PROMISE ME

It was 4:30 am and the phone rang.  Dear Daughter said “Mom, I’m chickening out.  I just don’t think I can do it.”  “Do it, I said, do it or you will be making the biggest mistake of your life, I guarantee it. Promise me you’re going to do it.  Promise me that you will leave this morning after he leaves for work.  PROMISE ME!  I am not hanging up this phone until you do.”

Parents are those, who in the course of their child’s life, cheer them on when they’re scared but jump into the deep end of the pool; sit white knuckled as they ride in the passenger seat next to their newly licensed driver, and miss the sound of their voice in the house when they leave home.  Parents are also the ones that go breathless when the phone rings and Dear Daughter says “Mom!  He’s really gone crazy this time, he’s got the gun and is screaming that he’s going to end it all, right here, right now!”

An exceptionally lovely young woman fell in love with a handsome young man whose past history of rage and violent behavior did not become known before the commitment had been made and a baby was on the way.  Violent incidents had become a way of life for her- episodes of rage of every sort- broken glass on the bed, insults, being hosed with cold water while holding her new camera, pouring beer on her head, and threats of every sort in their vehicle.  It was a very short honeymoon that quickly erupted into something else, something worse.  She hoped he would change.  He did not.

At one point, she called home in complete hysteria, calling from her closet.  It was 11:30 pm and a break in was in the process of happening.  She was alone, the house was secluded and she had already called 911 and they weren’t there yet.  She screamed that she could hear someone trying to kick the door in.  She screamed that they were trying to kick in the sliding glass door.  She screamed that they had thrown something through it and were in the house.  Then the phone went dead.

Odd that when her husband was called at work later by the deputies, that it had taken him over twenty minutes to get home- a five minute drive.  Odd that he wasn’t upset that his wife and baby daughter could have been killed if she hadn’t scared them off by screaming and barking like a wild dog.  We remain convinced he had arranged to have her killed.  The baby still talks about the “bad man” and she doesn’t like closets.

Five days on a Greyhound bus later she arrived in Seattle, with a tired two year old in her arms, a backpack, three worn out suitcases, a cardboard box wrapped with duct tape and a Hefty bag filled with blankets and toys.  Exhausted, dying for a shower and sick of gas station food.  She fell into my arms and we cried.  That beautiful blonde and her baby girl were easily the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.  God bless you, honey.  Welcome home.

Epilogue:  Dear Daughter returned to college, graduated and is a Registered Nurse.  Granddaughter is happy and healthy.  Don’t live in fear.  There is help available for those suffering from the pain and humiliation of domestic violence.  Men, women and children can all be victims.  Don’t be silent- tell someone-  anyone. Get help to live a better life- one without fear.  It’s not easy but I know you can do it.

Former violent husband committed suicide 12/30/12.  Gunshots to the head.

 

 

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JOANIE GETS DRESSED

Oh the joys of dressing each and every day for work!  Generally Joanie has no idea of what she will wear until five minutes before she must desperately find her purse, her briefcase, her car keys and her ferry pass, give Teddy a quick pat on the head and dash out the door.  As you can imagine, this little program is full of potential fashion disasters.

She has an enormous closet, and even another room (or two) where she stores her clothes, and occasionally she becomes, ahem, quite creative.  Years ago during her mild obsession with Chinese items  led her, unfortunately, to a brilliant red Chinese embroidered top and a pair of black silky pants.  She felt quite chic the day she debuted, until, at lunch, she was at the Ann Taylor store near her office and the clerk- apparently unaware of Joanie’s up- to- the minute fashion sense said to her “Would you like me to start a room for you?”  To which Joanie replied “Oh sure, that’s fine” and the clerk replied “So you are on your lunch break then!  Which Chinese restaurant do you work at?”  Quite a moment.

