Ken and I were in the car talking rather than moving up, out and toward our hair appointments. Because part of my defensive driving plan as I age is to pull through parking spaces so I will have a clear view when I exit, we had the perfect sight line to observe a speeding car travel catawampus across the parking lot. The dark blue SUV landed cross-way over three parking spots directly across from us.
I said, “Ken, look at her!”
Ken laughed more at my reaction than at the woman clearly breaking the drive-slowly-so-you-do-not-mow-down-a-pedestrian rules.
We watched a middle-aged woman step out of her car in a black, tight, yoga-type outfit. Fancy cut-outs near the hem of the Capri-length pants pulled our eyes away from her mane flying freely.
The lady moved quickly to the island between the parking area and the main pathway leading to HEB. Ballet lessons in her past were doubtful as she teetered on tip-toe, reached up and broke off a small branch of lavender crepe myrtle.
Her beneficence self-produced enough blooms to fully fill a large vase. Smart. If the plan is to steal flowers from a park or parking lot tree, why not take a generous arrangement?
The panther smelled the crepe myrtle and her face softened. I could see the pride she felt holding her prize.
When she returned to her car, she saw us – the old people watching her illegally park, vandalize a crepe myrtle and escape with her haul.
Her smile invited me to be a coconspirator – to revere nature and beauty, to live as an adventurer, and to be empathetic to her need for smell, sight, touch, and all the sensory experiences innate in each petal. The thief and I – kindred spirits.
Married for about three months, Ken and I allowed the stress to rise as we packed for a trip to Kansas. Between Ken’s compulsive need to pack everything neatly rolled and lined strategically in each suitcase and my strong desire to organize and complete the task before I died of old age, the loading of the car was a major challenge. Although I am a tough, independent woman, I allowed him to refuse the use of my garment bag the previous trip; so I fussed as I folded my clothes with the knowledge they would be hopelessly wrinkled at our destination.
Weary from our struggle over clothes and luggage, we had a difficult first day on the road.
Our first hotel morning I woke up to find Ken on the edge of the bed. He said, “I think I need to see a doctor.”
I immediately thought of chest pains or a stroke. Should I call 9-1-1 and ask questions later?
Ken continued, “I cannot sleep.”
Relieved that we were not calling 9-1-1, I asked why he could not sleep. I have accused him having the princess(prince)-with-a-pea-under-her(his)-mattress syndrome.
Ken said he had a paper cut from opening the mail he had picked up from his daughter.
I began to giggle.
Then he said, “I was up looking through the toiletries bag for anti-itch cream and antibiotic ointment….”
Now my laughter is rocking the bed.
He adds, “…and I could not find the bandages.”
I made the snorting noise that embarrassed me. I am out of control.
Finally, to make his misery more clear to me, he says, “And you did not help by getting out of bed to walk off the leg cramp.”
“I drove eleven hours yesterday,” I defend myself through tears and laughter.
He has the last word, “Well, my throat is sore because I talked for eleven hours yesterday!”
God help me, I love this retired LtC and his good, compulsive heart. Just call me Mrs. Monk.
I was dressing for a date with Ken when I felt a sharp sting on my upper hip. How a wasp found his way into my bedroom will forever be a mystery. I screamed, interrupting the electrical current to the fan lights and cracking a glass on the nightstand. When the wasp flew into the bathroom, I slammed the door behind him. I felt great relief in the restored safety of my bedroom. Ken arrived and I handed him a flyswatter. He killed the beast I knew was bigger than the proverbial bread box. My hero!
I just walked through the living room to the background noise of a basketball game. Beside my reclining husband on the table I drenched in polyurethane to accommodate his known, bachelor-days habits were a half dozen spoons used for sugar free puddings and yogurt.
“Collecting spoons?” I asked. “Everyone needs a hobby.”
I took my glass to the kitchen, rinsed it and left it in the sink. I should have retrieved his spoons. In the existential, I made a conscious decision not to be a type-A freak and I let it go.
Bob gave me his I-may-not-put-my-spoons-in-the-sink-but-you-DO-love-me-just-as-I-am smile. When I neared his chair, he reached out and took my hand in passing. “Your hands are cold.”
Always with the cliché, I responded, “Cold hands, warm heart.”
Bob said, “I thought that was cold nose, warm heart.” He loves dogs, so I guess that works, too.
Now in my office, I feel happy. The ordinary days of our lives are so rich.