Two days after our wedding in Chicago, Les and I were nestled into a cottage, surrounded by towering pines along the picturesque Oregon coast. A few miles to the south were the famous coastal sand dunes where we planned to ride horses later that week. And to the north was a quaint harbor village where we thought we might spend another day leisurely looking at shops and eating dinner by candlelight in a rustic inn. Other than that, we had nothing on our itinerary for the next five days except enjoying the beach and each other, rain or shine.
Neither of us could have dreamed up a more wonderful scenario. Not that everything was perfect. For instance, we locked ourselves out of our rental car the day after we arrived. When Les realized the keys were in the ignition and the doors were locked, he took his first stab at being an everything's-under-control husband. "You stay here in the cabin," he told me. "I'm going to walk to that filling station on the main road and get some help."
"I want to go with you," I responded.
"Are you sure? It might rain."
"It'll be fun. Let's go."
We walked and talked the two or three miles to find a pay phone where we made arrangements for a locksmith to pick us up and take us back to our car. Sitting on a curb, we waited, saying nothing, while a couple of seagulls chatted overhead. Les was fiddling with a stick he'd picked up on our walk when I realized several minutes had passed and neither of us had said a word. It was an easy stillness, however, a kind of eloquent silence where we were content, comfortable, not talking.1