Carl and I are doing a little remodeling job in our home. Today we make a trip to the local building supply store to pick out a decorative plank. It’s for the kitchen wall, a place we will hang a few pots and pans. As we examine the spruce planks, Carl and I admire the grain of the wood.
“Look at this one with all the knots,” Carl says. He runs his hand flat along the board and then stands it upright.
I take a step back. “Oh, I like that one.” I move closer to touch some of the knots.
Carl tells the sales rep I like rustic boards. He does too, but he doesn’t say it.
“Do you want to look through any more?” I ask.
“No, I already picked out the best one.” He grins at me. “I always pick out the best.
“Of course you do. You picked out me.”
And we laugh.
“We’ll take this one,” I say.
The sales rep looks from Carl to me. “Do y’all always agree so easily?”
“Not always,” Carl says.
I raise my eyebrows in mock anger. “What do you mean? We never disagree about anything! How dare you say that!”
Carl laughs. “We always get along, but we don’t always agree. We talk things over when we don’t.”
The sales rep says, “And you get the last word. ‘Yes, dear.’”
Carl and the rep share a look of commiseration, and I wonder how many times over the years the rep has seen spouses squabbling.
Carl says, “It’s true the man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck and the neck controls the head.”
More laughter from the two men. I don’t laugh, because I have seen it so many times. Women browbeating their husbands, and husbands withdrawing and letting their wives take charge.
Carl places the board in the van so that it lies upright between our two seats, dividing us. And I ache, knowing some spouses would let such a small thing as this plank divide them.
Not us. I touch the plank and admire the knots, knots that sometimes weaken a board. But not always. Sometimes the fibers grow around the knot and simply add more beauty.
And I know rugged planks and remodeled kitchens do not make a home.
And I know a plank will never divide us.
For home is where the heart is. And my heart is right here, in this moment with Carl.
Where it will always be.