I was 19 years old when Bonehead and I got married. I have a feeling at the time there were many bets on the table-
I give it two years.
I give it 5.
I bet she’s pregnant.
I give it 6 months.
We’ve somehow managed to defy all of the marrying young odds and lasted for a while, and after about 10 months of marriage opinions on the baby topic changed as well. I’m sure bets were lost. In retrospect I wouldn’t recommend my oldest niece marry at 19. But all the same, I wouldn’t change a day of the last 14 years.
Bonehead and I married on a Sunday afternoon in front of the picture window in his parents’ house. We spent the night in a local hotel and promptly got up the next morning and drove to Dubuque, Iowa so I could take my final exams for the semester. Our plan was to get me through finals week, and then spend a couple of days at home packing and putting things in order before driving cross country together to start our life across the sound from Seattle. At the time, he was in the navy and that is where he was stationed.
The drive from the greater Chicagoland area to Dubuque was pretty uneventful, but we did get at least one toll free due to the “just married” décor theme of our Ford Tempo.
Finals week went pretty well too- all things considered. Looking back now, the week was a giant blur of testing, eating out with Bonehead due to the fact that I was super tired of cafeteria food by that time, spending time with our mutual friends, and packing up my room full of belongings.
Towards the end of the week strange things began to happen in my car. Bonehead and I would be on our way somewhere and one of us would notice the hint of an unpleasant aroma.
Bonehead- “Do you smell that?”
Me- “Smell what? I don’t smell anything.”
Bonehead- “It’s gone now, I don’t smell it anymore.”
A day or so later we’d replay the scene but with opposite rolls.
Me- “I smell something weird.”
Bonehead- “In the car, or outside?”
Me- “I can’t……quite…..(sniff sniff)… tell……never mind it’s gone now.”
And then on the way back home at the end of the week, the real trouble began.
Bonehead- “Oh man- WHAT IS THAT SMELL?”
Me- “I don’t know but (pulling my shirt up over my nose) it’s killing me.”
Bonehead- “I think it’s coming from our back seat.”
Me- “Do you see anything back there? I’d check but I’m a little busy driving.”
Bonehead- “No, I don’t see anything. And now it’s gone again.”
A while later the mysterious odor reappeared. This time Bonehead asked me to pull over. Neither of us could stand the stench that seemed to be permeating the car- even with both windows rolled fully down. I found a parking lot to pull into and stopped the car.
That Bonehead, he’s so brave. He got out and dove into my back seat head first looking for the location of the smell. After a moment or two of digging he came up for air with a triumphant, “Ah-ha! I found the culprit!!”
Our first night in Dubuque we had gone out for Chinese. We got our leftovers wrapped to go, put them on the back floorboard of our car, and never gave them another thought. After being buried by the beginnings of packing up my dorm room and a week of sitting in a warm car they had taken on their very own identity of the odiferous sort.
We left that smell in a dumpster on the side of the road somewhere between Dubuque and Chicagoland. And other than to laugh and giggle about it every couple of years along the path of our marriage, we never gave it another thought.
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