Definitely not Luau weather...
*Somerset, PA Daily American, March 28, 2010
as "She's One of Us"
Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Couey
It should come as no surprise that after 32 years, my wife can still surprise me. I thought I had her all figured out. I can detect that subtle inflection in her voice that tells me when she’s content, as well as that pulsing in her neck and jaw when I talk about buying something for the motorcycle. But even after all these years, she can still pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat.
There is a saying, “You can take a girl out of Hawaii, but you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.” This particular girl was born and raised in Hawaii and never lived in a cold environment until she moved to Missouri to finish her Nursing degree. It was a tough transition. Even with temperatures in the 60’s, usually shorts and flip-flop weather, she was wearing hat, gloves, and parka. When we began dating, I was amazed at how low her tolerance to cold was. At 70 degrees, she began donning layers. It was a bit of a letdown to find out that her cuddling was less about affection and more about heat.
In the last few weeks, the mountain of snow has melted, delighting us all. The other night, we were reminiscing about this past winter, one for the record books to be sure. I was waxing rhapsodic about motorcycle riding, a far-too common occurrence, I’m afraid. At one point, I remarked, “I bet you’re really glad that winter’s over.”
She sighed, tilted her head, and dropped this bombshell:
“Actually, I’m going to miss winter.”
I was stunned into silence. My girl, who had spent many wintry evenings, crouched in front of a roaring fireplace wrapped in a blanket (we really don’t like subsidizing Columbia Gas) had expressed fondness for what I had thought was her least favorite season.
When I had finally regained my use of speech, I asked why. She spoke about the beauty of the snowfall, the big fluffy lake-effect flakes. She also talked of sharing those peaceful those evenings with me. She loved building a fire in the fireplace; watching the flames; the snap of sparks and the comforting smell of woodsmoke as the logs were consumed.
I saw that her sense of poetry had been awakened and how touched she was by many of the same things I, too, loved about winter.
I had married a Polynesian Princess, but after just four Pennsylvania winters…
She has become one of us.
Sometime later this year, she’ll make her bi-ennial trip back to the islands. I know she’ll enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, and the incredible beauty of her homeland. She’ll revel in the love and fun of being with family and find once again that quiet little sense of peace she so desperately seeks.
Of course, Hawaiian culture is vastly different from Pennsylvania Mountain culture. After her sisters hear the first “Y’inz” or “Slippy” they may decide to have her de-programmed.