I Think You’re an Autumn Chicken

The other day my wife and I were driving home from work and talking about the day. She works in HR and, since it was the beginning of a new semester with a number of new faculty and adjuncts starting work, she had a very busy day. After listing all the things she had to do during the day, she sighed and said, “I guess I’m no spring chicken any more.”

A thought came to mind and I couldn’t resist.

“Honey,” I said, “I think you’re an autumn chicken, now.”“Well, you’re no spring chicken either,” she said in reply, “You may just be a winter chicken.”

My wife and I have been married for almost thirty-one years. We’ve been married fifty percent longer than our age when we were married. Yes, we were married when we were twenty years old. We both agree we are very different people now than when we were married.

She worked full time in those early years while I worked part time and pursued my education full time. As the years rolled by she, too, went to school and is now finishing up her Ph.D. in organizational leadership. I couldn’t be more proud of the professional she has become and the way she does her job with excellence.

Along the way we raised three wonderful human beings who are moving into young adulthood and finding their place in the world. We long ago lost count of the baseball and soccer practices and games, the rehearsals and recitals, and the many school functions. The children of other people have entered the orbit of our family, some for longer than others. We have seen a couple of them for a while now and they just might be around for a long time.

We lived in Missouri for nine years, Kentucky for three, Florida for eleven, and now Tennessee for eight, give or take a few months in either place. Appropriately, Missouri was the spring of our marriage, Florida the summer years, and now we are enjoying the autumn in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. Of all the places we have lived, we are feeling like Tennessee is home for us. We’ll likely spend the winter of our lives in this place.

We have had more challenges than some and less than others over the years but I am glad we have weathered the seasons of life together. Just last night, after a quiet and relaxing Sunday afternoon she looked at me and said, “I like just hanging out with you Mr. G.” I said, “I like hanging out with you, too!”

As for me, I like being an autumn chicken. My body has betrayed me in more places than I want to remember, when I can remember. My priorities have shifted a lot in the last few years. I find real, unspeakable joy in watching my children grow up. Most of all, I love sharing my life with my wife. She is my autumn chicken and I am hers. We will enjoy winter together, but we’re in no hurry for it to come. We love the fall.

  • Bob Vassar

    I enjoy the commitment of vows taken and expanded as life grows and changes. Maybe the thoughts that guide here could also be applied to the article on lies the church expresses. Enjoying the site Darrell. Thanks for going this path to encourage and inspire conversations.

    • DarrellGwaltney

      Bob–thanks for the comment! I think you have a good idea about how this post connects with the “lies” post. This is one reason I’m looking forward to doing this . . . conversation helps us think more deeply. I’m going to think about how I can mash these two together. Glad to have you in the conversation!

  • Mark Mc Mullin

    As I think back over the years (26) with my wife Susie I can’t help but wonder how much different it would be if it not for faithful friends and prayer warriors who lifted my up and led me to the cross. I started my wonderful journey latter than most but man it has been a joyful ride ever since. Thanks for reminding me that it is not the years that make us mature but the changing seasons of our life with the ones we love.

    • DarrellGwaltney

      You’re welcome, Mark! This journey always involves friends. The great thing about experiencing the changing seasons of life with some one is that person knows you better than any one on the planet. Just a look at my wife, or just a look from her, can remind each of us of a hundred hundred different moments in our life. Autumn is a great season of life!

      Its so good to have you post. I hope to see you on here again!