Ancient History

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My husband’s blog redesign features yellow in the header. At first, I thought this was an odd color choice because I’ve never thought of him as being a yellow kind of guy. His shirts are usually blues, greens, and browns. He has an orange hoodie.

Then I remembered the mustard.

When we first began dating in college, he had a broken leg due to a soccer mishap. I was part girl of his dreams, part home health aide. I drove him to the store one evening so he could stock up on a few things. Then I drove to his apartment and helped him get the groceries inside. I opened his refrigerator. He had bottled water, lunch meat, a loaf of bread, and about eight bottles and jars of mustard.

Regular French’s mustard, Grey Poupon, honey mustard, brown mustard, brown mustard with beer, a store brand yellow mustard, and a few other random mustards. He had more mustard in one location than I’d ever seen in my life. Of course I had to point out that we should have got some mustard at the store because it looked like his supply was suffering.

A few weeks later I visited my friend Amy, who was in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was my first trip to Wisconsin, so she drove around the region so I could see Wisconsiney things. One interesting little town was Mt. Horeb, home of the World Famous Mustard Museum. The museum boasts a collection of 800 different mustards from all over the world. You can try many of them with little spoons. Some were perfectly tangy and hot dog worthy, others made me want to unplug my tongue and stomp on it with stilettos. The whole time I was there, I was thinking about the new boy I was dating and his mustards. I kept laughing and I realized I really, really missed him.

I bought a t-shirt for him. It said Mustard Happens.

When I got back to Grand Junction, I couldn’t wait to see him. But I was feeling shy about the shirt. I wanted him to think it was funny and thoughtful. I took it over to his apartment. We talked and watched movies. The whole time, the shirt was wadded in my backpack. Right before I left, I snuck into his bedroom and put it under his pillow for him to find.

He found it. I don’t think he ever wore it, but it is now part of a t-shirt quilit my mother-in-law made for him. It covers us when we snuggle on the couch together, or it plays the part of the extra blanket when a kid complains their bed is too cold at night. Right now, it is wadded at the foot of Tommy’s bed.

Only one of our kids likes mustard. We have two jars in the fridge—one regular, one dijon. Our early days together are colored yellow, spicy, sun-splashed, the perfect topping for what became a feast.

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