Wait, hold on a minute Royal Oak Patch, don’t ditch us quite yet. I have a few more stories I’d like to tell!
AOL has sold all of their Patch sites and it is uncertain what happens next. Thankfully, the new owners have been kind enough to let Royal Oak Patch Editor extraordinaire, Judy Davids, continue to keep things going as they sort out the business. Which means I get a forum to tell a few more stories!
As all of us living in the Midwest and Northeast parts of the country know, this has been one bear of a winter. My job puts me in touch with people all over the region and it seems the touchstone of conversation has been about the unusually bitter cold and the prolific amounts of snow. I have noticed that almost everyone is commenting that the burgeoning mounds of snow remind them of the “winters of their youth.”
At first I thought this was just for folks around my age, in their 50s and 60s, but then I heard the comment from folks in their 40s, 30s and younger.
I thought these younger folks were dreaming, because I can remember the weather of the past few decades and it wasn’t nearly as bad as when I was a kid, when those snowbanks dwarfed me and I had to walk to school uphill both ways into the wind with newspapers wrapped around my legs instead of snow pants.
I mentioned this to the lovely Kathy and she looked up from her book and said, “Hmmm…when you’re a kid, you’re only three feet tall. Every snow mound seems tall.”
I wish I had thought of that!
The Richness of Embarrasment
1. generosity in bestowing money or gifts upon others.
"dispensing his money with such largesse"
The Christmas and holiday season are officially over in our house when the Christmas tree is dragged unceremoniously to the curb. All the children and grandchildren had gone home and it was back to only the lovely Kathy and me in our house. I was watching Kathy pack up her twelve hobbit-sized Santa Clauses and the elf-on-the-shelf so I could put them carefully in their attic exile until next year, which is sort of our Christmas closing ceremony.
I thought about how chaotic and wonderful the holidays have always been and the main reason for the joy is that Kathy really has the Christmas spirit. She starts our season the day after Halloween when her 36 holiday CDs jump out of their drawer and fill the house with song. Our gift giving is 98.7 percent fulfilled by Kathy's shopping and I get some residual credit for her generous spirit.
So, with all this warmth in my heart, I called out to the love of my life.
"Kathy, I just want to thank you for your Christmas largesse!"
There was a long pause. Way too long a pause."Did you just say that thanks to Christmas I have a large a**?" Kathy replied.
Holy Mary Mother of God!
"N-no way, no way did I say that. I complimented you on your Christmas largesse, you know, your unflagging generosity..."
"Yes, I heard you loud and clear, both times I heard I'm a Christmas lard-a**. Let me introduce you to your new wife, Mavis, the pull-out couch!"
Did I say Holy Mary Mother of God?
Kathy and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary over the holidays and one of the great gifts of marriage longevity is that communication mishaps can be averaged over the long term. While it may take several mall shopping trips, jewelry and art films to equal the mishap above, there is time to balance out the idiocy quotient. (For more on marriage idiocy, you probably will want to refer to my short story aptly titled "Idiocy. Details are below.)
In a multi-decade marriage there is also always time to learn new lessons. For example, never, ever use a French derivative word while complimenting your wife. For that matter, ditch all fancy-pants words and be declarative and loud in praise of your wife and volunteer to do something that would normally create an eye-twitch.
"KATHY, YOU ARE THE BEST AT EVERYTHING! LET'S GO TO THE MALL!Ah, to lead a life filled with rich embarrassments.
Speaking of which, I was making lunch last weekend and Kathy had a straight line view of me from about 20 feet away.
"Uh, Gerry, by any chance.." (I could hear consternation in her voice)...do you happen to have your sweatpants on backwards? (Her tone was hopeful, maybe wistful, that no, she was wrong, the man she had chosen to share her life with, couldn’t possibly be walking around with his extra-vintage sweat-pants on backwards.)
"Geez, go figure, I guess I've been wearing these backwards all morning I even have my wallet in the pocket in reverse. Maybe I'm starting a trend!"
With that, I must surmise that while my latent dweebness may be exacerbated by the relentless march of time, I resolve to enjoy the humor of who I am. Of course, what choice do I have?
I also resolve to avoid the clichés of growing old. First, I will not turn into a grouchy curmudgeon. Second, I will not discuss any ailment, no matter how interesting I think it may be, with anyone younger than 60. Finally, I will not adopt the principle that old people can say anything they like, no matter how rude or hurtful, simply because we grew old.
It's Monday: Let's go!
Gerry Boylan is the author of the short story collection, Gerry Tales and the novel Getting There. Both can be found at Amazon.com, the Yellow Door on 12 Mile Road., Berkley and at Posy on Rochester Road in Royal Oak. (The short story Idiocy, appears in Gerry Tales.)
Postscript: I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen regarding Patch, but I do know that I’m not going to run out of stories any time soon. At a minimum, I will post these stories on my Gerry Tales website and if you would like to join my reminder email list letting you know when a new story is posted, send me an email at email@example.com and I will add you. I am very careful about not sharing my email lists with anyone. No one but my writing associate and me ever see or share name and email information.