Meanderings

So I read a really great book on writing the other day. It’s called Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamotte. She’s a beautiful writer. I was perking along, appreciating her thoughts and her elegant style.

Then apparently, her editor said to her: “You have made the mistake of thinking that everything that has happened to you is interesting.”

Wow. That was a zinger for her.

And a real head twister for me.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I use the “I” word more than I’d like to. (See, there I go again.)

My problem is that I don’t have any other resources. It’s just me. All by myself. I know Anne Lamotte’s editor’s remark is wise and astute but it leaves me way out in left field. Not even sitting in the stands. I’m parked in a car many moons away from the action.

It seems that all I’m doing is scribbling, little bits and pieces, about the stuff that I’ve seen, enjoyed, laugh about, worry about, think about.

But, I said in the beginning of this venture that I would be writing about nothing. So then, nothing has changed except I read a book that was beautifully written and shook me up a little.

The bottom line, for me, is if I’m lucky enough to conjure up a connection or a common experience, spark a thought, maybe a smile, well, then there’s nothing more to be said, is there?

We’re at the ball game together. How lovely.

Before, During, and After

They crash to the ground like hand grenades. Gnarly and unforgiving. Step on one and you’ll regret it.

They fall from heights reaching 70 feet…..depending on their source.

They are deeply southern in their heritage. Their birth mothers are considered to be integral to the beauty of the low-country.

Their origins, the magnificent Magnolia tree, can indeed be a thing of beauty but also an unwelcome addition to the yard. Sprawling limbs threaten roofs. Rubbery leaves destroy landscaping. And, yes, those voluminous seed pods fall. And fall. And fall.

But this year, through the intervention of a crafty neighbor, many trips to that money-pit known as Michaels, and the knot-making talent of one’s husband, those hand-grenades were transformed into angels.

During that time of transition I learned much.

First, the glue gun is a marvel and a critical instrument in the art of crafting.

Second, apparently, no matter how well intended one’s efforts are, one is not supposed to touch the hot glue. I am imagining that criminals already know this. It’s a cheap, if not painful, way to destroy those identifying swirls known as fingerprints.

Third, Michael’s is a world unto itself. Having never visited one before, I now stand in awe of the many things one never knew one needed until one wanders the aisles and determines that there are things there that one cannot live without….the reasons for which are not immediately apparent but will surely become so in time. One also must buy those cunning little containers in which to store one’s newly acquired bounty. One spent much more money than one should have. And one regrets not a single penny of it.

Even given all of that, those nasty pods became smiling angels. Some had lopsided haloes; others had smudged faces and frayed wings; many had globules of glue in the wrong places but, all in all, they were pretty good. And they were made with a certain degree of affection and love.

Most of them have flown away into the hands of friends.  Happily, I hope.

I’ve heard from one friend that her angel is standing guard over the computer. The angel’s mission? To stop the computer’s owner from pitching it out the window in a pique of frustration.

That’s a big order and I’ll cross my fingers for her.

‘Course that glue’s gotta let go first.  Should be any day now. I sure hope so.

 

Pay to Play

So, what happens when a friendly afternoon card game decides to kick it up a notch and put money in the pot?

A bunch of stuff happens.

We’ve always agreed to shuffle the cards seven times before we deal them but no one has ever counted. ‘Til now. Eagle eyes now imagine sleight of hand and the slipping of an ace to the bottom of the deck. Only the opening of a bottle of wine gets in the way of scrutiny.

The scorekeeper was, once upon a time, thanked for her duties. Now she’s the center of controversy. Calculators appear. iPhones tick. Her honesty and mathematical abilities are challenged. More wine is needed to keep tears at bay.

We play for a nickel a point. (My mother played for a dime a point but that was before the recession.) Ever seen a group of women divvying up a lunch bill? That pales in comparison to this. We struggle with percentages, multiplication, division. Is that three pennies or four? More wine, please.

A caring and thoughtful bit of instruction is often viewed as a means to a better score. That’s not new. It’s just that now there’s money at stake. The offender can atone for her transgression by… what else?… pouring a little more wine.

So, have we destroyed the friendly, chitty-chatty card game we once had? Tossed in a stressful element? Changed the tenor of the game? Perhaps.

Is it worth all that?

You bet your bippy it is. I have 64 cents in my pocket to prove it.

