Who were you before you were the wife of an alcoholic?

Who were you before his anger became your anger?

Who were you before his toxins poisoned your life?

Who were you before the rage and the grieve, the hope and the hopelessness broke your heart and twisted your soul?

Who were you when you were who you knew you were meant to be?

Me, I was fun.

I was reminded of this the other day when I happened into an Ace Hardware.

I HAD NEVER BEEN IN AN ACE HARDWARE BEFORE!

O!M!G!

I went in for a tire pressure gauge.

I thought it was your usual and typical hardware/automotive store.

But as I made my way to the cashier, I spied this little piece of nirvana it seemed!

Elephant tapestries, colorful rainboots, cats wearing glasses coin purses.

It was crazy.

How was this stuff (and oh so much delightfully more) here and I NEVER! KNEW?!

I carefully considered my purchases, settling on the aforementioned elephant tapestry, an elephant backpack for my niece, a pair of super colorful mittens and some other little trinkets (plus the tire pressure gauge of course) and went to pay for them.

“I’ve never been in an Ace Hardware store,” I told the clerk. Maybe with only semi-mock horror.

She echoed my horror back.

“You HAVEN’T?!”

We proceeded to laugh about all I have been missing and oh what they have at Christmas time and how I must (MUST!) come back soon.

We said our goodbyes, like two old friends and I headed for my car where it suddenly hit me.

I called my friend.

“I’m a FUN person!!”

She laughed and said,

“Why do you think I hang out with you?”

But it’s been a long time since I have felt fun.

It’s been a long time since that has come out in me.

I remember many, many years ago when my kids were all little and we had this huge maple tree in our front yard.

Oh, the leaves it would give us in the fall!

Piles upon piles upon piles of leaves to rake up for the kids to jump in.

I loved raking those leaves.

It gave me something to do while my kids played in the yard.

One year we lost that tree to a storm.

I was heartbroken.

Our elderly neighbors had the “same” tree.

So one fall afternoon, I offered to rake up their leaves while also taking some for my own yard.

That’s right.

I raked leaves INTO my yard.

The kids were thrilled.

My husband not so much.

He pulled up to our house to see his wife raking leaves from the neighbor’s yard INTO his yard.

I suppose it was early enough in this tragic journey that I underestimated his reaction.

“Hi!” I chirped.

“We’re borrowing the neighbor’s leaves.”

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? WHO THE HELL RAKES LEAVES INTO THEIR YARD? THAT’S THE DUMBEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN ANYONE DO!”

I’d actually forgotten about this – it has to have been at least ten years ago – until I started writing about being fun.

Today I am going to be fun.

I’ll laugh too loud.

Or squirt the kids with the kitchen sprayer.

Perhaps I’ll take my dog to the park and wrestle with him.

Maybe I’ll see if the neighbor’s tree has started to lose its leaves.