First Friday Art Walk

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ever since we moved to southwest Missouri, one of our favorite things to do has been the first friday art walk in downtown Springfield.  The first friday evening of every month, the whole downtown square and surrounding areas are one big street party.  The art galleries stay open, many businesses offer samples of finger foods, while some have wine to taste, and there is live music (some hired and scheduled performers and some street musicians) everywhere.

It’s a lot of fun, and my wife and I have always loved the atmosphere.  Sometimes we only go for a little while and other times we stay out and visit lots of places.  We usually run into people we know, and sometimes we invite friends to meet up with us.  When we still had the kids living at home, we would sometimes take them, and they always looked forward to it.  The only drawback was figuring out how and when to make it time for just the two of us, and how much to share it with others.

Over the years, we missed very few art walks.  Occasionally we were out of town, or the weather was horrendous, but for most of the first five years, if it was first friday art walk, we were there.  Last July, we were separated during art walk, and it occurred at a time when things were really pretty iffy in terms of our relationship.  Where I stood was a huge question mark, and we were at a critical juncture in which way things were going to go.

It seemed too much like a date for either of us to be totally comfortable going together, but we both wanted to go, and not by ourselves.  My wife asked me to bring our Son, who was still staying with me at the time.  He wasn’t able to go, and I ended up asking a buddy of mine, who was a friend of both of us, to come hang out.  He knew what was going on, so he was also rather uncomfortable, but I assured him not to worry and that things would be very casual.

We all met downtown at a cheese steak shop, and set out on foot after we ate.  My wife seemed completely at ease and more and more open with me as the night went on.  We held hands and laughed quite a bit together.  We had a great time and I couldn’t help thinking, “Why in the world are we separated?  We are obviously still a great couple and this is how it could be all the time.”  I couldn’t understand why my wife didn’t see it, or what held her back from returning to me, but she still needed to go through some things before she came to that realization.

After we got back together, it seemed like every first friday, there was something that interfered with us being able to go.  The first one, my wife was sick.  Several in a row were rained out.  I often had to work at Macy’s on friday nights.  For a while, it seemed like we would never be able to spend a romantic art walk as a couple in love again.

We made a few brief appearances here and there, but it wasn’t until two months ago that we really got to enjoy a first friday.  The weather was perfect, our schedules were clear, and there was nothing to stand in our way.  This time, holding hands was as automatic as breathing.  Laughing together is just what we do.   And we didn’t need anyone else there to take the pressure off or keep us from feeling awkward.

At one of the photography studios, they were giving out free samples of cake pops, made locally.  Not only were they a tasty treat, but we decided they would be the perfect thing to serve at our renewal ceremony in August.  It was just an extra little blessing that came out of the evening.

Last month, we invited my friend Joe and his family over for dinner, and they went to art walk with us afterward.  We also invited our friend who had gone with us last year while we were separated, but he was out of town.  We ran into some other friends and people that we knew as the night went on, and it was really just a time to celebrate how good things are now.  In just a few days, it will be the “one year later” art walk and, while we look forward to it as much as any other,  our first fridays have already been restored.

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