Patty Unleashed

Patty Unleashed: 4.20.22

This is the last article I am writing from the Florida Keys. We will be heading home after a short stay in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a long, two-day drive, and one that honestly tests my marriage of 39 years.

First, some background: When I was asked to write this column, I happily/gleefully/joyfully agreed! I had one condition, my marriage and husband were out-of-bounds. Sure, I could mention Carey in stories, but I would never write a story about him or any disagreements we might have—well other than the fact our dog Stella is secretly plotting my demise, but that’s another column. Anyway, when I started dating Carey way back in 1981, I noticed he drove fast and loved to swerve in and out of traffic, and it scared me. When you are dating someone, you typically look past those flaws.

Once Carey and I were engaged we attended Pre-Cana classes. If you aren’t familiar with these, the Catholic Church requires all couples to attend a course to make sure you spot any red flags before you wed. I knew we had a few. Carey’s parents were underwhelmed with his choice of future wife. I tend to be a control freak while Carey is much more laid back, and, honestly, we were flat broke. During one of the sessions I complained about his driving, and from then on, Fr. Fuller would not stop talking about it and my reaction. I thought we had bigger fish to fry. Carey’s mom didn’t like me, shouldn’t we spend some time on that? Nope. Let’s talk about how to deal with Carey’s driving.

Well, the priest was right! The family situation took care of itself. Having two control freaks in the family would never have worked. And honestly, we got married at 23, so who isn’t broke? But what is still an issue? My husband’s driving.

To quote a friend, “The shortest distance between two points is a car ride with Carey Hannum.” I have been in the car with Carey exactly one time when he has gotten a speeding ticket. When the officer asked why he was going so fast, he said, “Heading to McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin.” You have to appreciate his honesty. We’ve been in one car accident, a rental car in Hawaii, which was not his fault. So given these statistics, you would think I could calm down and just enjoy the ride, but I can’t.

For Carey, driving is a science and a sport. It’s all about looking ahead, positioning and moving in and out of traffic until you get into the correct place. This happens continually while he is driving, and oh, he does most of the driving. I sit in the passenger seat putting on my imaginary brake, cursing under my breath and whining “Caaaaarey.” His response, “Read your book.” Yes, 39 years of slammed car doors, huffing under our breath and just generally snarling at each other as we make our way across half the country.

But once we pull into the driveway, all is forgotten. Well, until the next time we get into the car. Fr. Fuller was a smart guy. He knew that the problem we would have after all these years would be the one I didn’t want to talk about!

Peace my Peeps.

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