mind of a time when Al had only 19 cents to his name, just enough to buy a gallon of gas to take me home. He had a wolf call button installed in the floorboard of his 1955 Chevy and wasn't shy in using it. Sure enough, that was the field I fell in love with.
I chuckled as I listened to my 83-year-old husband flirt with me across the cars. Today, I know fully what treasure I inherited in "the field" I married 60 years ago. It has taken years of digging to find it. First with a shovel, then a backhoe. But eventually, I found the hidden, priceless treasure that lay beneath the surface.
Somewhere between the rocks and tumbleweeds, and the days of our youth and now, I've gained a clear vision of something I didn't know I would find all those years ago. It is interesting that it would take going to a concert with our children for two old dawdling seniors to relapse into a teen's world.
My Sweet Al and I each brought different elements into our relationship. Al felt an obligation to work hard for the family so I could be a stay-at-home mom and spend time working on my art. My work, however, didn't bring much financial value, but certainly required I make whatever we had stretch as far as it could.
When we needed extra money, I'd pick up an old piece of furniture from the thrift store, paint on it, then sell it to fill in any gaps. The things we needed "to do" to survive have always been important. But the things we have uncovered as we walked through our field together seems to yield a greater deposit.
Final brushstroke: Over the years, the fields we purchase uncover so many treasures. For me and my Sweet Al, there is love, trust, peace and so many other things that made a good marriage and home. Little did we know all those years ago that we would uncover diamonds in our own backyard.
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