Then there was the time that Joanie, having felt a little rich apparently (this was in something like 1985), purchased a beautiful blouse at Nordstrom, cream with small polka dots, long sleeved and it had a bow which tied at the neck.  Joanie was so impressed with the blouse!  She thought to herself as she wore it, time after time, that the makers of the blouse were so clever to have had the buttons on the cuffs button on the  inside of the wrist instead of the outside!  “These expensive things are just different than regular things,” she would say to herself, admiring it and thinking she should shop there much more often!  Then, one day her friend Colleen stood looking at her at the office and said to her- “Joanie dear, I am pretty sure you have been wearing that blouse backwards, that’s why the buttons on the cuffs are on the inside, not the outside…”  Another beautiful moment…

Now Joanie would be totally remiss not to mention Dear Paul and his own fashion disasters, which are many.  One particular disaster stands out in her mind very clearly- the time he was waiting for her at the ferry dock in a pair of faded pumpkin shorts and an ugly bright orange silk shirt.  Not only did he look like an escapee from the Kitsap County Jail, he also looked vaguely Salvation Army/Miami Vice-ish, because he had the first five or so buttons unbuttoned so that his skinny little slightly hairy chest was in full view.  Which is interesting because he had purchased them earlier that day at St. Vincent de Paul, where apparently he has a Frequent Buyer card.

Another time he had tried to squish himself into a pair of my shorts- “Do these fit me?”- and unfortunately the zipper would not even begin to zip up so he had stuffed a washcloth in the front to fill the gap!  Joanie told him in no uncertain terms that said outfit would probably get him arrested for indecent exposure.  He slunk off in a huff to change before he climbed into the Cadillac to head to the store for more beer.

Finally Miss Joanie recently purchased a new dress and what you must know, Dear Readers, is that Joanie is mostly allergic to color.  Sad but true.  She loves black, beige, taupe, brown…you get the idea.  And the new dress was a brilliant reddish-orangish.  She knows that being an Upper Whiskey Gulch fashionista requires climbing out of the rut of black she wallows in and so she steeled herself as she put the dress on.  Even Dear Paul, as he zipped her up, one of his few uses besides watering the plants, looked at her quizzically as in “Hon, are you absolutely sure your nerves can take it?”

Since Joanie was out of time and had to run to the ferry, she threw on a red faux alligator belt and a jeans jacket, thinking “Be creative!  Mix and match!  Go for it!”  Good thing she didn’t look in the mirror before she left.   The dress was sleeveless with a boat neck and fitted at the waist with a poofy skirt.  50-ish style, which I guess works for someone who was, ahem, born in the 50′s, right?  Anyway as she attempted to tiptoe her way ever so elegantly down the gangplank of the foot ferry while keeping the dress from blowing up around her ears from the wind, the deckhand immediately shouted out “Whoo hoo!  Great dress!”  and Captain Ernie also exclaimed “Wow!  I love that on you- and Joanie it even matches our life preservers!

Here’s to all of Joanie’s girlfriends who support her enthusiastically, no matter WHAT she wears!

God bless you, my dearest of the dear.  Amen and goodnight

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A WALK DOWN THE HALL

     

 

My husband, Dear Paul, recently underwent 16 painful biopsies, all of which showed significant amounts of cancer in his prostate.  He, at nearly 70, immediately got on the phone- his lifeline, it would seem, as he regularly talks on the phone for hours on end, each and every day.  His calls ranged from contacting those he knew had had the same diagnosis, to his nearly deaf 98 year old kindergarten teacher, and he explained in detail his “Dick Doc”- his esteemed qualifications, education and his own upcoming surgery.

Funny part was that most of the people he called remembered him, and even the ones that didn’t were kind enough to listen to his laundry list of physical concerns such as erections, incontinence and adult diapers.  You can just imagine the fun!  He spread the news far and wide and then some.  The good folks at the local hardware store, the checkers at the grocery store, and the barmaid down the street.  He may as well have placed a front page story in the newspaper.

