As resident Pennsylvanians, I think we can all agree Harrisburg in February is like Paris in spring.
Now, I’ve only ever been to Paris in summer, so I can tell you Harrisburg in February is nothing like Paris in summer.
Harrisburg in February doesn’t have a guy with no pants on screaming les Etats-Unis! Les Etats-UNIS!
Do you know who does?
Yeah. Paris in summer.
I mean, really, dude. I’m just trying to have a croissant with my kids. Can you go scream about the United States somewhere else? And maybe put on some pants? Or even consider putting on some pants?
The road to romantic celebrations in Harrisburg was a circuitous one for me — and not because of my Burt Bacharach detour.
It’s actually because of deer. See, the deer hunting season brings the most success in the early weeks of November.
I got married in the early weeks of November.
So, each November, I am Robert Frost, contemplating the two roads before me. On one road, I insist my husband eschew November hunting for our anniversary. The other road sees me spend that day alone, but come December I am awash in venison.
Although Frost’s roads aren’t all that different, my roads are – you can’t have an anniversary celebration without venison. Have you ever tried? It’s ridiculous.
So we pivoted to celebrating our anniversary in February. February is good. February works. There’s no hunting in February.
But also, there’s no hunting in February.
And when there’s no hunting, one must take advantage of the opportunity to gather and talk about hunting.
Which is why the Great American Outdoor Show is held in February.
For a solid week.
Including the day we celebrate our anniversary.
It’s also held in Harrisburg. You probably think it’s held in Harrisburg because Harrisburg is centrally located. But I think it’s probably because nobody in Harrisburg walks around without their pants on screaming les Etats-Unis! Les Etats-UNIS!
So February again finds me playing Robert Frost. But you know what? My husband brings me venison. When cats bring you dead animals, it’s supposedly a sign of their love. I assume the same is true of husbands.
And he always invites me to the Great American Outdoor Show. It’s a tempting proposal. A brand-new Starbucks stands gleaming a mere five minutes from my husband’s hotel.
I don’t have the strength to resist that. I’m not Thor.
That was how I wound up driving to Harrisburg. Why I wind up driving to Harrisburg most Februarys.
I arrived in our hotel room to find it empty. Which I expected. I can be a pretty girl when I try, but let’s face it. Even with all the purple lipstick from Netflix’s Wednesday, I’ll never be as attractive as the Great American Outdoor Show.
Purple lipstick will get me a ride, however, to the event my husband helped host that night.
We were in a lovely brewery, the event sequestered in its own space. Despite arriving with my husband, I did not arrive with my husband.
He entered the event space ahead of me. I, of course, had found someone to talk to.
Well, talk at.
She and I wandered into the event space only to be stopped by volunteers.
“We know who you are,” they said. “You’re the wives. VIPs!”
I kid you not. When you marry an outdoorsman, and attend outdoors events, you are the Kate Middleton, the Grace Kelly, the Meghan Markle of that space — not a member yourself, but entitled to the same treatment as though who are.
I stopped to talk to a few more people — I am nothing if not the people’s princess — and grabbed a beer from the bar. For hours upon hours, I circulated. I met lovely outfitters from Wyoming. I heard a bananas hunting story. I tried to talk to a couple sitting quietly by themselves, but they said I was weird and moved on.
Maybe it was the purple lipstick.
What I didn’t do was talk to my husband. Honestly, I’m not even sure he was there. We are both products of marriages wherein the involved parties rarely saw each other. We simply don’t know how to function any other way.
It must work. Our parents have been married for fifty-plus years. Sure, my sample size is small. That just means more research is needed. Muscle memory isn’t the only reason I conduct my marriage the way I do.
I do it in the name of science.
Around hour six, my husband located me. Our romantic weekend in Harrisburg had drawn to a close.
That was two weeks ago. I still haven’t seen him. And won’t, probably, until we go to Montana in March.
For another romantic weekend.
At an outdoors event.
Because everyone wears their pants, and no one screams les Etats-Unis! Les Etats-UNIS!