A Cup of Wine and Thou

By Susan Traugh

As I glanced through the Facebook pictures of friends wining, dining and having fun, I was jealous.

Hovering at retirement age, but broke and raising two grown, disabled daughters, my husband and I worked. And worked. And worked some more. We hadn’t had a vacation in over a decade, never took a weekend off and barely got out once a week for dinner. We barely talked beyond the day-to-day functional talk of organizing therapy visits, coordinating work schedules and getting laundry done.

This was definitely not the retirement I imagined for us when we began this journey. No, when we began, we lived in a romantic cottage replicated from Italy and nestled on the cliffs of California overlooking Catalina Island. When we began, we took long walks past horse-ranches set among rows of pepper trees and cooled by the fragrant breezes from the sea. We spent evenings on our terrace, sipping wine and watching the ships pass between the shore and the island. It was nothing if not idyllic.

Then, I dreamed of being a writer, publishing the great American novel and writing works of “significance.” My husband was composing music for symphonies and school children alike. I dreamed we would continue our work and retire someday to a life just like that which we were living, but with the peace and grace of old age and accomplishment to warm us into a sunset of our years.

But that was then and this is now. And now, money is short and chores are numerous. Yes, he composed, but he also worked two jobs. Yes, I write, and have even written my first novel, but only in the middle of the night as I spend my days helping the girls and their expenses are such that we’d never been able to save a dime, let alone consider retirement. So, now and forever, we work.

And I was becoming more and more resentful of the austerity of my life.

Until last week.

Last week I was invited to a cocktail party for a publisher representing some of my writing. I took my girlfriend and we networked and schmoozed. A typical Southern California affair, we sat by an outdoor fireplace and tasted international hors d’oeuvres while sipping local wine.

And I was in heaven. The gorgeous weather. The adult conversation. The tasty tidbits. And the wine – the glorious, sensuous, fabulous wine.

And it hit me. My life was drudgery because I let it be so. My relationship with my husband was perfunctory because I allowed it to be.

And, despite our workload – it didn’t have to be.

So, I bought some wine – a $4.46 “award winner” – barbequed some chicken and made some bruschetta. I pulled my man outside, and we sat in the light of the sunset, savoring our wine and talking – no, actually talking – while the chicken cooked.

After we’d spent that hour alone, the girls came outside and we sat down to a lovely dinner of engaging conversation and melodic laughter on a warm, spring night. As we cleared the table and watched the girls go in to clean up, my husband reached over, grabbed my hand and said, “It doesn’t get much better than this.”

The next day, we were again holding hands as we walked along the beach and shared an ice cream. The day after that, we took a walk to watch the colors in the sky as the sun set and came home to sit on the patio and share the end of the wine. As we polished off the bottle, my husband lifted his glass and toasted, “$4.46 well spent!”

But, I knew I’d turned our relationship back the way I wanted when he reached over, touch his glass to mine and said, “It’s all I’ve ever needed – a cup of wine and thou.”

About this writer

  • Susan Traugh

    Susan Traugh

    Susan Traugh lives in San Diego with her husband and three grown children. Her Transition 2 Life series offers adulting help for teens with special needs and is used worldwide. The Edge of Brilliance is a young adult novel that tells of the heroic struggle of a young girl with bipolar disorder and is available on Amazon. For more, go to www.susantraugh.com.

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2 Responses to “A Cup of Wine and Thou”

  1. Rose Ann says:

    I loved this essay! Sometimes, we need to take a step back and begin again. Great reminder!

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Susan, your enjoyable story proves that sometimes our dreams turn out to be different from what we expected, but we can still find balance and special time.

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