Dear Paul has an interesting way of dealing with stress.  Generally he ignores the issues at hand and instead reads newspapers for hours or old National Geographics, which was in fact the periodical of choice when his surgeon “Dick Doc” was met with.  As the surgeon painstakingly attempted to explain the actual surgical procedure options to him, at one point he exhaled deeply, turned to me and said “Mrs. Davis, if I am seeing this right, it is you I should be talking to and not Paul, correct?”  Just then, Paul, like a sneaky little child, looked up and smiled.  Then, finally, the doctor attempted to ask him if he had any questions- after a full half an hour of explaining the pros and cons, various treatments, the robotic surgery technique, recovery period etc., the best Dear Paul could come up with was “Well, you’re my dick doc- will I be dribbling afterward and when can I have sex?”

Oh Lord, shoot me now.  This is not going to be a fun trip.

We arrived at the hospital for the surgery and, upon being asked a multitude of times what his surgical procedure would be- “Amputation of my left toe”, and what his name was- “Joe Blow from Kokomo”, I finally had to put an end to that nonsense and I did.  He was in surgery for a long four and a half hours and the cancer was successfully removed, but the initial recovery period was a wee bit rocky as he was uncooperative with the nursing staff and tried to A: Pull out his catheter and B: Get out of bed.  They even made a sign and taped it to his bed that said “Paul, please stay in bed- you just had surgery!”

Upon being released a day later, only after threatening to spray his ever patient RN with the tube from his catheter bag, Paul was up to his old tricks.  He insisted upon walking 10 blocks, in his robe, to a local watering hole, the Owl and Thistle, because, after all “I earned a Guinness and I and going to drink one!” I tried not to return the astonished glances from the other patrons.  Sheesh!  What next??

The good news is that he is recovering nicely and happier once the catheter bag was removed.  “Time to Free Willy”  he kept saying…but getting to the Free Willy part was a little tricky, partly because the bag filled quickly based on the number of beers he ingested.  On the big day of removal he came to Seattle, and I was horrified to see that there he was, shuffling down Madison Avenue in his robe, with a mostly full bag swaying in the breeze.  Would it have been uncool to have hidden and not acknowledged him?  Know that this gal was sorely tempted.

Rest assured though that the situation quickly worsened to a new level of embarrassment and horror for me, because as we entered the completely full urology clinic, he confidently strode over to the only open chair right by an elegant elderly lady and her equally elderly husband, sat down, heaved the bag up onto the coffee table and began “milking” the urine from the tube into the bag.

“Paul!  Stop!”  I was shaking with anger and embarrassed to my toes as all of those poor people were staring at us, open mouthed.  I was actually thinking at one point I was going to pass out.  Just then, Dear Paul smiled at me and said “Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke!” …and I excused myself to go take a walk down the hall.

 

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Love Is Not Optional

Dear Joanie has had another number of recent losses in her life and has had an opportunity to reflect.

First of all, love is not optional.  It does not allow you to choose it- rather it chooses you.  Whether it be in the sweet face of a newborn with its little wide eyed gaze or the face of a beloved mother in the last moments of her life- looking at you for all the world as if you are the world’s most important girl- it is not optional.  A husband asleep on his pillow- a puppy lounging at your feet- a baby in her crib- what sweeter times are there?  None, really.

From the moment you first exchange glances, breaths or thoughts, love is. Joanie has had a lot of opportunities for love in her life and she is so thankful for it.  She thinks of all of the times that it has stood at her doorstep, and the times that she has opened the door to it, and the most wonderful of those times have been when it has been welcomed in.

We live, we love, we lose.  We love those who do good for others, we love those who do for us, and we love those that we help because they cannot help themselves.

She is sad when she loses someone special- she is sad when bad things happen to great people- she carries flowers to memorial services and cemeteries without fail and she mourns her losses.  She buries the dead and marries those alive and full of hope.

Joanie has been placed on this earth to be there and she knows it.  She is at births, she is at deaths and she is there inbetween to share joy and to share sorrow.  And for that she is grateful.

