One fine day

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Normally, Gideon and I spend Sundays at home watching "Forensic Files" and playing with the cat. That's been especially true lately, because it's been too hot to do much else. This Sunday was different. It was a Sunday for the ages.

We woke up early and milled around in the kitchen for a while. Gideon started some schoolwork at the kitchen table. He's recently begun a master's program at UCA and has more reading than I'd ever want to do. As he did this, I made a bowl of cereal and sat on the couch. The cat started crying, clearly wanting to be let outside. I'm spineless, so I stopped what I was doing and let him out onto our balcony.

That was when I realized it was going to be a magical day. For the first day in months, it was cool outside. I alerted Gideon, who was too focused on one of his massive textbooks to care. I told him that we'd go for a walk when he was done reading, and he nodded. It was more of a leave-me-alone kind of nod, but I took it as confirmation.

Sure enough, we headed out on our normal route an hour later. I kept proclaiming how incredible it was that I could wear leggings and thick socks mid-August. Gideon talked about his schoolwork. Eventually, the conversation turned to politics. We spoke to each other without any barriers, even though we do have some different political views. Our differences didn't matter as much as our desire to air them out, to figure out how we come to the conclusions we do.

On our way back from the walk, we ran into a couple we know. We chatted for a while. We were just catching up. Gideon asked them what they planned to do for the rest of the day, and they said they were going to the river. They invited us. Now, I wasn't exactly raised around rivers and lakes. My nana had a swimming pool for most of my childhood, and our family usually gathered there on nice days to swim and relax.

But this Sunday, I felt like Gideon and I needed to go to the river. It wouldn't make any sense to stay inside on a day this beautiful, I thought. An hour or so later, we were off. We headed to a private swimming hole and spent the next two hours floating. Gideon sat near the bank and pointed out all the little fish he could see through the water. The day heated up, but it was still cool. Around 4 p.m., I began to understand why people like going to the river so much.

It was about this time when the guys decided to head out for food, leaving the girls at the river. As the truck pulled away from the river, the two of us sat overlooking the water. The sun beat down on us, but it didn't feel that hot. We started talking, discussing things that certainly wouldn't qualify as small talk. We described our fears and anxieties, how we grew up, the things we regret and the things we still haven't done. It was the kind of talk you can't have with everybody. It was cathartic.

A couple paddled by and asked us how we were doing. We responded in a similar way; the day was great, the water was great ... everything was great. The couple explained that they decided to spent a short time on the water after seeing how nice the weather was. "It would be a shame to waste a day as beautiful as this," one of them said as they paddled away.

About 30 minutes later, we heard the truck pull up. The doors slammed, and we could hear feet stomping against the trail. Before the guys returned, I thanked my friend for inviting us to come with them. She said she just hoped we had a good time.

"Of course," I said. "It's nice when days turn out better than you expect."

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.