I realize that, as I get older, I can be a bit more sappy and sentimental than when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those guys who will break into tears while admiring the beauty of the sunrise off Lake Ontario. However, there is a chance I may get a bit emotional when gazing upon a 1958 Sunrise Burst Les Paul. Still, this writing is not about beautiful guitars. Well, actually it is but it isn’t. This is really about my relationship with my wife. This is an illustration of how a husband thinks he understands how much his wife truly loves him after 20 plus years of marriage. I should perhaps backtrack a bit to give some proper context to the story.
Just about two years ago, I got wind that KISS would be performing in my area. I have been a KISS fan since I was eleven years old. I went to see them perform in 1979 in Charlotte, NC. It would be the last tour for the original lineup for nearly 20 years. My wife was wondering if I would be wanting to get tickets to see them at Darien Lake when they were set to perform in 2012. I looked at the concert date and realize this would night be feasible. The date that KISS was scheduled to perform was VERY close to the date that my daughter was due to deliver my grandson. Darien Lake is more than an hour away from where we live. I was worried that my daughter might go into labor while I was at the show. I really wanted to see KISS but I wasn’t going to risk missing a single minute of my grandson’s birth. I also didn’t want to risk telling my daughter: “I’ll leave as soon as they finish I Love It Loud. Keep breathing, Baby Girl but DON’T PUSH!” All joking aside, my instincts proved to be spot on. I was sitting in a hospital room with my daughter the night that KISS was performing at Darien Lake in 2012. To say that my grandson, Taelor-James Robert Schaller, gave every one an incredible show would be grossly understating it [Refer to The Arrival of a Mighty Warrior].
Fast forward two years later to 2014. I had seen press releases that KISS would be doing a summer tour with Def Leppard. Once again, they were scheduled to perform at Darien Lake in August 2014. A couple of days later advertising began for lawn seats at 50% off. I had commented to my wife that I was tired of getting teased by the Groupon ads.
June 2014 rolls around. As Father’s Day weekend approaches, my wife began experiencing excruciating back pain that stems from an old injury. Her pain resulted in a hospital trip. I was an emotional wreck. I was prepared to scrap a get together with the kids that weekend. My wife insisted that I keep things as planned. I had gotten an early present – a gas grill. My wife’s only stipulation was that I come to see her at the hospital that morning as she had another present.
As requested, I went to visit my wife on the morning of Father’s Day. My daughter, Brianna and her fiancée, Michael were there to present me with my gift. For the first time, I got “boxed”. This means that a larger gift wrapped box contained several smaller gift wrapped boxes (each smaller boxes contained within a larger box). After unwrapping the fourth or fifth gift wrapped box (I stopped counting after the third), I found the gift. In my hands were a print out of two tickets for KISS and Def Leppard at Darien Lake August 13, 2014. To make it even sweeter, these were seats inside the shell. This would be a much different experience than when I sat at the top of the balcony at the Charlotte Coliseum with my Dad (though that was a COOL experience).
Again, I must provide some context here. My wife is horrible at keeping secrets. This is especially true when it comes to surprises or gifts. Giving gifts is just as exciting for my wife as receiving a gift. Many times over the years, the excitement has overcome my wife and a surprise has been revealed prematurely. With that in mind, I found out that my wife had purchased these concerts tickets several months prior and had been sitting on this information all this time. That fact was almost as overwhelming of a gift as the tickets.
The concert day had arrived and I rode to Darien Lake with my son in-law Michael [ Note:He is not to be confused with my other daughter’s fiancée whose name is also Michael. Try to keep up]. As we waited for Def Leppard to start, we got a small meal which cost Michael a small fortune. As the excitement was building, my wife texted me: “Give me a call when you are on the way home”. She was as excited about me going to this concert as I was. I knew she would want details.
As expected, Def Leppard put on an AWESOME show. When you combine their great vocal harmonies and the guitar prowess of Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, it’s hard to have a bad experience. I decided to post some blurbs to Facebook about the show to let my wife know that I was getting her money’s worth. It was at this point when I got an even bigger illustration of my wife’s love for me.
After I posted my status, I was scrolling down the newsfeed for my Facebook. It was at this point that I found a disturbing post from one of my wife’s sisters who lives out of state. Earlier that evening, after Michael and I had already left for Darien Lake, the family had received notification that one of their brothers had passed away unexpectedly. I was pretty taken back and was telling Michael what I had read. THIS was why my wife wanted me to call. But she wanted me to call AFTER the show. Michael and I had quickly concluded what her rationale was. My wife wanted me to enjoy the show. She went out of her way to instruct the kids not to post anything on the Internet until after the show. My wife KNEW that if she told me earlier in the evening, Michael and I would have left and came home to offer support to my wife. My wife, in spite of her grief, deliberately withheld the tragic news from me. I fought the urge to leave as I felt it would have only upset my wife more given her intentions for me that evening. So I decided to return my love to my wife and pretend NOT to know what had happened.
KISS did not disappoint. From the opening riff of Psycho Circus to the closing chords of Rock and Roll All Nite, my son in-law and I drank in every explosive, pyrotechnical moment. Michael and I both saved a piece of confetti from the show. Once we got back to Michael’s car, I called my wife. She asked me about the show. She was so happy to hear I had a good time and she had been looking forward to it as much as I had. I then told her I was aware of her brother’s passing. I told her that I understood why she waited to tell me and that her suspicions were correct. I told her how much I appreciated the generosity of her loving gesture and I was so sorry for her loss.
In the days that followed, I supported my wife and her siblings as well as I knew how through their tragic loss. Her brother was a good man of whom I have many good memories. He always showed me great hospitality. Still, as I think back on all of this, I cannot help but be moved by my wife’s generosity from the moment she bought the tickets for a Father’s Day. Just when I THOUGHT I understood just HOW MUCH my wife loves me, she outdid herself by illustrating that love in a way that was (and still is) bigger than I could have imagined.
In closing, all I can say is a big huge to THANK YOU to Def Leppard, KISS, my son in-law and (most importantly) my wife for providing me with a night I will never forget.