And a nice afternoon buzz to boot………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Imprints

To date, there are three major events (outside personal events, of course) that are indelibly imprinted in my brain. President Kennedy’s assassination, the Challenger disaster, and September 11th. I’m not alone in that. Ask anyone who lived through those days and they’ll tell you where they were and what they were doing when those things happened.  To a tee.

On September 11, 2001, we were living in Dayton, Ohio in a small condominium complex. Our garages were in the back of the houses and provided a natural place for daily greetings. We all knew each other.

On that terrible day, several of our neighbors had family members who were stranded in airports and faraway cities. I’m not sure why but our house became the central gathering point for many. It may have had something to do with the mugs of coffee we poured but I think it was more about comfort and friendship.

As the day went on and uncertainty reigned, we became increasingly concerned about the potential danger to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is located in Dayton. We’d wrench ourselves from the television and wander into the back yards, listening, watching, worrying. There were jets, roaring overhead, constantly leaving and returning to the base and, of course, we had no idea why.

We were spared, as history reflects, but my mind still carries the pictures of friends and family, together. We needed each other and we had each other. The value of that bond stays with us today.

This week I received a brief note from one our dearest friends who happened to live next door to us at that time. She wrote: “Of all days, I so wanted to hear your voices but something is wrong with my phone.”

For a moment I wasn’t sure what she’d meant by “Of all days….” and then, scribbled at the very top of the note, I saw the date: September 11, 2015.

 

 

Reunions and all that

Thirty five years ago, we went to my husband’s 15th graduate school reunion. Most of those who returned were, naturally, still quite full of themselves. They were ambitious, testosterone-driven, titans-in-training. I understood that. They’d paid good money for their education and they were going to milk it every for every cent it was worth.

That’s not to say that many of them were any fun.

As a result, I promised myself I’d never attend another reunion. But then, promises are made to be broken.

We just returned from his 50th graduate school reunion. I agreed to go back, thinking that, at this point in our lives, people would have stopped talking about their possessions, acquisitions, status, homes (second and third), titles, positions,….in other words, their stuff, their things, their accomplishments, their resume material.

And that perhaps, just perhaps, they would enjoy laughing, even at themselves, at the foibles and mistakes we’ve all encountered, and, hopefully, learned from. That the joys of a simpler life might be in evidence. I hoped that would be the case.

I was wrong. Really, really wrong.

During the cocktail hour, I asked one of the gentlemen if he’d ever had any “bumps in the road” during his long and obviously successful career. He said that, yes, indeed he had and he’d made mega-bucks on each one of them. Hmmmm….not exactly the fodder for conversation I’d been seeking.

After we’d been seated, my dinner partner inquired a bit about our time during the school years. I told him I’d worked and had, in some small way, supported my husband’s education. He asked where I’d been employed.   I told him. He said he’d consulted with them over the years and they paid their employees very poorly. Well, it hardly took an advanced degree to know that. First hand experience is a great teacher. And a lot less expensive.

Later on, the dinner table conversation got even more stilted and pretentious. I was reminded of an old song. It’s from Annie Get Your Gun. You know it, too. “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.”

So to bring things down to my level, I decided to tell a joke. I’ll share it with you. It goes like this:

“A man walks into a…..”

Oops. I’ve just run out of space. Next week I’ll tell you the joke.

Maybe.

In the meantime, we’re home, gently, softly, on the river. The neighbor’s dog has joyfully bounded up to the porch for her share of our Cheezits, some paddle-boarders have given us high-fives and there’s a cool breeze. All is well.

 

 

Digital Distress

Version 3

I guess the question is who will kick the bucket first?  Those digital drama queens (aka digitally controlled devices) or the aging human beings who live here?

Will we be the cookers or the cook-ees? The doers or the done-ins? It’s a toss up, at best. Most days it feels like they’re winning.

We recently bought a new toaster oven. It was mis-delivered by Fed-Ex to the church next door and then graciously hand-delivered by the pastor to our doorstep. I made the assumption that the new toaster oven, by virtue of its circuitous route to our house, had been blessed and would be a joy to own. We had not counted on its being “digital.” Fifty-seven pages of instruction! We’re talking toaster here!   Bread, bagels, English muffins. Not spread sheets or power point presentations. Today’s toasters are, apparently, seeking to elevate their status in the world.

You are welcome to my printer. Just know that it comes with a deeply imbedded vocabulary which might be considered harsh and offensive by some. It also has a very low opinion of itself. Which is actually exactly what it should have given its level of disobedience.

