The Ride to Walmart

“Let’s take a drive to Walmart today!”, exclaimed my dear wife, with a dreamy look out the kitchen window. Immediately, our faces met and shared a smile together, knowing together exactly her desire. Her statement had nothing to do with Walmart or shopping of any kind. Couples who share their lives develop code words and private expressions and signals and this is one of those.

What is it about private signals that makes them special to us? Is it the exclusivity of a private message? Is it knowing others don’t realize a message has been passed? Or is it the fun of having a secret code? For me, it’s all of these and more. Such encoded messages reflect memories, commitment, a deep understanding of values shared with another person, and a trust that the message continues to be understood and accepted as part of the relationship.

For me, some of the most special private signals are those not even spoken. I recall being in a large gathering, where my dear wife was on the other side of the room when a piece of music was played to the group. From across the room, our eyes immediately locked to each other while shared memories from that music filled the room in our hearts. No one knew, no one saw, no one realized the unforgettable moment that had just occurred. Sweet.

That signal, Let’s take a drive to Walmart? To us, it speaks to the need for time to rest, time to escape from the daily tasks, time to take a relaxing ride through rural Central New York, time to share bits and pieces of our day as the car takes us down two-lane blacktop that eventually ends up in a small community where a Walmart serves the area. And that often results in picking up a deli sandwich to bring home to enjoy a dinner sans preparation. No cooking, no cleanup, just us and the sandwich and comments on the drive’s scenery. Was Walmart the goal? No, only a milestone to establish a destination. The journey was already defined.

This has been a long day and I would write more, but my dear wife is sending a signal that it’s time for a drive.