I believe everyone has, at the very least, One other side. You have the side you show to the public, and the “Other Side.” Mine is named Marsha. The Police named her, not me. Doug and I dated almost a year before we married. I say “dated”. As I remember it, we mostly fought. I remember coming home from almost every date Mad about something. Basically, it was a battle of wills. He usually won. One night, we went out and had a pretty good time. As my friend Mac would say, and then the fight started! We had gone to a party and things went south. Doug left the room to get more beer and I decided I had had Enough! I decided I would show him! I would walk home! (a distance of about a mile) Of course, I’m mad, half drunk, and not About to tell him I’m leaving! The weather was nice, the walk was okay. I figured he would call me in the morning and apologize. Uh, no! The next thing I know, I’m walking in front of McNeill Elem School and a police car comes screeching into the parking lot, siren going, lights blazing! I have no idea what’s going on, but I duck behind one of the the bushes in the yard. Two police officers jump out of their squad car and shine their flashlights on the bushes I’m hiding behind! One of them starts yelling, “Marsha? Marsha, come out from behind the bush. Marsha, it will be okay. Come out and face us!” Okay, wrong name, but they basically had me! I came out from behind the bush where I had been hiding, to see two policemen and Doug, standing beside one of the police cars. The police drove me home, with Doug following. Once home, Doug said, “I’m sorry! I was so worried about you! I didn’t know where you went, or how to find you!” (Remember; this is 1968 – there is no cell phone!) We eventually made up, and the rest is history. But, to this day – anytime I am feeling vulnerable, or lost, or not able to face what has to be faced, Doug says to be me, “Don’t be a Marsha. Hang in there. It’ll be okay. Face your fears. I’m with you.” God, I LOVE this Man! Stay tuned.
Our son, Brian was born when I was 31 and Doug was 33. When he was born in March, his sisters were 9 and 12. He was not an accident – by any means! We tried for two years to have him. Anyway, when Brian was born, Doug was several years into diving. He and “Steve” and several others regularly went on dive trips to different places. That wasn’t a problem for me. I didn’t dive and didn’t care that he went. However, coming home with a new baby, I really expected that Doug would be there to share in the joy (and work) that a little one brings. Especially, since this was his “Son”. Two weeks after we brought Brian home, Doug announced that he would be leaving on his next dive trip in a few days. I was Shocked! Seriously? He would leave me, home, alone, with 3 children for a week? While he went on a vacation to the Carribean with diving and drinking, and sun screen, and adults? But, he said, the trip was already paid for. He Couldn’t cancel it! Don’t worry, he said. “We’ll be in port every night. I’ll call you.” He promised that if anything went wrong at home, he would get a seaplane out immediately, and fly home. Since I had friends and family in town, I told him he could go, but he had to call me, every night. He promised, we kissed, and off he went. That first day without him was rough, but I was comforted that I would get to talk to him that night. Friday night, I cooked supper, put the kids to bed, sat by the phone…that never rang! Saturday night, I cooked supper, put the kids to bed….nothing! Sunday night, ….. Monday night,….. Tuesday night,….Wednesday night,…..Thursday night…the phone RANG!!! The operator said, “I have a collect call from Doug. Will you accept charges?” In my loudest voice, I screamed, “Hell, NO!” And slammed the phone down. When he finally came home on Saturday, he explained (from the doghouse), that they Had been in a different port each night, and he Had tried to call me every night. But in our particular comedy of errors, each phone had problems. Either it was broken, or the wait was long, etc. At the time, I was dubious, but I have since travelled to some of these island locations and can verify that a lot of the phones and other facilities simply do not work. At any rate, from that trip on, when ever either one of us said, “I’ll call you”, it made us smile. Stay tuned.
We have really good friends that we have known Forever! To protect their privacy, I’ll call them “Steve and Sandy”. Doug and Steve grew up in the same neighborhood. I’ve known Sandy since high school. Sandy and I have the same “weird-o” sense of humor. We are both readers and love to people watch. The four of us have been great friends for a long time. We had daughters about the same ages, so we spent a lot of weekends and vacations together! Many, many memories! I’ll share some of the highlights. One day, we thought it would be fun to go to the Grand Old Opry. This was when it was held at Opryland, not the Rhyman Auditorium. I was born in Nashville and have a nodding acquaintance with Country music and the “stars”. Not so, the other 3 people I was with. We found our seats, they lowered the lights and 15 minutes into the show, Doug and Steve both sound asleep and snoring! Sandy, bless her heart, tried to stay with the program, but was really struggling with who the performers were. As each person came out on the stage, she would ask me, “Who’s that? ” Even as I named the performer, I could tell, she didn’t have a clue! Finally, it dawned on me; a way to help her realize who was on stage – Commercials! As Jimmy Dean came on, I told her, sausage. When we woke the guys up at the end of the show and left, she said she enjoyed the show, but never asked to go again! Stay tuned.