My IPhone sits in a corner. All by itself. Siri doesn’t like me and I don’t like her either. She claims she can’t understand me. Well, right back at you, Siri. That’s okay. Two women in a household usually don’t get along very well anyway. Nothing new there.

The computer has a “systems preference” button. My preference is that its systems work. Period.

And then there’s the digital bathroom scale. Accurate to a fault. Once upon a time you could jiggle a little thingie on the scale until you were happy with what it told you. There’s no jiggle in digital.

I scream at those programmed objects but nothing happens. Except a spike in my blood pressure and heart rate.

I long for easy. For simple. Is it too late to ask for something with one little knob? One that controls the offs and ons, the louder, softer, warmer, cooler?

Yes.

It is.

Way too late.

So what are the odds? Them versus us. Your money, or your guess, is as good as ours.

Dress Codes

I love to be invited to things.   But as soon as I open the invitation I start worrying about what to wear.

Will I be over- or under-dressed?    Shall I make the leap to khakis or will jeans do?

Will I pile on too much bling?    That’s not possible. I don’t own enough to add up to too much.

Wear too many layers?   No way. I’m never warm enough.

Will I be up to date?   Who’s to know?   I don’t shop very much and no one delivers catalogues to my house anymore for the reason stated above so I have no idea what up to date is.

Country Club Casual?   Really?   Mr. and Mrs. Clueless live here.   Neither one of us knows what that means.

But I’m not going to worry about all that any more.   I saw the ultimate in good taste on the news last week.     The   a-listers at that gathering were dressed in an understated and simple fashion.   They obviously hadn’t felt the need to go on a shopping spree for the event.   They wore what was in their closets (or in this case in their suit cases) and they looked spectacular.

Especially with the French Legion d’Honneur pinned on their shirts.   Talk about Bling!   There’s not enough money in the world to buy one of those.   They earned theirs.   The hard way.

Those heroes….and they truly define the word by their actions….didn’t spend much time thinking about what to wear to the Elysee Palace.   They didn’t have to.   The clothes didn’t make those men.   They were complete as they were.

They, in their colorful polo shirts, showed the French fashionistas and coutouriers a thing or two.

No.

Wait.

They showed the world a thing or two.

Bravo, Gentlemen.   And thank you.

Shall we gather on the river?

Most definitely!

To the sounds of joyful music, families – young, old and in-between – gathered recently at the Church of the Cross on the banks of the May River for the grace of baptism and its special meaning to each of those who felt the water as it washed over them.

We, as a small and ecumenical group, watched with happiness and respect from a nearby dock. There were eight of us: we two, our two neighbors, two dogs and two of the sons of the pastors delivering the baptismal rites.

We felt the power of song, of scripture, of renewal, of birth and re-birth as each person to be baptized climbed down steep steps, walked gingerly across oyster shells, and joined their brethren in the river.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words….so with no further ado, I hope you’ll join us with a few special moments from that evening, as we gathered on the river.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo

Oh, Happy Day!

 

A Southern Icon

Well, goodness gracious, sake’s alive.

I recently read the July issue of Garden and Gun magazine and the advertisement that you see here just up and hit me smack-dab between my very eyes. (If you click on the image, you’ll see it full size).

When I was growing up, Duke’s Mayonnaise was just the cat’s meow. The bee’s knees. The ultimate in Southern yumminess. We couldn’t get it locally so when my family came south for vacation, we stocked up. We didn’t say: ”May I have some mayonnaise, please.”   We said: “Please pass the Duke’s.”   It made us feel grand and special and ever-so-in-the-know. And we slathered it on everything…eggs, greens, white bread, peanut butter.

Now, I confess, in my later (and apparently wanton) years, I strayed from the mother ship. I turned to Hellman’s but I now recognize the error of my ways and I’m going back. As fast as I can.

I have to go back. There’s no option. With that ad, how could I not? Six words. That’s all that ad was. And three of them were “Bless Your Heart.” Talk about Southern. And talk about three words that can mean a million different things, depending on the drawl, the emphasis, the situation.   I know you know what I mean.

As in: “Did y’all notice that Sarah-Jane’s slip was showin’ at brunch last week?   Bless her heart.”

Or: “Oh, sweetie pie, you did the very best you could. No one told you the forks were supposed to be on the left hand side of the plate. Bless your heart.”

Well, I got the message. That ad brought me back to my senses so I’m off to the Piggly-Wiggly for jars and jars of you-know-what.

