From the kitchen window I watched dirty gray clouds chasing each other across the sky. The muggy day looked dreary, and I didn’t feel like doing anything. Shadows lurking in the dark corners of my kitchen were dispelled when I flipped on the florescent lights. Suddenly my house felt cozy. The day would be a wonderful one to spend making bread, and puttering around the house.
Enthusiastically, I tucked a roast in the oven for supper, measured water and flour for the bread machine and decided to make a cake. While studying the recipe I frowned, wondering if some of the changes I wanted to make would work.
By the time I finished washing the dishes and wiping the counter clean, I heard the sound of a vehicle pulling into our driveway. A glance out the window revealed that my husband was driving slowly into the yard. As he passed the kitchen window, the gravel under his truck tires crunched loudly. Even without looking, I would have known who it was by the familiar sound. Arnie’s truck engine makes a deep, throaty growl.
For the past week he and I worked opposite shifts, seeing each other only as we came and went. With the dishrag still in my hand, I walked out onto the back deck to greet him. He was striding toward the shed. Seeing me, he stopped to ask with surprise, “So, you’re home today?”
I nodded and said, “All day. Where have you been?” I dropped down onto the edge of the deck, and Arnie came to sit beside me. Wanting attention, Oskar the beautiful feline rubbed against my arm and meowed loudly.
Arnie gently petted her and said, “The Beautiful One wants attention…” We sat side by side playing with the little black and white cat and made small talk. Overhead, the dark clouds continued to boil across the sky, blocking out the sun’s light, but not its heat.
Arnie said, “I had something interesting happen while I was in town today.”
“OH?” I enjoyed hearing about things that he saw and did without me.
Without further prompting he launched into his story, “I stopped to eat at one of the fast food restaurants in Marshfield. When I got out of the truck, I left the driver’s side window rolled down so it was open about four inches. When I was finished eating and returned to the truck…you’ll never guess what I found.”
I asked with a perplexed frown, “Something got into your truck? I can’t imagine what.”
Grinning, Arnie said, “A little goldfinch was sitting on my steering wheel. When I came up alongside the truck, it hopped and flew around in the truck cab, scared.”
“The poor thing!” I exclaimed. “What did you do?”
“I opened the driver-side door…but it didn’t fly out because I was standing there. So I went around to the passenger side and opened THAT door.”
With a laugh I commented, “I don’t suppose it stuck around to count its blessings!”
“It jumped up onto the steering wheel, and then after a short pause, flew out of the cab. The moment it was free, it started to sing, and continued to sing until it disappeared into some trees a couple of blocks away. I could hear its song above the sound of the traffic.”
I pictured Arnie standing beside his truck watching the small yellow and black bird’s undulating escape flight and listening to its joyful anthem to freedom.
Arnie got up and went into the shed to do some work and I went back into the kitchen to make frosting for the cake. The story Arnie had shared with me warmed my heart. It was a better ‘pick-me-up’ than the florescent kitchen light. Having such a thoughtful husband made me feel happy and content.