God bless you, my dearest of the dear.  Amen and good night.

Love Is Not Optional

Dear Joanie has had another number of recent losses in her life and has had an opportunity to reflect.

First of all, love is not optional.  It does not allow you to choose it

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March 7, 2012 · 4:19 am

Moving Michael: It Takes a Village

DAY ONE:

Oh dear what a day it was!  Took an early ferry home- Daughter Dear, who lives next door to Joanie and Dear Paul, is moving to the upstairs portion of the house she has lived in for over 6 years, and Michael the Male Mental Hospital Attendant is moving into her basement apartment as he is experiencing some “money trouble…”  Talk about a recipe for disaster.  So, Dear Paul announces to me “Michael called and he’s ready to move- why isn’t she ready?”  Well hells bells I have no idea, since she has had weeks to prepare.  Bottom line is she isn’t ready and neither is he, and housekeeping skills are neither parties’ strong suit.  Sister Janis says that Daughter is a throwback to Mom and Aunt Mary Ann, neither of which would win any prizes in the “Clean House” category.  And of course, it is my sorry task to assist in the move.

Daughter has been in her place for a long time, and Michael has only been in his area for  a year, but Boy oh Boy what one human can do in a year is incredible.  Stink, funk, cat litter, stains and junk everywhere, and the house is ENTIRELY full and not a single thing has been packed for the move, including about 100 dead plants and huge freaking full fish tank- where’s the pit bull, Michael?  That’s about all that is missing to make this nightmare complete.

So, now envision Michael, who is huge and sick and keeps leaning on things and muttering “Sara” this and “Sara” that- who who in the heck is Sara?  Oh lovely- Sara is the half bald manic depressive bipolar cat that somehow managed to escape from the downstairs bathroom (her room) and then promptly ran upstairs to the open attic door and hid in the rafters somewhere.  Good.  Lock her in.  She’ll die eventually.

So, somewhere between hacking up a futon upstairs with a hand saw to get it down the stairs, heaving bags of complete rubbish out the upstairs windows, hauling a SLEEPER sofa out (those things weigh a ton), and the moving of Daughter’s piano… Son declares “Mom this isn’t a move- it’s a United Way project!  An eviction!  Where do you get these people, Mom?”  Oh boy I wanted to smack him one but needed him to continue to help so held myself back.

So, as we are wrenching every muscle in our collective bodies moving the piano, who do I see?  Oh yes!  I see Dear Paul and Michael, lounging on the sleeper sofa we had just hauled into the yard, munching contentedly on sandwiches, shooting the breeze like neither of them had a care in the world.  Michael stops chewing for a moment to ask if there is any Coke left and you can only imagine my answer.  We could have stranged both of them with the dirty pair of Jockey shorts I was hauling down from his compost heap of a bedroom, along with his stained sheets, comforters, “Jugs” magazines and smelly socks.

Oh and you can just imagine the refrigerator- new a year ago- full of condiments from KFC and did I mention the awful sheets he tacked up over all of the windows to see the TV better?

Thank God for Sister Janis and hubby or Dear Joanie would have had a stroke- they came over after work and helped for a couple of hours with the worst of the mess.  Sister Janis took one look upstairs where Michael was wheezing while slowly leafing through what he referred to as “paperwork” and “personal items” and she promptly instructed Dear Daughter to bring up more garbage bags and just started right in, loading them up around him.  She is quite decisive and Thank God for that!  She would have been a great Army general.

Ok, now the move gets even sweeter:  Daughter has to work the next two days.  So who gets to finish for her?  I bet you, Dear One, can guess the answer to that.  The entire house looks like a hurricane hit it and I can  tell you that it was ugly. Hurricane Michael is alive and well in Upper Whiskey Gulch.

