Plain packages offer the best gifts

Published 9:41am Friday, November 16, 2012

“Kangaroo truck stop up at the exit’s got pumpkin donuts now,” I commented to Paul, focused intently on his I-pad.

“Hmm.”

“The pumpkin donuts are back,” I repeated. “For the holidays.”

“I thought you didn’t want all that sugary stuff,” Paul said.

“Well, I don’t, but you know, I always look forward to it…”

People often use the phrase, “If someone had told me, 10 years ago, that today, I’d be doing…(fill in the blank), I’d have told them they were crazy.”

I guess this is my crazy time.

It wasn’t much more than a decade ago that Paul and I sat quietly in a northern Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills – a rare treat indeed – and savored the remnants of our dinner: black linguine and diced, smoked salmon served in a delicate champagne sauce.

Our pinot noir sparkled with ruby tones from the glow of the candle on the table and looking forward to the best tiramisu I’ve ever had, before or since, our eyes met.

“We’re not going to be eating like this once we move to Landrum,” Paul said, taking one last loving look at his plate being cleared away by a white-jacketed waiter.

“No,” I said, dabbing my lips with the napkin. “No, we won’t. But it won’t be too far a drive if we simply must have something very sophisticated, and there’s really some nice places, locally.”

We were on the cusp of leaving our home of 15 years with lots of eager anticipation and a handful of reservations: our close friends, my dressage coach and the exquisite menu of Campanile would be hugely missed. The farm beckoned: purchased six years earlier and standing empty, waiting as we continued to put off moving across country “just one more year.” I would be bringing my horses, previously boarded in a much better zip code than the one in which I lived, with me to enjoy a completely different way of life – one much more reminiscent of my childhood: open fields, deep woods, small towns.

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