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FIRST-PERSON Crisis waits to loom for out-of-town trips

7/3/97 EDITORS’ NOTE: The following feature is adapted from the weekly “He Said/She Said” column by Mark and Alison Wingfield in the Kentucky Western Recorder on the differing male-female perspectives toward relationships and family life. Mark is editor of the Western Recorder; Alison is a freelance writer; they are the parents of twin boys, Luke and Garrett.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–She said:
The pox: chapter one.
It was bound to happen the way it did. It was inevitable. Mark was out of town.
He left about 6 p.m. Sunday night. Our realtor called about 9:30 p.m. There was a complication on the counter-offer we had made the day before to someone finally wanting to buy our house. And I had to make a decision that night.
Of course, Mark was out of town.
After a sleepless night, worrying and fretting over whether I made the right decision, I got the boys up early and out the door for their first day of vacation Bible school.
After three weeks of summer vacation, I think I was more excited than they were. A whole week of freedom (at least for three-and-a-half hours a day) loomed in front of me. I didn’t even mind that Mark was going to be gone to the Southern Baptist Convention until Friday, because I knew I’d have a break every day. I was going to get some freelance work done without a thousand interruptions, get my hair cut, go to a mall (or two) by myself. I even had an appointment for my first manicure in five years.
Monday afternoon, things got dicier on the house. Of course they did: Mark was out of town.
And that night, as I was getting the boys ready for baths, I noticed some suspicious-looking spots on Luke. We had avoided the chicken pox for five years. As a matter of fact, I had planned to have them vaccinated in August, before school starts again. No need for that. It was indeed the pox. And we missed the rest of VBS. Garrett (who has yet to break out) even opted to stay home with Luke.
Of course, Mark was out of town.
And we were in quarantine all week. I now know all the drive-throughs in town. We even got our car emissions test out of the way.
Now we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, checking Garrett every day for spots.
All we need to do is check the calendar and see when Mark is due to leave again. That’s when Garrett will break out.
He said:
Same song, 350th verse. Anyone with a job that requires travel knows this routine only too well. Trouble waits until you’re out of town to strike.
And then you spend the next six months trying to make it up to your spouse — without success. You can’t make it up, because such events are everlasting trump cards. I imagine when Luke is grown and living on his own Alison still will remind me of the crises that struck while I was out of town.
I know trouble waits to catch you out of town because our real estate trauma proves it. We’ve been trying to sell this house for eight months. (A house, incidentally, that everyone advised us would sell in a matter of days.) Eight months with no buyer; then I’m out of town for a week and suddenly we have two buyers fighting for the house, each threatening to sue someone if they don’t get it.
Where were these people the week before, when everyone was in town? Or for that matter, where were these people eight months ago? They were waiting until I was out of town and Alison was in quarantine with a chicken-poxed child.
I’ve decided to take comfort in the Scripture passage that says God “never slumbers nor sleeps.” Surely that means God doesn’t go out of town.
I’m glad, because if God went out of town, there’s no telling what might happen.

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  • Alison & Mark Wingfield