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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Friday, August 30, 2013
Have you seen the old guy in the parking lot? He’s waiting for his wife. He’s biding time. Letting life pass him by until he can pull up to the front and let “the wife” in. I have not wanted to be that man. I have not aspired to this endeavor. It has always looked a little sad to me. I'm not trying to be harsh here.

I’ve always felt my wife doesn’t want me to become that old guy. She deserves more than a chauffeur in her twilight years.

Age dulls the senses and makes you oblivious to fashion. You wear black socks with sandals because it’s more important how you feel than how you look. You don’t care how you look. You don’t care how others younger than you perceive you because they’re not coming to your funeral anyway.

I was sitting in the parking lot of Walgreens the other day and realized I had become that old guy. I had my Cincinnati Reds hat on and gray hair was sticking out in unseemly ways. I need a haircut, but pulling the hat down makes me presentable. White shirt, red shorts, black socks.

The dog was with us. We’d taken the dog to the Farmer’s Market. Big mistake. He was too excited to contain, so we put him in the car and listened to him yap while we picked out carrots and broccoli. And then, on the way home, my wife said, “Could you take me by Walgreens?”

“What do you need?”

I thought she’d say she needed Epsom salts or hydrogen peroxide or Advil. A prescription, maybe. She sent me there the other day for 100% juice, any kind, she said. Didn’t matter the sugar content. So I walked up and down the aisles and finally found the juice and then called to make sure she really meant it.

Just like old guys will do. I’ve not only become the old guy in the car waiting in the parking lot, I’m the old guy who goes on a mission but has to call to make sure he’s getting the right thing.
“I want to take a picture of toothpaste for my blog,” she said.

I was supposed to accept this and just keep driving. I knew it in my gut. Don’t even look at her. Don’t smile or laugh. This is what I said “I do” to more than thirty years ago, driving to Walgreens to take a picture of toothpaste.

And I did. And I didn’t smile or laugh or question, I just drove and parked and sat there like those other old guys I’ve seen.

This has been my view. Again, not to be harsh or judgmental, but I've seen them as young and vibrant and at some point they give up. People point and they walk. Like sheep, they listen for “the voice” and they obey, herding themselves into respectable pens. And they listen to ball games on the radio in the parking lot. At least that's what I do.  

I have bucked this for years. I’ve followed my wife into Stein Mart and Hobby Lobby and Pier 1, acting as if I’m supposed to be there. Milling around candy displays and lusting at the stack of Milky Ways I know I shouldn’t have because of what it will do to my digestive system. Or standing over the cast-off items at Ross, thinking I might actually want to watch 50 episodes of some old TV show I saw in reruns as a child or that the sandals with built-in socks would get me noticed.

“I’m ready,” she said one day, standing with her purse and bags. Looking at me. Willing me to leave. Calling like a siren. Years ago I would ask to be lashed to the main mast to see if I could resist the voices. Now, I just shuffle off behind her and carry the bags.

It was in the Walgreens parking lot when I understood why men wind up in the car, in the driver’s seat, with the dog, waiting. I saw it clearly. And I realized I was wrong about them. I had NOT become a man without a purpose, I had become a man with a different purpose. Sitting at Walgreen’s made me realize these guys are the smart ones. They can’t hear the same frequencies as younger people and they have to look over their glasses to actually see things. But they are hearing frequencies of the heart. They're seeing beyond themselves.

Perhaps instead of driving his wife out of duty or to avoid guilt, he actually WANTED to be there. Perhaps he wanted to do this because after all the years of everything revolving around him and his needs and desires and wants and vision, he understands, finally, that life is really not all about him. At least, not JUST about him. It’s about him and her become an “us” or a "we."

So if you see me in the car, in some parking lot, weep not for me. I’m not really waiting. I’m saying “I do” at the speed of idle.

14 comments:

Cheryl Ricker said...

Well said. All the wives will want to share this with their husbands now.

Seriously though, you captured many rich insights here.

Thanks for the smiles. Wish I had time to say more, but my husband's out waiting in the car. LOL!

W. Mark Whitlock said...

Thanks, Chris, from another old guy with a paunch, no hair but the need for a baseball cap. I, too, have called or texted from the store. I, too, have waited in the parking lot.

I resonated with your observations about wanting to be there. I hope I can get to that point where I am not conflicted to be there. Yes, I want to be there, but there are many times where I am frustrated to be there as well. May I, as you so beautifully put, say "I do" over and over again at the speed of idle.

Anonymous said...

You have a unique insight on this matter. I really believe all those other old guys do, too. Thanks for helping me understand.

Anonymous said...

This is going to become a poem.

Anonymous said...

On the back end of your show about the man in the car. The absolute truth about God's word and divorce and those of us who didn't look to God for guidance and giving up on a marriage to soon. That man is now another man's wife and is now experiencing the beauty and reward of enduring and doing it God's way.

Grannyfat1 said...

We just had our 50th wedding anniversary. I am in awe of the old man that insists on driving to the stores and tells me how to shop. Its seems I have been doing it all wrong. We stand in isles and read labels and always are in someones way. We still stop for a burger, fries and a coke like we did 52 years ago. In a few more years you will not be waiting in the parking lot you will be in Walgreens making sure she remembers what she is looking for. Its the circle of life and the Walgreens parking lot.

Damon Griffin said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your articulation of "The Old Guy In The Parking Lot". I laughed, I empathized, but lastly, I'm honored to take my wife to here or there, sit in the car or go in with her.

Damon Griffin said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your articulation of "The Old Guy In The Parking Lot". I laughed, I empathized, but lastly, I'm honored to take my wife to here or there, sit in the car or go in with her.

Damon Griffin said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your articulation of "The Old Guy In The Parking Lot". I laughed, I empathized, but lastly, I'm honored to take my wife to here or there, sit in the car or go in with her.

Sandy C said...

Very well put. :-)

Penny said...

Hey Chris,
Listen to Brad Paisley's song "Waiting on a Woman" -- T
hanks for this post...I will see the guys waiting in the cars in a whole new light.

Josh Jetto said...

Chris, great post. I laughed about the black socks and sandals. I'm (only) 30, but I can relate. Lately, it's black socks, black dress shoes and shorts. Shorts because it's been summer and too hot to wear pants. Dress shoes because they're more comfortable than my Converse All Stars (and make my feet sweat less), and black socks because white socks would look silly in black dress shoes. I recently saw a picture of me on facebook in this get-up. It was a group picture, but there was a couple feet of separation between me and the rest of the group. At least I was comfortable.

Josh Jetto said...

Chris, great post. I laughed about the black socks and sandals. I'm (only) 30, but I can relate. Lately, it's black socks, black dress shoes and shorts. Shorts because it's been summer and too hot to wear pants. Dress shoes because they're more comfortable than my Converse All Stars (and make my feet sweat less), and black socks because white socks would look silly in black dress shoes. I recently saw a picture of me on facebook in this get-up. It was a group picture, but there was a couple feet of separation between me and the rest of the group. At least I was comfortable.

Kate Martin said...

Awe, this is beautiful! It is funny how our perspectives change over time. For my husband and I, since we are still bombarded with the needs of our children, we love to run errands together---ALONE. It is the one chance we have to talk uninterrupted. That is our date! We love our time together, even if it is to Menards, Home Depot, or Kohls. To me it is the same as going out for a nice dinner. Doesn't matter what we are doing, as long as we are together sharing our lives with each other. These are the times we have our best talks!