Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Support Team at Home

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.” ~Sophocles

August 7: Up at 4:45 am to catch my 7:10 am flight, which was then delayed for two hours because of storms in Chicago. That put the whole day of flying into a rush to catch connections. There is no quick and direct way to fly between Burlington, Vermont and Eugene, Oregon. Then it was sweet reunion time with my patient and loving husband, Jon Graber.

Please indulge me as I tell you about my husband, without whom this trip would not be possible...

Jon is a strong, determined, assertive guy who is also even-tempered and sentimental. The best of tough and tender in one compact package. These photos are from our wedding on the Oregon Coast in July 2004. I couldn't celebrate our recent third wedding anniversary with Jon on the appropriate day because I was on this trip, so we celebrated it today with grilled steaks and beers I'd brought home in my suitcase.

Did you know that Jon is also a Brewmaster? That's how we met. He was Brewmaster at Mt. Hood Brewing Company located on the south side of Mount Hood, the Cascade mountain nearest to Portland, Oregon. We met probably ten years before we started dating. It was such a non-event that neither of us remembers it. Now Jon is Marketing Manager for Wyeast Laboratories.

Over the years Jon and I grew to be friends. Then at the 2002 Oregon Brewers Festival we had a charming experience where Jon drove me to my Teardrop camper at about 2:00 am. It was parked in front of Full Sail Brewmaster John Harris's house, and Jon suggested we pick up some eggs at the Plaid Pantry 24-hour market on the way there. The Teardrop had a full kitchen, so at 3:00 am, there we were sitting on John & Jane Harris's front steps enjoying the omelets that Jon had cooked up for us, laughing and having entirely too much loud fun on that hot July night.

Then a month later my Eugene head brewer, Jamie Floyd got married at a special place near the Oregon Coast. It was a "bring your tent" wedding with lots of space for camping and a big bonfire. Jon asked me if I was going and I said, "Of course I'm going! Jamie's my brewer. I wouldn't miss it for the world!"

Jon told me, "Can we go to the wedding together? I want to tow your Teardrop with my truck."

I said, "What's your electrical connection? Mine is 6-prong round."

We swapped email photos of our electrical connections and Jon found the appropriate adapter to tow my Teardrop. I've told this story to lots of people and the men always laugh, "What a line! I want to tow your Teardrop!"

I didn't know there would be a midnight bonfire so I hadn't brought a lawn chair, but clever Jon brought a lawn loveseat. Where else could I sit? He told me later he knew he had a chance with me when he pet my hair and I melted. The next day on the way to my house we stopped at my favorite beach for a walk.

As Jon was leaving my house after dropping me off and disconnecting my Teardrop trailer, he shook his adapter at me and said, "I'm taking my adapter with me because I don't want you playing with any other boys with big trucks." Then I knew for sure that he liked me and we've been inseparable ever since. (I am not making this up. This is exactly what he said.)

After three years the fairytale is still alive and well, and we are determined to keep it that way. Sometimes on this trip it's been hard to be apart for weeks at a time, but we talk on the phone each night for about an hour. If anything, longing has kept us from taking each other for granted, and has kept the honeymoon going.

The photo at right is of a Haarika that we used during our wedding ceremony. A Haarika is a traditional Finnish communal beer-drinking vessel made of birch. Sahti is often shared in it in the Sauna. Our Finnish beer friends gave it to us. Instead of a "Unity Candle," Jon and I each designed and brewed a beer for our wedding at Steelhead. These beers were blended in the Harrika at our wedding and we each took a drink. I made White Pearls Pale Ale and Jon made Honey I Do Brown Ale.

Being an older bride (44 years then) and being married to my one and only was a joyous occasion. The photographer caught the fun photo below of me jumping into Jon's arms after the minister declared, "I now pronounce you husband and wife."

Here's to having a strong support team at home. I love you Sweetie!

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