In 1997, Ken took me on a 13-day Insight bus tour of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. He knew that I had always wanted to see the land of my ancestors, so off we went. Let me state this right up front. Ken, by his own admission is high strung. Some would say “tightly wound.” I have told friends that he is a cross between Barney Fife and Mr. Monk. For me to have been an English major and for him to have been in the newspaper business for all of his career, we often have, like is spoken of in Cool Hand Luke, “a failure to communicate.”
Our bus tour had begun in England and continued through Scotland and had come down the west coast of England to board a ferry to Ireland. It seemed that Insight must have had an agreement with the many woolen mills everywhere we went. We would stop at woolen mills for restroom breaks, to buy snacks, and to shop. I discovered right away that I would not be taking a kilt that Zach had requested back to him. They cost something like $400, and then you needed all the other stuff to be an official kilt wearer. I understand that all that was not needed was underwear.
On 7/17/97, there should have been enough 7’s in the date to bring us good luck. We were in Ireland. We should have experienced at least the luck of the Irish, but we had a major failure to communicate. Our tour took us to County Cork and to the Blarney Castle. Before we got out to tour the grounds and parts of the castle, our guide told us that if we wanted to kiss he Blarney Stone that we needed to be aware that we had to lean out of a window on our back while someone held our feet to keep us from falling. I immediately decided I would not be kissing the Blarney Stone. I did not want to be interred on Irish soil at that early time in my life, and I know Ken would have had me buried right there in County Cork.
I was walking around the grounds taking photos. The day was sunny at times and then very cloudy. Ken decided he was going to go kiss the Blarney Stone. There were some large wooden spools or as called them “wooden wheels” that were near the spot where he disappeared out of view. I told him I would meet him there at the WOODEN WHEEL because they said the it might take him an hour to get through the line to kiss the stone. I sat down on one of the spools to wait for him. I waited, and I waited, and I waited. An hour had gone by, and there was no Ken. I began to see others from our bus walking by, and I would ask them if they had seen my husband. No one had. Finally, someone told me he was in the WOOLEN MILL hunting for me.
It turns out that Ken had decided he didn’t want to wait in line for an hour. He had left the line and had gone to find me at the woolen mill instead of at the wooden wheel. When I made it to the woolen mill and found him, to say that he was fuming is to put it mildly. He declared that I told him that I would meet him there. And, I stated that I told him I would wait at the wooden wheel. That was almost 17 years ago. For 17 years now, when we have had a disagreement about something that has been miscommunicated, I look at him and simply say, “Wooden wheel!”