Remembering The The’s

Maybe, she says, they’re getting tired of hearing about all this.Β 

But, but…I stammer. There may be some truth to this, but who isn’t a sucker for a good love story? The romantic in me has been unleashed, trumpeting forth furiously and without abandon. A broken record, perhaps, but it still spins, playing the same happy tune over and over, and it is sweet music to my ears. A blog is many things, I reply, but first and foremost, it’s a bookmark in the pages of your life. I want to look back on this, to always remember The Beginning. I’ll still write about mandolines and geoduck, but also of the great times we share together. Photographs fade over time, details become murky. I’m compelled to remember so we never forget.

You’re right, she says. Don’t ever stop.

It’s a good thing, because I couldn’t if I tried. I don’t just talk, I shout. From the rooftops, for the world to hear. There are so many moments in time to capture for posterity…

The adrenaline rush of the late night airport greeting. The ride home, holding hands the entire trip. The [ARE YOU CRAZY? MY PARENTS READ THIS]. The pizza and beers Friday night, followed by Wii games with the kids. The drive to the Oregon coast on Saturday, when rain and snow and fog gave way to hail moments after I remarked that we had seen every kind of weather imaginable. The rainbow that blossomed right before my eyes the instant I pulled over to take a picture of the water. The World Famous Octopus Tree (how they laughed over my Griswold-like enthusiasm) and the view of the Pacific Ocean from the Cape Meares Lighthouse. The squeaky cheese at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the wine tasting next door. The snowball fight and the Mad Libs tournament on the drive home. The belated birthday dinner for my dad, and Tara’s first experience with Chicken Paprikas.

The homemade biscuits and gravy and pitcher of Bloody Marys Sunday morning. The flight to Vegas, our first airplane ride together, full of laughter and good conversation and Mousetrap on my phone (“Airplane Mode,” of course) and a few more Bloody Marys. The pictures in front of the iconic Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign, retakes because those we snapped a few weeks earlier in the dark didn’t turn out. The Presidente margaritas at Chili’s (and the realization that we hadn’t been lacking in our recommended daily allowance of alcohol that day). The drive down the Vegas strip, in the dark, neon lights shimmering in the desert air, before trekking Over The Hump To Pahrump.

The solo excursion to the hotel casino Monday morning while Tara was in a board meeting for work. The four “3”s perfectly lined up on my video poker machine, 800 nickels that translated into a rare chance to leave a casino with more money in my pocket than I entered with. The lunch with Tara and her coworkers, and admonition (or was it a threat?) from her boss to take good care of her. The trip to Pahrump Valley Vineyards while she finished up work. The rain showers and chilly wind sweeping through the valley (I thought it never rained in the desert!). The housing inspections we went on together with Michelle from the Pahrump office that afternoon, a chance for me to see my girlfriend in action. The two-and-a-half-hour dinner at Tommasino’s, a classy and gorgeous Italian restaurant that seems as out of place in Pahrump as a tumbleweed would in Portland. The calamari, tentacles and all. The Italian wedding soup and roast duck and chocolate chip cannoli and live jazz music and pinkie ring-bedecked owner straight out of the Sinatra era.

The breakfast burrito and coffee from Sonic Tuesday morning before heading out for more inspections. The crazy antics of Lisa and Laura, the local realtors who are partners-but-not-in-that-way. The detour through Red Rock Canyon on the drive back to Vegas, the mountain formations stunningly beautiful in the afternoon sunlight. The long, sad walk through McCarran Airport, neither of us wanting to part ways after such a wonderful visit. The tearful goodbye at the gate. The new countdown beginning: 25 days until we are together again.

That’s a lot of The’s to remember. A lot of The’s to never forget.

A lot of happy memories.

This rainbow over Tillamook Bay appeared out of nowhere, just in time for my shot.
Best airplane flight ever!
Las Vegas sign, Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas
The iconic sign welcoming dreamers from around the world.
The Strip
The Vegas skyline.
Over the hump you end up in Pahrump.
Tommasino's in Pahrump: one of the best Italian restaurants I've ever been to.
Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas.
My hair is blowing in the wind and there are cars in Tara's eyes, but I love this picture anyway.

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

32 thoughts on “Remembering The The’s

  1. Wow. Beautiful post, Mark. I’m practically speechless, but I just wanted to let you know how incredible this was to read.

    I almost feel like I’m reading an excerpt from a love letter, or personalized wedding vows. No pressure…



  2. Also, I went to Tommansio’s last night and had their lasagna, and I was disappointed, (Maybe I’m an Italian snob, or spoiled) but It didn’t live up to the new hype. However, Benjamin was very entertained by their pianist, and insisted on giving him a tip after every song…lets just say it was a very expensive dinner for me. πŸ™‚


    1. I was tempted to order the lasagna myself, or the linguini and clams – but the roast duck special was too tempting to pass up. And very, very good. Then again, didn’t you say your mother is Italian? Of course you’re a snob!


  3. “A blog is many things, I reply, but first and foremost, it’s a bookmark in the pages of your life. I want to look back on this, to always remember The Beginning.”

    You’re absolutely right, Mark, so keep on sharing it ALL.

    Besides, I love hearing about you and Tara!

    WOW! What an AWESOME trip this was!!!!!!!!

    LOVE your photos, especially the one of you and Tara on the plane together. I’m so freakin’ proud of you for getting on a plane. I hope I’m equally as brave when the time comes for me to fly again.

    The shot of the rainbow is STUNNING! A+

    And looking at the rest of these photos reminded me of my time spent in Vegas. Isn’t it an incredible place? A world all of its own.

    Thanks for sharing, buddy! And welcome back!


    Hi Tara!


    1. Thanks for the input, Ron! After reading your Barbie post today, it doesn’t surprise me a bit that you would encourage a person to “share it all.” πŸ˜‰

      Glad you enjoyed the photos. I love the rainbow shot myself, but I’m partial to the pics of me and Tara. Go figure, huh?


  4. This was just great and no matter what Tara says in the future, I would appreciate you remembering things as they happen instead of trying to remember a few months down the line. Let’s just say it may save on some arguments later. “Honey, remember when….” “Yes, dear and we did that…” “No honey, you got it all wrong…it was this….” Well, whaddayaknow…tada…it’s all ‘right’ here. Argument diverted.

    Not that you two love-birds would ever argue…but just in case…NEVER, EVER, STOP writing Mark…

    Just sayin’


    1. Hmm…that’s an excellent point, and an added benefit of writing everything down (though Optimistic (or is that Naive?) Mark would like to think that we will never, ever have an argument. I suppose that’s unrealistic, but maybe in our case it would be more of an Argument Lite. Or perhaps a Minor Disagreement).

      In any case, I’ll just keep on keepin’ on with all this lovey-dovey stuff!


  5. Never quit shouting your love from every rooftop you meet from here to the end of the world. You deserve a great woman and it sounds like she equally deserves a great man. I am very happy for you two and I will think of sending you a king cake, but she has to be around when I send it so you can share the cajun goodness with her!

    PS-I am tackling making crawfish stew tonight and I have a feeling you should try it after I post my recipe and make it for Tara so you know, it can be a total cajun night for you two!


    1. I don’t know how Tara feels about crawfish, but I’m pretty adventurous, so if that’s what it takes to get a king cake out of you…deal! (BTW, she’ll be here on Feb. 16th. Just so you know).


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