If everything goes as planned -- you know, the good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise -- I'll be headed to Atlanta Friday afternoon for a weekend away from paint brushes, lawn mowers and tools.
At the same time, I'm making one of my wife's dreams come true. She's always wanted to see Dolly Parton live and she'll get her chance Friday night.
As much as I've caught flak from friends for my Fox Theatre destination, I am sure of two things: Miriam will cry as soon as (and probably before) she sees Dolly and I'll be happy just to be there with her.
The concert is sort of my way of letting her know how proud I am of what she's doing nowadays.
She teaches part-time at Augusta Tech's Augusta campus, working with students who have struggled with math in the past, but need the courses to move on with their higher education. Miriam continually goes beyond the call of a part-time professor, using her spare time to tutor her students who need extra help or counsel students who just want to talk.
I know it's all worth it by the smile she brings home. I think she's found her calling and it's filled with equations and fractions. She touches lives, changes outlooks and -- most challenging for her -- keeps tabs on me.
Sitting through a couple of hours of Dolly is the least I can do.
I learned a special lesson last week. There's an easy way to tell true friends: you can pick up just like the old days, even if you haven't seen each other for months.
I sat down for lunch with my wife in Augusta last Thursday just as a couple of old friends from Columbia County walked in. They joined us for lunch and -- after my wife returned to class -- we sat and caught up for a couple of hours.
We planned trips we'll probably never take and scheduled dinners that will probably never be cooked. But that's OK. Even when life gets in the way, we know we're all just a phone call away. And that's all that matters.
Getting back to my Atlanta trip this weekend for a second, it does mean I'll be missing two things I was really looking forward to.
First, I won't be there for Homecoming at Briarwood. It'll be the first time I've missed a Briarwood home game in a while and I know I picked a bad one to miss. So allow me to wish both the football team and the homecoming candidates the best of luck Friday night.
Second, my friends at the 1810 Country Inn and Winery will finally be up and running for dinner. Chef Jeff has already whipped up a couple of impressive dishes during my visits in recent weeks and I was hoping to be there opening night. If you haven't planned to go, you should. Make sure you try the flourless chocolate cake. And if you have the option of the chicken pot pie, take it. Unless the catfish and cheese grits is available. Oh, nevermind. It's all great.
Just as I hope all their luck and reviews are.