One of the ways I know I’m becoming a real, true adult is by how I spend my Saturdays. I want them to be lazy and easy. A good Saturday for me means lots of quality time with my futon — and my fiancée and cat, too, I guess.
From the charm of community to a strict pizza diet and the miracle of life, this past Saturday was no such occasion.
I failed step one in my lazy Saturday game plan, which is to sleep in, by waking up at 8 a.m. to explore Marion’s community-wide garage sale.
After grabbing my newspaper, scanning every sale description for the word “books,” and circling my targets, my fiancée and I set off to find treasures.
Junk hunting runs in my family. My mother owns a “junk boutique” 20 minutes north of my hometown in quaint Elkhart, Illinois, a town of about 450. In her store is the accumulation of years of thrift shop stops and garage sale scores.
At the first sale I went to, a little kid, sulking, exclaimed to his mother, “I want to go home!” I unwittingly laughed aloud, momentarily overwhelmed with empathy as I debated whether this child actually was me, 15 years in the past.
After seven stops, my scores for the day were likely as random and practical as yours — an ironing board, a PlayStation 3 controller, a nacho plate, and several books.
I was really impressed at the concept of a community-wide garage sale. That couldn’t take place in a town as big as Springfield, Illinois, where I’m from. In Marion, though, it’s a perfect example of small-town perks and small-town charm.
Then it was off to Wichita, to pick up my fiancée’s uncle from the airport. He was going to Fort Riley to stay for as long as it took to see his grandchild born.
We went early, hoping to see the town and have lunch before we picked him up. When a misleading sign gave Jenn and I more lunch options than we could handle, we panicked and drove into town until we happened upon an awesome microbrewery and pizzeria.
I was struck at the idea of physically happening upon a restaurant, as opposed to finding it through a recommendation or Internet search. Who does that anymore?
After our pizza lunch, we grabbed Jenn’s uncle at the airport — in and out before incurring any parking charges. We headed back to Marion, where Jenn’s cousin and her husband were supposed to meet us.
Their car didn’t start.
So instead of a simple lunch in Wichita and back home for the night, we found ourselves moving on to Fort Riley. We stopped to pick up dinner from a Pizza Hut with a full bar (What? Exactly.), where we waited for an hour. Amid the rush of the day, it felt endless. Meanwhile, American Pharaoh won the Kentucky Derby.
Pizza dinner in tow, we headed to the base, where we were delayed another half hour by the unruly check-in process at Fort Riley. Our meal sat in the car, cooling. Dazed from the day I had so far, it crossed my mind to crank the heat in the car to keep the pizza warm. Before this thought reached my mouth, I realized it was utterly ridiculous and began laughing at myself.
Not 20 minutes after we arrive at Jenn’s cousin’s house does she go in to labor. I had never seen a woman in labor before. She is hunched over in pain, totally ready to have the baby as tears streamed down her face, the whole scene ensuring that Jenn will never insist on having children. Meanwhile, Jenn’s cousin’s husband, an army man, is calm, poised, and ready to be a father of two. While his wife gathers herself, he puts away our leftovers, somehow not yet cold.
Thankfully, their previous car troubles allowed them time to procure the car that would get them to the hospital. Jenn and I stayed to baby-sit their 2-year-old daughter, trying to explain to her that her sister was on the way. “Sis!” she says, mimicking mom when she points to her own belly.
Not an hour and a half later was baby Adelyn born. Meanwhile, a couple prizefighters disappointed most of the country, and everyone — Jenn, myself, grandfather, and child — slept like 2-year-olds.
The next day, after a breakfast of, well, you know, something amazing happened.
For the first time in my life, I met a human that had just 12 hours prior been a burdensome bulge in someone’s belly. She was breathing, moving her lips, sleeping calmly. I saw a 2-year-old meet her little sister for the first time, wondering if she understood what it all meant, and trying not to cry.
My lazy Saturday ended Sunday afternoon, when I arrived home after one of the most hectic days I could remember. This week, I’ll be buying flowers for my futon. We have some catching up to do.
— ELIOT SILL