Did I forget to mention that we also were contending with Molly the dog that barked for the ENTIRE day?  Someone, get Joanie a hatchet please because she is going to self inflict a head wound like Auntie Mary did, AFTER she kills the dog!  But there is a silver lining to every cloud I guess because when we let Molly back into the house since it looked like a thunderstorm was about to hit, she ran in and promptly ratted Sara the bipolar manic depressive half bald cat out of the attic.

So, Michael got his cat back.  In the meanwhile the thunderstorm starts and most of his belongings are in the yard.  “Oh well”, Michael said, “I’ll get it eventually… I’m pooped!”

DAY TWO:

In addition to the barking it now appears that Molly the Dog’s nasty habit of biting men has resurfaced.  Well, since this is her 11th foster home, Dear Daughter is trying to “make it work.”  We hadn’t planned to put her to sleep but did discuss it, and Dear Paul helpfully offered to put her in a box and “smoke her”- “won’t feel a thing” and I took the opportunity to remind him that that’s the very reason  Sister got divorced the first time- her also helpful (and cheap) husband offered to shoot her horse rather than spend the money to have the vet come out.  You can guess the outcome of that little skirmish I bet- Sister 1, Husband 0.  Molly made the cut- no smoking this one today…

So, on Saturday of Move Weekend, Joanie was at her house, fetching, no doubt, another gallon or two of cleaning products,paper towels, rags or garbage bags, when one small Granddaughter comes schreeching in, dragging a wild-eyed, panting Molly by her leash-  “Grandma- she screams, breathlessly- Molly bit the neighbor!  Molly bit the neighbor!”  First I told her to loosen the leash a teensy bit as Molly was looking somewhat limp, then turned pale and asked her which neighbor- the nut job down the street that likes to point her security cameras at everyone- the one that has a fondness for restraining orders and calls the local finest each and every Fourth of July to report our fireworks, or the guy right next door whose cars were run over in a “mishap” caused by our son- the same man that calls the cops when people turn around in his driveway?

“No, Grandma, Michael” she said “Molly bit Michael!  And he says send alcohol, Grandma!”  Does the man not stock a freaking cupboard, I mutter under my breath, but, thinking lawsuit I sent over a bottle and some bandages.  Well I can say we did warn him- we did- that Molly hates big men (big men especially in dark pants), Really Hates Men and has a hefty track record to prove it. Well she snapped at him and there is oh yes, a scratch on his huge hairy leg.  Apparently he was kicking at her at the time so I didn’t really blame her, and he himself admitted that he does deep fat fry a lot of chicken so maybe that was part of her issue, but in any case, now not only is he half hysterical, wheezing, short of breath and in bad physical condition overall, now he’s INJURED!  Great!  He’ll never get moved!

So, Michael gets patched up and we attempt to get back to work.  The space he is moving out of has a big sun room which was filled with hundreds of dead and dying plants, and rather than haul them downstairs he suggests that I hand them out one of the windows to him- a full story down, and he would reinstate them in the yard.  So, he clambers up into the planter area and heave ho, away we go!  I hand them all out until we get to the great big ones, which I hesitate to hand out, but hey, he’s insisting, so what choice do I have?

Pots filled with spiders, dirt, old leaves, termites, gunk- thar she blows, Matey!  And that’s not counting the old crates, tables with teetering legs, milk jugs filled with murky fluids and potions.  Guess what?  He gets those too!  I must admit I hesitated again when taking stock of the now empty and huge and heavy fish tank, but hey, he’s game and so I am too.  He stumbled a little as I tipped that one out but he should be ok soon.

Soon we about finished up except for what I have dubbed the “widowmaker”- a large flat box which apparently contains a particleboard computer desk that weighs approximately 400lbs. which he didn’t want “But it’s a good one”, and an old TV set and a nice little antique table with the veneer peeling off from all of the plant water.  Michael, who is tired OF COURSE, announces that although he dropped the TV as he was moving in “I’m pretty sure it works, Miss Joan, and you can keep it if you want it. It’s a nice quality item.” Right.  Oh hell no we do not want it, and he must have seen my eyes roll in disbelief because he then suggested to me (I must have looked like a linebacker or weightlifter to him, right?) to “Go ahead Miss Joan and throw it in the back of my truck if you don’t want it.”

