That#8217;s not just any woman; that#8217;s my wife and my friend

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

It’s one thing to have a spouse (I ought to know; I’ve had three), but then again it is an entirely different thing to have a spouse who is a good friend, who shares your interests.

That is where I am extremely lucky.

Let’s look at this past weekend for example.

Email newsletter signup

But before we go there, you need to know a little bit about me, or at least my interests.

I love auto racing. Well, most kinds. My favorite is round-track, NASCAR and then Indy. Not a big fan of off-road, Big trucks or things that don’t go in circles, but I have been known to watch them when no other kind of racing is on TV.

I also like to fish.

Now, I am not a fanatic about fishing. I don’t own a boat (although I did once and never put it in the water) and I don’t have thousands of dollars of equipment. What I do have is a pond in my backyard and a fishing deck built by the previous owner of our home.

I catch and release pan fish and both large- and small-mouth bass. It is a short distance from the house to the pond, about 30-40 yards, and when I need a beer, or am need of the “facilities,” they are just a short walk away.

So, with that in mind, let me tell you about my spouse and my friend.

First of all, Saturday was Media Day at Langley Speedway, near Langley Air Force Base. I wanted to attend, and I made arrangements with my publisher to work half a day and be off the remainder.

I was going to work, to take photos and do interviews, so I wasn’t sure Martha would be interested in going. She has, however, gone to a racetrack with me before.

She asked if she would be invited and I assured her she would.

We made the trip, and Mother Nature made her presence known. There was little going on that day due to the rain and cold, but I did come away with a few ideas for future stories.

We left the track early Saturday afternoon and made it home in time to watch the NASCAR Busch race from Bristol, Tenn.

And that night, we went to the Hampton Coliseum for the final contest of the season for Arena Racing USA.

And what was really cool was Martha enjoyed it all – Langley, Busch racing and Arena Racing. We had been to the latter before and she had a good time.

The next day we planned to attend the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Home and Garden Show, something we both wanted to see.

We were up fairly early to have breakfast at Ed’s Place and then off to Virginia Beach. We left early, because my wife said if we did it that way we would be assured of arriving home in time for the 2 p.m. start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Bristol.

Did I die and go to heaven?

Well, everything worked out as planned and we made the Virginia Beach show and the drop of the green flag from Bristol.

And then Monday, my regular day off, I spent a little time doing yard work and then fished the remainder of the afternoon.

Yeah, having a spouse is one thing. Heck, anybody can have one of those. But to have a spouse and a good friend who enjoys the same things that you do — well, as the credit card commercial states, “It’s priceless.”

Smokey update

I have had more than a few folks ask me how Smokey is doing these days. For those who are not regular readers, Smokey is the oldest of our four dogs. He has an enlarged heart, fluid around his heart, is going blind and deaf and the doctor seems to think he has had a heart attack at some point.

Well, the doctor changed his medications and he isn’t coughing as much as before. He is always tired and is starting to look older and run down, but every now and then he still has that old Smokey spunk.

So, things right now are better and we are optimistic, but we also know this is not something he will outgrow.

Martha and I do want to thank everyone who has asked about him and his health. It means a lot to us that you care.

I’ll keep you posted.

Grant is the managing editor of the News-Herald. Contact him at