Luskin: A Touching Reunion

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Commentator’s Brunch Sampler

(HOST)  Today we begin sampling some of the essays recorded earlier this
year at the VPR
Commentator Brunch. The theme was, "Picture This" and commentator
Deborah Luskin invited the audience to imagine a moment of touching

(LUSKIN) I’m Deborah Lee Luskin and I just want to
assure everyone that even though my husband is not here today, we are
still married, despite the events of Labor Day weekend, 2004.

and I picked up the Long Trail where we’d left off the year before,
making our way toward Canada on foot. That spring, I’d run a half
marathon; I’d never been in such good shape. For the first time in our
eighteen years of marriage, I carried the tent; all Tim packed was the

As usual, Tim pulled ahead. This isn’t just because he has
long legs, but also because as soon as I start walking, my mind
wanders, leading me right off the trail. The first time he stopped, he
was surprised that I was only a few minutes behind him. But he was out
of sight when I came to a clearing where a young woman appeared. I
continued in the direction she’d come from, until I realized I was
headed downhill – and south. I returned to the clearing, picked up the
trail, and hurried to catch up.

Meanwhile, Tim had backtracked,
looking for me. When he wasn’t waiting to point out a breathtaking view
in the slanting afternoon light, I hoped he’d gone ahead to cook dinner.
But when I arrived at the shelter, no one was there.

I pitched
the tent and spent a sleepless night wondering how to tell our children
I’d lost their father in the woods. Tim searched for me until dark, and
spent an uncomfortable night in the car.

At first light, I retraced my steps and as I crossed a paved road, an old woman appeared.

"Are you lost?" she asked.

"No," I said, "but I can’t find my husband."

"He was looking for you yesterday. He called the police from my house." So did I.

A trooper drove me back to the trail-head, where search and rescue volunteers had assembled. Tim was there.

smiled, his face full of relief and concern. I climbed out of the
cruiser. He approached and looked deeply into my eyes. Then he turned to
the officer in charge and said, "They’re blue!"

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