As Joanie walked back into her house that evening, dirty, tired and desperate for something liquid with preferably a lot of alcohol in it, Dear Paul looked up from his book-  “Hey, there you are-what’s for dinner?”

Have a wonderful week, my Dearest of the Dear.  Amen and good night.

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Flea Circus!

It has been a particularly pup filled holiday season, beginning with my troublesome but adorable Shih Tzu puppy Teddy’s 1st birthday in September, which Joanie will admit, was completely excessive, marked with a full on five- alarm fire celebration- “Holy hell, Marge, would you look at this spread!”  One guest at the event, which by the way took place on the very last balmy summer evening on the patio at Farragut Gardens, commented to me later: “Joanie did you know that not one of the dogs at your party were over 8” tall?”  They each had party hats, custom created of course, and from what I hear the little creatures all had a blast.

Seems like dogs are stealthily creeping into what used to be a fairly canine free existence for Dear Paul and I.  In the last  few years we only had the occasional visit by three sweet little poodles, Lambie, Charlie and Barney and suddenly this year we now have regular visits from Oliver- a little caramel colored puffball of a Pekinese and of course dear “Teddy Rumpus”, or “T” or “TT” or “Monkey Dinks”  as I like to refer to him, who  lives with us now- as well as occasional visits from Chloe, pup of Dear Sister.  Chloe is a runner- a dog for whom an open door is an irresistible temptation… so she doesn’t get out to visit much.  Just like the old grandma in the birthday cards “She left the house and we have no idea where the hell she is!”

That said, it has been a lot of fun to have the pups around.  Nothing like a wrestling match on the down filled couch, right?  Trying to dig a hole in the couch cushions to bury a chew toy seems to be one of the basic tenets of Teddy’s life lately.  That and continuing to chew on the dining room chairs and snooze contentedly on our occupied bed, scratching his fleas and taking up more than his share of space.  We oversee him like doting parents, and have fallen in love with dogs, do you even believe it?  So, recently, when dogsitting for little Oliver, whose ears were all wet for the entire weekend because the Tedster was chewing on them, it was particularly upsetting when Dear Paul misplaced him…

As you may know, Dear Paul has the attention span (to quote David Sedaris because this is so good) of a common housefly.  Things happen.  Last week he volunteered to take little Ollie out for a potty break and promptly lost him!  I was at the time just getting out of the shower, and I noticed Paul on the patio, in his robe (naturally), hosing the patio down like the cousin in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with the hose.  When I asked through the screen where Oliver was he looked at me blankly and said “Oh I don’t know- he was here a little while ago!”  Of course I promptly went into a rage about “How could you lose him, Paul!  He’s not EVEN OURS!  We will lose our manny!  (Oliver’s owner Jim is Teddy’s male nanny…)”

Needless to say, I threw on my robe, wrapped my wet head in a towel and grabbed the car keys, while Paul was otherwise engaged- getting ready, apparently.  He can wear the robe to Albertson’s but I guess dog hunting he can’t do in it… in any case I screeched down the road and found our little charge, panting and shaking on the front porch of his house, five or so blocks away.  I scooped him up, set him in the front seat and had him back to the house before Dear Paul had managed to pull on blue jeans.

These little furry people fill up places in our hearts that we didn’t even know existed, and I for one am thankful for our smiley little pup.  My good friend recently lost her wonderful and faithful companion of many years, and as I reflect on the year that has just passed, I am thankful for the 10 + years she had with her.  I know she will rest in the sweetest peace because she loved and was loved by a wonderful family.  All dogs go to heaven.  Of that I am totally convinced.

Happy New Year to the dearest of the dear.  Amen and good night.

