Every year at Christmas, I turn this column over to my husband, Chuck Martin:
The story begins with our daughter, Hayley, in her bridesmaid gown and high heels, seated in the mountain manor that hosted the wedding. Suddenly, she leaped up and ran out.
An employee called out: ‘Please do not chase the bears.’
Hayley responded: ‘It’s all right. I am a wildlife professional.’
The tale illustrates how our family managed to find adventures, even in the year of COVID-19.
But first, our biggest news: Our son, Hank, proposed to his beloved Emily.
If you are a normal human being, you might now be asking, ‘Weren’t they already married?’
No. They met 10 years ago as American college students studying at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. And although they subsequently set up household together, first in Philadelphia and then in Seattle, it took Hank until 2020 to propose.
Actually, it was one of his quicker decisions. This is a man who, seeing two shirts hanging in his closet, would emerge an hour later, shirtless, saying, ‘I can’t decide.’
The moral of which is: Never ever give him a choice of pants.
Sunny and I could not be happier about their marriage. However, it turns out that we could be that happy twice.
Several weeks later, Hayley received a proposal from her beloved Glenn. It took two tries.
Glenn’s first attempt to propose was at Disney World, but Hayley refused to cooperate because she was in a hurry to get to a Star Wars ride.
That’s when Glenn learned that getting between Hayley and any Star Wars activity is like finding yourself between a mother grizzly and her cubs. He had to abort the mission.
The second and successful effort was during a trip to Seattle to visit Hank and Emily. Like the diamond he gave Hayley, Glenn is a gem.
Glenn, who is from is from Limavady, Northern Ireland., and Hayley met as students at Queen’s University in Belfast.
They continued their relationship by moving to Austin, Texas, where Glenn has a job.
Now we are looking forward to two weddings – after COVID. We hope they do not end up scheduled for the same day.
COVID has dominated our year, as it has almost everyone’s. The virus is a daily concern for Emily, a physician assistant.
Hank is digital marketing manager for Tommy Bahama clothing in the company’s Seattle headquarters, but he has worked mostly from home for months.
They continue to renovate a house they bought, where they live with their dog Koda.
Koda was featured this year in a Subaru car company Instagram ad campaign.
Unfortunately, Hank and Emily saw no royalty payments for the ad, though there is some suspicion that Koda is stashing checks in an off-shore account.
In Austin, COVID restrictions did not interrupt Glenn’s work as a mechanical engineer. COVID’s impact was greater for Hayley, who is an associate producer with a team that develops TV shows about wildlife.
The team’s flagship show, Animal Planet’s ‘Extinct or Alive,’ cannot resume until COVID travel limits are lifted.
But she did help to produce the VICE TV series, ‘Wet Markets Exposed,’ about wild animal markets, like the Chinese one that was the source of COVID. She also worked on part of ‘Shark Week.’
As for COVID’s impact on Sunny and me, I am embarrassed to note that nothing much changed for me. Apparently, I have been social distancing my entire life. I just didn’t know what to call it.
COVID concerns have more seriously affected Sunny, who likes to socialize.
The longer COVID goes on, the more her mood sours. I can tell this from an increase in the number and size of kitchen utensils she throws at me.
The other day she flung a serving spoon after rambling on about how I never listen.
At least I think that’s what she was complaining about. I wasn’t really paying attention until the spoon hit me.
We also acquired a new housemate, a Siamese kitten named Winston Purrchill.
Winston suffers from an excess of personality. (Actually, we do the suffering.)
His chief entertainment is knocking items from tables onto floors. He specializes in full beverage containers and priceless artifacts. (We don’t own any priceless artifacts, but if we did, they would be broken by now.)
He also chews electrical cords like gum and delights in mangling anything made of paper.
His mischief with my morning newspaper has forced me to get my news digitally at my computer. Alas, I do not expect to find a digital solution for shredded toilet paper.
Our Bedlington terrier, Kiwi, prefers to be outside, away from Winston, where she can hunt everything from squirrels to turtles.
She took down a full-grown Canada goose this spring. I figured an adult goose who fails to notice a dog on a dead run in its direction is bound by Darwinian principles to perish.
I now return to the story of Hayley and the bears. Hayley was attending the wedding of a former University of Nebraska swim teammate outside Denver.
At the reception, she noticed three bears on the lawn. So, despite her formal garb, off she ran to see the bears. The wedding photographer bolted out the door with her.
They found the bears not far away, and the photographer got pictures so the bride and groom could include the uninvited guests in their album.
A postscript: The Denver wedding photographer turned out to be Anna Showers from Cottage Grove, who swam with Hayley on the MGHS team.
They had not seen each other since graduation. Sometimes, the world is a small place, particularly if you are Hayley.
Got something Sunny Schubert should know? Call her at 222-1604 or e-mail email@example.com.