Monday, October 2, 2017


It’s October. That means fall is here and the leaves will soon be making way for bare branches, ice, and snow. While that may be great for some, it’s not my favorite. October, however holds a special place in our family. Aside from being the last good weather until spring, October has had its share of ups and downs in our family, both with Wendy and I, as well as with other family members. Those Octobers, good and bad, have had an indelible effect on all of us.

This Wednesday marks my twentieth wedding anniversary with Wendy. October 4, 1997. It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been married for twenty years and together for twenty six. It seems like yesterday that we were seventeen year old kids looking for that special person who made our hearts flutter and stomachs feel just a little bit queasy. Heck, she still makes me feel that way.

At the wedding reception, we had the DJ play a song for my dad. October 5th is his birthday, and we wanted to honor his big day at our big day. It makes it easy to remember our anniversary or his birthday (not that I have any problems remembering dates). I’m pretty sure he was enjoying the party as much as we were. Strangely, the reception seems like more of a dream than an event to both Wendy and I. We were so busy making sure that we got around to each table that the night went by in a blur. The ceremony is very clear still, and sometimes we bemoan the fact that the reception was so busy for us. I guess all newlyweds have that issue.

Let me tell you about an October that stands out from all the other Octobers in my mind. It was 2003. I was working at a local phone company where we had been hearing of rumblings of layoffs for some months. At the beginning of September, I went to my boss and offered to take a pay cut if it meant keeping my job. I offered to take nearly a $5.00 per hour cut. Instead of accepting that, my boss assured me that it looked like there would only be four cuts and that I’d be safe.

By the time October rolled around, I was feeling confident that I would still be working. On October 2nd, I was into work early, doing a changeover at a job in Amherst. The lead tech called me and said that I was needed in the office as soon as possible. I explained that I could not leave because I was in the middle of an upgrade. He insisted that I needed to be to the office. He came out to finish the job so I could make it to some important tech meeting.

When I got to the office, the place was empty except for the general manager and ten fellow technicians. Then I saw the regional manager walk through the door and I knew that we were being let go. While I bear no grudges toward the company, I am still a little peeved about the way they went about it. All the guys who we had worked with for years were told to vacate the office and we had no chance to say goodbye. I guess they didn’t want any altercations. However, these guys were our brothers. We were still friends. It was not well received by most of us.

Anyway, they let us take the work vans home that morning to return them the next morning with any all all equipment present and accounted for. I went back the next day, turned in my van, and hung around the office talking with the guys who were able to keep their jobs. I was the only one to do so. Eventually, management got sick of me hanging around and had one of the other technicians drive me home. And that was the end of a great job.

The very next day was my my sixth wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Wendy, I’m unemployed. The changes didn’t end there. That very evening after I turned in my van and equipment, Wendy and I went out for dinner. We went to Garfield’s at the Lockport Mall to get something to eat. It was the day before our anniversary, so I figured we were just going out to celebrate that fact. I was definitely in for a surprise.

While sitting at Garfield’s, Wendy told me she was pregnant. I was shocked and extremely happy. We had been trying for so long with little luck. I was getting pretty down about it, so when she told me, I was definitely relieved and ecstatic. Then reality struck with abrupt clarity. I had just lost my job and now I was going to be a parent. The surprises kept coming.

On Columbus Day, we decided to go over to Wendy’s parents’ house to spend the day. We weren’t there for very long when her dad decided that he needed to go to the hospital. He had been sick for quite awhile with pancreatic cancer. He must have been having a bad day, but I can’t remember. Wendy went with her mom and dad to Roswell. I went home. The same day, the doctor’s office called about Wendy’s blood work and pregnancy. Despite the fact that we had signed a HIPPA agreement, the doctor’s office refused to give me any information. (This happens every single time, despite the fact that she’s given me the all clear to get her medical information. Most people are a little overzealous with their carrying out of that law.)

We ended up having an appointment with the doctor’s office the very next afternoon. Wendy left work just a little bit early so we could go to the office before they closed. We went back into the ultrasound room, and I sat down to read like I always do. When the nurse came in to do the procedure, she made the announcement, “Well, now we know why your numbers were so high. There are two of them in there.” I stopped reading, closing the book without even marking my page. Then she said she was going to make sure there wasn’t a third hiding in there. I know I dropped my book to the floor at that moment. The nurse asked Wendy if I was going to need some help.

It was a stunning turn of events. I went from working full time to sitting at home, and I went from not having any kids to having two on the way. If that wasn’t a rude awakening back to reality, I’m not sure what else could be. In the meantime, while Wendy was riding the thrills of newfound pregnancy, she was also dealing the with imminent failing health of her father. We did get to tell him one evening at Roswell that we were having twins. He was very happy for us.

Come Halloween, my mother-in-law called me at home and not so gently urged us to come up to the hospital. Wendy was late at work and I had to call her to get home. We went up to the hospital. Fred passed away that evening. Halloween has never been the same. Add to that the fact that my grandmother died on Halloween back in 1992. October has given us the highest highs and the lowest lows. This week will will celebrate our anniversary and my dad’s birthday. We will remember Fred and MeMe. And we will celebrate the children who make our lives so much fuller.

As I came back to this article Monday afternoon, I was still reeling from the news out of Las Vegas. At the time of writing this last paragraph, 58 people have died and hundreds have been injured. It puts our own lives into perspective. Take some time today. Hug your loved ones. Greet your neighbors. And smile. Don’t let petty differences tear your day apart. Life is too short.

Craig Bacon wants his family to know how much he loves them. And to Wendy, here’s to many more decades together.