Excerpt from Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Reprinted with permission from Skyhorse Publishing.
When a twenty-two-year-old beanpole bass player with four years on
the road under his belt, and all of the happy hedonism that goes along
with that, meets an innocent eighteen-year-old Valley Girl who sneaked
into a bar, the ensuing romance is likely to have a shelf life of exactly one
night. But somehow that didn’t happen.
Even with the eagle-eyed clarity of hindsight, we can’t pinpoint the
exact reason. It could be that we were all Shakespearean star-crossed.
Could be we were both ready for a big change in our lives and just happened
to collide. Could be we were just too dumb to know the odds; we
certainly didn’t set out to defy them.
The Valley Girl
We are inclined to believe a fourth choice—all of the above. The
one-night stand was going on in the next room with the roommate and
the keyboard player while we fell into friendship instead of fake, temporary
But the road beckoned, and the band had to be back in Nashville,
so that was that. Just two ships passing in the night. No one would ever
know what might have been.
But that wasn’t that. Through the magic of pen, paper, envelopes,
and stamps, they kept in touch. The Beanpole wrote to his new blue-eyed
beach baby friend because something told him that couldn’t be
that. A voice was whispering in her ear too, so The Valley Girl wrote
back. Before long, an old-fashioned, long-distance romance developed,
almost entirely through the US mail. She says she fell in love through
those letters. The Beanpole was already there when he started writing.
A few months later, fate—and a good bit of specific action seeking
a band working on the West Coast—brought The Beanpole back to
California for a face-to-face reunion. With this open-ended employment
in the Golden State, young love had time to take its course.
The Sharkmobile – that’s a lot of metal
Our story took a less fairy tale–like turn from there. The gig fell
apart. What followed was a two thousand mile trek back to Music City in
a $200 land barge named The Sharkmobile that had no reverse and no air
conditioning, then a brief cohabitation and a “We ought to get married,” “Okay,” engagement. The next thing we knew, we were in the middle
of a folding chair–bedecked wedding in a tiny, windowless, tile-floored
church basement. Not exactly the groundwork for happily-ever-after.
* * * * *
The Beanpole was a bit nervous!
The odds of any marriage reaching ever-after are about fifty-fifty at best.
Add to that a teenage bride and a road musician groom, then multiply
that by being dead broke, and Veronica and I certainly seemed doomed.
Good thing no one told us.
Before long we were calling our parents from a pay phone (our
home phone had been shut off due to lack of funds) to tell them that
they were about to become grandparents. I have often wondered what
they must have been thinking.
Back when that beanpole bass player met The Valley Girl’s father,
right before they ran off together, I remember being intrigued by the
lack of any shotguns involved. But then, her dad did have an old hippie
vibe about him. Old? He was a lot younger than we are now.
Even meeting my future mother-in-law went well. My new love
wasn’t living at home, so I guess I wasn’t officially robbing the cradle,
but still I expected to get grilled. Didn’t happen; Mom took right to
me. Her stepfather didn’t say much at all.
By the time we were expecting their first grandchild, I had won
over Stepdad, and we were joking that Mom liked me better than her
As for us, few things can motivate reasonable human beings like the
prospect of parenthood. We went with stunning velocity from laying
around the love nest to up off our asses. Suddenly we were responsible
for a life other than our own. We began to form tangible long-term goals.
So happy to meet their baby brother!
In time, two more little ones arrived, and we learned that busting
butt is what parents do. Find a way. A mother of three could start a
company in her home because she learned how to make websites before
most people had even heard of the Internet. A dad could successfully
navigate a path in an occupation that regularly leaves the crushed carcasses
of marriages and families in its wake.
Life’s twists and turns took us from Nashville to the Virgin Islands,
always in search of the best situation for our family. In general, we met
our goals but realized that they revolved around getting the kids raised
and started on their own lives. That is the short story of how, after
twenty-some-odd years, we found ourselves living on a tropical island
in the Caribbean about to become childless again, and wondering what
We didn’t have a clue, but somewhere in the recesses of our brains
we must have known that the time had come to do something just for
us. I know that sounds selfish, but any parent knows that once the kids
arrive, there’s not a lot of room left for the “us” in a couple.
And our time arrived way ahead of schedule. Let’s just say that
Veronica and I prove that even the best forms of birth control are only
99 percent effective, but in hindsight we wouldn’t have had it any
other way. We had the stamina to survive three little ones back then,
and now they’re full-grown and we’re still young enough to enjoy our
new life together.
That was our answer. That was what to do. Rediscover that pre-kid
couple who, thirty years ago, didn’t have enough time together. Because
now, we had all the time in the world…
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
|Excerpt from Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Reprinted with permission from Skyhorse Publishing.
One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All
YOUR TURN: One a scale from 1 – 10, just how crazy are we?