Tomato sandwiches and sweet tea, anyone?

A Little Birthday Celebration

It’s hard for me to believe that Life on the May is approaching its first birthday. I thought that, to celebrate its special day, it would be fun for you to hear a different voice with a slightly different take on one of the things I think about a lot…..electronic devices. The voice is that of our son, Chip, and, as the father of two teen-age girls, he speaks from an up-close and personal perspective. I find encouragement in what he sees and says and hope you do, too.

A Shiny Glimpse Into the Modern Teenage Mind

My wife, Carrie, and I recently had the occasion to host 6 teenage girls (ages 13-15) on a week’s vacation at the beach in NC. Two of them were ours, and the other 4 were friends/guests of our 14 and 15 year-old daughters. As the only male in the house, I had some of the guests’ fathers wish me luck, tell me I was crazy, bid me farewell, etc..   But…I lived to tell about it, and what I have to tell is quite promising.

If you’ve seen a teenage girl lately, you’ve noticed the new permanent appendage they use all the time, namely their cell-phone. They are constantly “social-mediating,” as I call it, checking Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, text-messages, etc.. These are now all part of their everyday lives like none of us have ever seen before. To be off-line from these apps is to be disconnected, out-of-the-loop, and perhaps even anti-“social.”   So, we knew that the phones were coming on the trip with us, and we knew they would be present a good bit of the time.

Now, keep in mind, these are good girls – they are ALL really good girls. They have manners, they work hard in school, they pursue various passions, they say hello/goodbye/please/thank you…all that stuff. But they also find themselves heavily involved in all their friends’ lives through the various media on their phones morning, day and night. In some instances, they would all 6 be together, but not talking due to their focus on pictures, videos and funny comments appearing on their respective phones. And, because they are all friends with each other, some of the things they were seeing/reading were posts from one of the other girls sitting right there NEXT to them. Crazy, right?!

Some time back, my mother had the courage to ask all the kids at the Thanksgiving dinner table to put their phones away, select a card from the box being handed around the table, and participate in the conversation that would proceed from the reading of each card. These conversation-starter cards contained great questions that ranged from ice-breakers to probing queries to right-out philosophical dilemmas. And, because somehow I have managed to surround myself with amazing women in my life, Carrie made a mental note to bring these same conversation cards along with us on this vacation.

It was baked-potato night, and the girls were so excited as they loaded butter, sour cream, bacon, and salt (lots of salt) onto their hot baked potatoes. This might have been part of Carrie’s great plan, using the yummy food as an initial distraction from the phones so that she could play her next card – the conversation card(s). She asked the kids to keep their phones down, select a card each, and one-by-one read their question aloud, waiting for conversation to have its way on the preceding card before engaging in a new question.

“Would you rather have a great wardrobe or an amazing car?”

“Is there life on other planets?”

“Is it better to be popular, or respected?”

The questions went like that, and they were all great, but the response was even better.

These girls – as though they had been starved for intellectual engagement/discussion – jumped on these questions so immediately, it was a delight to see. They each – to a one – had compelling responses, follow-up questions, creative thoughts, and even a respect/interest in what the outnumbered adults at the table had to say on each topic.   The table of 8 yielded multiple conversations at the same time on each question such that it was hard to even hear/focus on the one conversation you were in…and Carrie and I enjoyed a couple moments of great gratitude as we caught each others’ glance across this most-impressive scene. It was magical, in a way…or at least it was inspiring.

And for all that talk, all that engagement…it made for the best night of the trip…

…until 2 nights later when they asked if we could do it again! 🙂

 

I’ll see you next week…..

Sallie

My Three Felons

There were three of them, born within three years of each other to a mother who was clueless. Naturally, you would assume that they turned to a life of crime.   You would be right.

Let’s begin with the middle one. (So many things began with the middle one!) Many years ago, he was picked up one summer evening on the suspicion of illegally (underage) transporting, and possibly (probably) drinking, beer. Taken to the station. His parents were notified. The child was remanded to their custody after a pleasant and understanding exchange with the arresting officer.

Two days later, the youngest child was picked up and taken to the station. Seems he was playing on a swing set that didn’t belong to him or any of his young friends. They all ran and escaped capture except for him. He said he was afraid the cops were going to shoot him. His parents were called. We told the officer that we were busy and that they could jolly well keep the suspect for a little while, perhaps giving him some milk and cookies if they were so inclined (they weren’t). Maybe even offer him a little tour of the jail for future reference. After all, we’d just been to the station two short days ago to reclaim the middle child. We needed a break.