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Joanie’s Christmas Gifts- or Not

Seems that Joanie has always been a bit off kilter when it comes to being the recipient of Christmas gifts.  Not that she hasn’t received wonderful gifts in her lifetime, mind you, but some in particular stand out in her memory:

Christmas 1958:  Joanie hears Mom and Dad yelling in the living room about Dad attempting to put together 6 bikes and 2 electric train sets.  Seems to her bourbon and cigarettes were involved.  Also tinsel.

Christmas 1960:  Joanie discovers a wonderful cache of gifts while furtively digging in the Christmas bags in the basement of her home, and happens to pull out a beautiful yellow organza dress!  Oh how perfect!  Her dream dress!  You can only imagine her dismay on Christmas morning when alas, the dress was for her little sister Janis.  Not only was the beautiful angelic dress for Janis but hers (oh Good Lord) was red corduroy… Joanie vows to never ever ever peek again.

Christmas 1970:  Was this the year that they collectively decided to wrap the entire bookshelf of Reader’s Digests in aluminum foil?  Mom was such a good sport! She loved that about her!  That may have been the same year that they received the Beatles White album and the boys (her brothers) shot the bb gun at the white cat while they turned the music up on the stereo and scared her.

New Year’s Eve 1970:  Her boyfriend ( and Dax and Jessica’s future father) schreeching up her Mom’s road in his Camaro at 11:59, with perfume and a musical jewelry box and leaping out of his car to kiss her in the moonlight.  Oh that was a great New Year’s Eve.  Mom had no idea, being fast asleep in her bed… She still has the jewelry box.  Wishes she still had Jess.

Christmas 1972:  Can anyone say Crock Pot ?

Ok she now havs a mental block.  She has no idea where those years went!

Skip to the year 1984:  Dear Paul appears at her bedside with a bejeweled pearl casque.  How lovely!  Later that year he proposed at the Manchester boat launch and presents her with a delightful diamond ring that she wears to this day and one that her dear Mom thought was “Way too big and too many diamonds, Joanie!”

Christmas 1988:  Hmmm don’t remember.

Christmas 1999:  Dear Paul tells her that her Christmas gift is the ramp of the boat launch where he proposed.  They were dismantling the boat launch for a newer version and he couldn’t bear to see it go.  Gotta give him 10 points for sentimentality.

Christmas 2000:  Dear Paul lost her gift that year and found it in July.  A blue platter- lovely but a bit late.

Christmas 2001-2010:  Lots of interesting gifts- like the time that she had selected a diamond and sapphire bracelet from her late friend Steve’s jewelry store and asked him to tell Paul about it.  He did.  He told Paul “It’s 8 big ones, Paul.” And Paul dutifully met him at the ferry dock with $800.00, only to be told it was $8,000.00. Dear Old Paul, instead of going ahead and buying it for her, instead, in his “holiday depression” about the bracelet, bought himself a Cadillac Fleetwood to assuage his remorse.  You can only imagine her reaction, when, at the end of the Christmas Day, full of gifts and food and drink and fun, she finally asked him if he indeed had no present f or her.  “Oh no hon, I couldn’t afford the bracelet!”

Christmas 2002 I think:  Ahhh- She had survived the “I bought myself a new Cadillac but couldn’t afford to buy you anything honey” Christmas, and she had once again unwisely selected a piece of jewelry, thinking that there was no way she would lose out this year.  Steve assured her that he would save the diamond cross pendant for her so that she could once again direct Dear Paul to the purchasing counter so she was not worried.  She even went to the store to make sure that he hadn’t sold it only to be told that inadvertently it had been!  OH NO now what???

You can only imagine the next Christmas morning as Paul pulled out a small box, wrapped in old paper and a used bow.  You could feel the tension in the living room among all those present as he presented it to her.  The tension was thick in the air as the Universe knew this was now or never as far as Joanie and the Paul presents were concerned…  and as Joanie unwrapped the small box and unearthed the diamond cross pendant from its wrappings, all at once all was right with the world.

Merry Christmas to my dearest of the dear.  Amen and good night.

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