Meeting Up With My Brother & His Wife Was Exciting


Once a year, my brother Jim comes to Florida to visit his in-laws at The Villages (i.e.: retirement city), and I get to see him. This time, together with our spouses, we planned to sneak in a visit to Universal Studios before he and Linda headed off to sit on the couch for four straight days watching “Wheel of Fortune” with her parents.

I was in charge of the arrangements, putting everything on my credit card to be squared up later. Did you know Universal Studios offers a kind of insurance plan for people buying tickets in advance? No pressure but, as they put it, “Life happens.”

“Naw,” I said, refusing the insurance. “We’ll be fine.”

“I like your confidence,” the chirpy cast member replied, not a note of foreboding in her voice.

So, of course, Linda slipped on a throw rug and busted her leg two weeks before the trip.

“It’s only my femur,” she said via phone. “Don’t worry. They put some screws in it and I’ll be fine.”

That’s what I love about the girl — she has pluck. She has gumption. She’s not a whiner. And she’s a good match for my brother — nothing short of a miracle. (“My kids are tough on their spouses,” my mom once noted, summing up everything perfectly in one sentence, just as she always does.)

When we arrived at the resort, Mark went to park the car, and I went in to try to find Linda. I looked right past the person sliding up to me in a walker, which turned out to be her.

“Hi!” she said. “Hey, you should see this restaurant!”

“Oh, my God, Linda, look at you!”

“What? Oh yeah, this. It slows me down some, but I’ll get a wheelchair at the park. Not supposed to put any weight on my leg. Come on, let’s eat!”

Despite my requesting first floor rooms near the lobby, our rooms turned out to be in the third building behind the pool, the one farthest from the restaurant, the trams and, well, everything. But not a word of complaint from Linda as she scraped along the concrete for miles.

Long story short, we had a great time that day — saw everything we wanted to see, did everything we wanted to do. Unfortunately, the grounds took their toll on the walker, and soon Linda was getting puzzled looks as she screeched along.

“I need Home Depot,” my brother said. “I can get her some PVC pipe caps and fix it right up.”

So off we went to the store. Once inside, Linda screeched along behind him until he found the perfect fit. Now he needed tape, but he didn’t want to pay for it, so they sent him to the paint department, where he used a couple feet of their packing tape to secure the caps to the walker. At the self-checkout, he realized the UPC codes he needed to scan were now on the floor.

We were a sight — Linda hopping on her good leg, Jim scanning the bottom of the walker, me juggling the purses, Mark out in the car wondering what the heck was taking so long.

We’re funny. We’re inventive. But there’s no doubt we’re tough on our spouses.