Later that summer, the cops caught the oldest child scaling the wall of a house and attempting entry into a second floor bedroom. From the edge of the window sill, the child politely (as he had been taught to do) introduced himself and was cordially acknowledged by the officer. He was asked for his driver’s license, which, regretfully, he didn’t have. He was then asked for the registration of his car, which, also regretfully, he didn’t have since the car he was driving wasn’t his.

Now while this sounds ominous, the explanation was really quite simple.

Seems there was a party in the ‘hood. The young man whose bedroom was being entered wasn’t in attendance and couldn’t be reached by phone. The other party-ers decided he needed to be there so our son was sent to “fetch” him but since our son had walked to the party and didn’t have a car, he borrowed one. Officer wished our son a good evening, told him to be careful climbing down the wall, and went on his way.

Small town, obviously. Kids and parents known to all. A sense of safety and well-being. Trust. Families looking out for each other. Respect for the community, its history and its leadership.

Not to say bad things didn’t happen there. They did and I can tell you every single detail of two overwhelmingly tragic events. Even after all these years.

But, all in all, I think we were very lucky to have had that time, in that town, with our kids, growing up together in that environment.

I have achieved perfection!

Well, with the exception of two jarring items. Those would be the jar of pickles and the jar of ketchup.

Otherwise, my refrigerator has nothing but white things in it. That’s exactly the way I like it. Yogurt, cream cheese, butter, pasta, a little chicken salad, a round of Brie, some extra-creamy Redi-whip.

Freezer’s the same way: vanilla ice cream, frozen cheese cake. I threw out the frozen peas. They didn’t belong.

White food. All white. Perfect.

It’s bliss to open it up and look at it. I can actually feel my blood pressure going down.

No green vegetables to disturb the peace. No strawberries or blue berries. No wheat bread. Just white food.

But I saw a list…..made out by the other one who lives here….and it has alien items on it. Furthermore, he mentioned a trip to the grocery store. I feel a sense of un-ease coming on.

But, if I’m careful and keep an eye on things, those colorful foodstuffs will go bad before I’ve had a chance to use them, and I can throw them out, once again attaining peace and harmony in my refrigerator-scape.

Oh, please….I know this is unhealthy. But I’ve lived this way for a long time. So far, so good, right? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The Dark Side of Life on the May

Just when I thought I’d run out of things to write about, the Hilton Head Island Packet delivered an inspirational care package. Perhaps you, who live here, saw the article I’m referring to in the Crime Reports section earlier this summer.

It concerned an altercation at Brighton Beach between a tattooed-man and an un-tattooed-man.

We are told in the police report that the un-tattooed one approached the tattooed one and informed him that he had a misspelled word in one of his many tattoos. The tattooed one took exception to the criticism and punched the un-tattooed one in the face. The tattooed one then took off, leaving the un-tattooed one with a seriously swollen mouth and several loose teeth.

The tattooed one remains at large.

Many issues and questions also remain at large.

First, there’s the matter of the misspelled word. The un-tattooed may have been correct in addressing the issue but correct does not always equate to smart.

Second, how can the tattooed-one remain at large since, according to the report, his entire body is covered in ink? Surely, in this hot weather, there are body parts exposed that should be easy to identify. Especially since there’s a grammatical error on one of them.

Third, one of the parties was an Islander; the other was a Blufftonian. Are we talking major cultural differences here or was this just a one-time, punch-‘em-in-the-face, get-it-over-with kinda thing?

Fourth, do we imagine that beer was involved? Perhaps too much beer? Nah….that’s not an issue or a question. That’s a given.

Finally, it’s clear I’m going to have to start reading the Crime Report on a regular basis. I’ve occasionally been tempted to cancel our subscription to the Packet but I’m renewing for a lifetime. It’s just way too much fun.

 

 

You can’t go back.

I mean it. You really can’t go back. We tried to do just that, recently, for a special wedding anniversary.

It did not go well and that may be an understatement.

We knew there had been major changes made to the lovely place where we’d met, knew it had gotten quite fancy, had put on airs, but we still thought it would be a fun to return on such a special occasion. We could retrace our steps, pretend it was still a sweet little island, eat well, bask in the sun and just remember our first days together.

We weren’t doing badly until we went to dinner, at the resort’s fanciest restaurant.

