Category Archives: Love

Hot Air: They Had A Lot Of Fun

A guy I once knew shared something precious with me one night. He’s dead now. Lived a good long life. Within a year after I met him, his wife up and died. She hadn’t been sick; at least no one knew of any medical problems she might or might not have had. One day living a carefree, retired life; the next, being dressed and coifed at the undertaker’s.

The guy was crushed, naturally. He’d married his wife when he was in the army. A Korea vet. He never looked back. Now, whether or not the wife was altogether thrilled, lo those many years, is an unanswerable question. But she remained wed to him so one might suspect she found the situation at least tolerable.

Anyway, a few weeks after the funeral, the guy came back to the saloon where I met him. Everybody bought him drinks and hugged him or patted him on the back. The night was his. He pulled out a pile of snapshots of his wife and began showing them off to the rest of us, one by one. That is, he’d get each of us alone and share the pix. Finally, it was my turn.

By the time he got to me, he was well fortified. He could hold his liquor quite well and, that night, his capacity to process alcohol was put to the test. Let’s say his pain had been abated for the time being.

As he showed me the photos, he’d linger over this Christmas scene or that birthday or one of the kids’ graduation parties, the kid in cap and gown standing between the guy and his wife, everybody beaming. Once or twice I got the idea he might start crying. Considering we were in a bar in Kentucky where a grown man crying might be grounds for ejection, I wondered how things might play out. But he never did cry, although I’d bet his pillow was soaked later that night.

So, the pictures kept coming. We came to one that, frankly, jarred me. His wife half-sat, half-lay provocatively across their living room sofa, wearing only a negligee. Or maybe it was a teddy or a baby doll. I just tried looking each of the terms up and I still can’t tell one from the other. All I know is what she was wearing was sheer and lacy and it wasn’t some full length thing, if that’ll help you.

I think I may have actually recoiled a bit, not as if I’d seen a poisonous snake but, say, a half dozen one-ounce gold bars in his hand. It wasn’t so much frightening as…, well, odd. He noticed how disconcerted I was. “It’s alright,” he said, as if he figured I needed permission to continue looking at the photo.

What does one say in a situation like that? All I could think of was, “She was beautiful.”

The guy grinned in a way that told me for a brief moment he was happy just to remember how beautiful his wife was and how great it felt to have another guy confirm it. Guys are like that. They need reassurance from each other about such things. Don’t ask me why.

“She sure was,” the guy said. And then he fell into something of a trance, staring at the picture. I understood why, yet it remained an uncomfortable moment for me. Perhaps, I mused silently, he might better indulge in this alone.

Then, he seemed to snap out of it. He grinned again and looked me in the eye. “We had a lot of fun,” he said.

I don’t recall if there were more pictures. I was just touched by that remark. Here was a man mourning his wife. He was pushing 75, relatively vigorous but, nevertheless, a septuagenarian. You wouldn’t have mistaken him for a younger man. She was about the same age when she died. That picture of her in her negligee or nightie or whatever had been taken decades before. I’d bet that little sheer, lacy thing had sat, neatly folded, in her bottom drawer for a long, long time. Or, maybe not. Whatever, had she worn the thing the night before she died, she certainly wouldn’t have resembled the younger version of herself in the picture.

Yet, in that guy’s mind, she’d forever be a young, thirty-something beauty. His eyes were moist. I watched him hold that picture in his big, meaty, weathered hands, carefully, as if it were a fledging bird. He was thinking, remembering. He didn’t have to tell me what was going on in his head. I knew it.

Some other person might have interpreted his remark — We had a lot of fun — differently. That person might have thought it offensive or inappropriate or even an insult to his wife’s memory.

Me? I just saw a man who’d lived a good long time and was lucky enough to have found the love of his life early on, one who still looked ravishing in his eyes even though she was old as the hills. And he wasn’t at all ashamed to say so.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times.” — Rita Rudner

FUNNY HOW?

Funny world, isn’t it?

Funny as in Louis CK winning a Grammy award for his “Hilarious” album/DVD/thing.

Funny as in Rick Warren promising to go to jail over the Obama administration’s new health care/contraception ruling.

Jailbird?

Funny as in me pasting about a hundred and sixty seven Facebook posts in yesterday’s Pencil, congratulating FB-ers on their brilliant thoughts and then scrolling through the social medium today and seeing that everybody’s back to being boring again.

Funny as in US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and his wife being robbed at machete-point while on vacation in Nevis.

Funny as in Apple possibly being legally estopped from using its iPad brand in China because some little company had trademarked the name there more than a decade ago.

Estop It!

Funny that I used a form of the word estop in the above item — proof that my crossword puzzle addiction has taken over my life.

Funny as in this stupid winter coming back to South Central Indiana.

Funny as in disgraced former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer defining love for Valentine’s Day on the Big Think.

Can This Be Love?

Funny as in Alfred Lawson (the founder of the College of Lawsonomy) describing his own birth as “the most momentous occurrence since the birth of mankind.”

Funny as in the dearth of imagination in Hollywood, illustrated by the fact that at least 50 film sequels or remakes are being planned at this moment — they include:

  • A “Wizard of Oz” prequel
  • A third “Iron Man”
  • A sixth “The Fast and the Furious”
  • Another “Superman”
  • “Zoolander” again
  • “Dirty Dancing” redux
  • More “Smurfs”
  • The hundredth “Austin Powers”
  • The thousandth “Pirates of the Caribbean”
  • The millionth “Godzilla”
  • The billionth “Scarface”
  • The trillionth “Terminator”

They give out awards for this stuff?

LOVE IS ALL AROUND

Valentine’s Day. Being a professional contrarian, I’m morally obligated to sneer at the whole deal.

The Loved One reminded me yesterday that the first VD we spent together (we’d been seeing each other for some five and a half months at the time), I made no mention of the February 14th shebang but instead had flowers sent to her office on the 15th.

She found the off-day gesture charming. Sort of. I think.

Anyway, we’re being flooded with VD images today so I thought I’d get into the mood, just to be a sport.

BuzzFeed lists eleven trees that look like hearts.

And getting into the more pragmatic spirit of the day, BuzzFeed also lists seven trees that look like vaginas.

Pierced

Like I said; funny world, no?

LOVE IS ALL AROUND II

I mean, honestly, which American fictional figure represents Valentine’s Day more than Mary Richards?

You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you were dating her and ignored Valentine’s Day, you would soon be, well, not dating her.

The opening of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” is a piece of cultural iconography. From her big, floppy bellbottoms to her accidentally crushing Ted Baxter‘s hat, Mary Richards represents those first, tentative, sometimes stumbling steps of women into the workplace in the early 1970s.

And when Mary tosses her tam into the air on a crowded downtown Minneapolis street corner as an old-fashioned babushka’d lady looks on in probable disapproval, you know you’re seeing America change right before your eyes.

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