It began with the wine service. The sommelier opened and returned many expensive and highly acidic, tummy challenging, bottles of wine. When we said that our favorite was an inexpensive one that we buy in quantity at Sam’s and surely they had something like that in their vast cellar, we lost her.

Then the food service began. Teeny-tiny plates, with teeny tiny forks and teeny tiny bites of food. By the time you’d decided whether or not you liked it, you’d already eaten it. And I don’t think seconds were part of the deal. Even teeny tiny ones.

At some point they brought me a teeny tiny stool upon which to put my not-so-teeny tiny purse. I knew…I mean I just absolutely knew…that I would trip over it when I left. But then again, I hadn’t planned on such a dramatic leave-taking.

We daintily nibbled our way through dinner. For dessert, we asked if we could share a piece of peanut butter pie. A teeny tiny slice arrived for me on a teeny tiny plate but nothing….not one single thing…for my husband. No plate, no fork, no nothing!

At that point, I rose, I thought rather grandly, and announced (apparently in a loud enough voice that everyone else put down their teeny tiny forks to watch the scene), that my husband had been kind enough to bring us back to this lovely place and they didn’t even have the decency to bring him a teeny tiny plate so we could share the teeny tiny piece of pie.

As I turned, dramatically, to leave this elegant dining room, I tripped over that teeny tiny stool, (you already knew that this was going to happen), catching both feet in the straps of my not-so-teeny tiny purse. We (I) were now the restaurant’s feature attraction.

I unraveled myself and went, now less than grandly, out the door. As I looked back to see if my beloved was coming with me or had disowned me completely, I was surprised to see the sommelier, her assistant, the maître d’, the chef and our waiter following in my wake.

I was leading the parade! With an audience! Oh, how I wanted a majorette’s baton. The power! The exhilaration! Where were the drums and the tubas when I needed them?

They asked what they could do. I vaguely recall saying that they could use this as a teaching moment.

But it wasn’t over yet.

We returned to our room. To our wonderment, it was now afloat with rose petals…thousands of them…in the living room, the bedroom, the hall, the bathroom and, of course, the bed. Have you ever walked, or slept, on fresh rose petals?

We spent the next half hour on our knees scooping them up so we wouldn’t break our necks when we got up in the middle of the night. (We’re over 50, remember?)

All those lovely pink roses gave up their lives only to be jammed unceremoniously into trash baskets. What a shame.

But it still wasn’t over.

At 11:30 p.m., (yes, 11:30 pm!) the doorbell rang. In my newest and best David M. Carmines Seafood Festival T-Shirt, I sleepily staggered to the door. It was a very nice man from the dining room, bearing champagne and cookies, complements of the chef. He realized he’d woken us up and apologized.

Still hungry from our teeny tiny dinners, we scarfed down the cookies, longing for a big glass of milk and did our best to get back to sleep.

You can’t go back. Too many things change. We’re not their target market anymore and that’s fine. Give me a giant bowl of pasta with a little fresh basil and a steak for my husband. Nice big napkins. No teeny tiny plates or forks. Throw in some good company and a bottle of wine from Sam’s and we’re good to go. Cheers!

His and Hers

We’ve been married for many years. There are things on HIS side of the closet that have been there for every one of those many years. And I know for a fact that there were things that came with him…sort of like a dowry but not really…..with an edge of age and patina already on them. Who knows how old that stuff is now?

Conversations between us about “buying new things” have been occurring for all these years. Usually to no avail.

Example:

You really need a new pair of loafers.

No, I don’t.

Yes, you do.

No, I don’t. These were just re-soled (again) five years ago. They’re perfectly fine.

End of conversation.

You can substitute any item of clothing for the loafers…..khaki pants, tennis shorts, button-down shirts, polo shirts.   The answer will be the same; only the reason or the excuse will change. New is just not going to happen.

Aggravating, annoying, frustrating, useless conversations. We should have made a tape and played it on appropriate….or inappropriate….occasions. Could have saved a lot of emotional energy.

But something’s different now. No, he’s still not going shopping. Yes, many of the things hanging in the closet are seriously frayed and faded.

Yes, we still have the conversations and, no, they’re still to no avail. But, for some reason, I now find them comforting. I know what to expect. I know he’s not going to replace those beloved and well worn things and it doesn’t matter. He’s happy with his old things, his old loafers and polo shirts, his familiar and well-loved stuff.

And besides, that may be an indication that he’s still happy with his old wife, frayed and faded though she may be. I sure hope so.