I really don’t like snow! I am so grateful I wasn’t born in Minnesota! Over the years, I tried to enjoy snow related activities. We have been skiing a few times. Gatlinburg and Paoli. I never got off the bunny trail. We’ve been sledding down Hospital Hill with the kids. Helped the kids build snowmen. The problem is – it’s COLD! I know; I put on layers, etc. Doesn’t matter! There’s wind and snow and sometimes ice. Not enjoyable to me! I see advertisements for The Opryland Hotel’s Ice Palace. Really? People are going to pay money for this? Why not just stand outside in the parking lot – for FREE! I saw on t.v. a bar inside an igloo! I want my cocktails inside a building that has central heating in front of a roaring fire! The only ice I want to be involved with is inside my Glass! I will venture outside to go to and from my hot tub, but that’s it! Call me in the Spring! Stay tuned.
I Love Football! There. Super Bowl is bittersweet for me; love the game, but it means it’s the end of the season! Used to be, they played the Pro Bowl After the Super Bowl. That, at least gave me the chance to calm down, enjoy this last game without worrying who would win. Now, it’s played the week Before the Super Bowl. Who cares? My guy could get hurt – the week before he plays in the big game! I’ve loved football forever. Fell in love with a player, had a son who played. Know the game pretty well (for a Girl). We used to host and go to Super Bowl parties. It was awkward for me – I always wanted to be in the room with the guys and the t.v. watching the game. Instead, I would sit in the other room with the wives and visit. I used to pretend Tom Laundry was kin to me! I wanted to adopt Michael Irving. We actually got Troy my boy’s autograph when we were at the Stockyard Cafe in Nashville. Needless to say, the Cowboys were my team – forever! The first time the Cowboys were NOT in the Super Bowl, I was Shocked! I thought the Super Bowl game, every year, was the Cowboys vs __________. It’s kind of like the first President we elected after Eisenhower. I thought Eisenhower was like our King! I had no idea he could be replaced! Anyway, I’ve got my Bronco sweatshirt , more firewood ordered, makings for homemade chili, and lungs ready to Yell – one last time this year. I’ll probably nap through the Pro Bowl and dream of August. Stay tuned.
If you have been following along, you know that my 89 year old mother, Sarah, lives in a nursing home called Rosewood. She has been there 3 years after having a series of little strokes. She now has dementia that (I swear) comes and goes. Sarah has not gone gently into that good night by any means! Although she has settled down and settled in to her new home, I still get the occasional phone call from the staff at Rosewood. They always start the call saying, “Ms. Sarah is alright, but…..” A couple of weeks ago, I got a very odd call. Tracy, her nurse said, “Ms. Sarah is alright, but today she was playing bingo, (?) she won (?) and as a prize, she got a bottle of body wash. (?) Before we were able to get to her, she had unscrewed the cap and drank half the bottle of body wash! The doctor was called and except for coughing some and her eyes watering, she’s okay.” I had several questions – which I posed to her main caregiver, Sheila. How does a woman who supposedly has dementia Play, never mind, Win, at Bingo? Sheila’s answer was that of course, none of the residents really play the game and that they take turns letting every one win. Okay, got that. But why would you give an 89 year old (who does not bathe herself) a bottle of body wash as a prize? At that age, if you can’t eat it, drink it, or use it to keep warm, what good is it? Sheila explained that a lot of things are donated to the residents. When the staff gives out “prizes”, they don’t always have a lot to choose from; socks, gloves, powder, body wash, are a few of the things that are donated. We agreed that Sarah would not be given any liquids as a prize anymore. Note to self – take your lazy self to Walmart and buy decent “prizes” to donate to Rosewood. Stay tuned.
My husband, since day ONE, has Always put me first. His love, care, and concern has always been for me and our children. He is the most selfless person I have ever known. Having said that, you must know, he is also the most naive person I have ever known. Not his fault. When he was growing up, he was the product of a bitter divorce, and after his father died when he was fourteen, subsequent poverty. He went to work, to literally feed and clothe himself. Between working and sports, he had no time outside school to “hang around” with the guys. His older brother and sister were grown and gone. There really was no one to “explain” things to him. Plus, in that time, if you learned anything, it was from a film in school, or your friends. That is the background to how (thanks to his paternal grandmother), this sweet, polite, hard working, good looking, moral, guy came to me with all the attributes a girl wants in a guy; but no “street smarts”. You need to understand his background to appreciate some of the things he has done, and said over the years. Example: When we were very young (Doug was 23, I was 21), we were stil trying to find out who we were and where we belonged as a couple. We decided to join the country club. We didn’t gamble, but Doug loved golf and we enjoyed the dances and the pool. One night we showed up for game night at the club and they were playing Bingo. My sweet guy, in an effort to understand, leaned across me, looked down the length of this long table of about 20 “Country Club” people and yells, “Is this the same Bingo they play at the Moose Lodge?” Stay tuned.
The first time Doug & I went to California, I fell madly in love! Didn’t want to come home – at all! This was maybe 1976. We rented a car and drove along the coast line just enjoying the scenery. At some point on a beautiful Sunday morning, we ended up in Long Beach and came across the ship, the Queen Mary (not named after me) which is docked there. We went aboard to check it out. Not realizing that this was a hotel, we decided to spend the night. The ship was beautiful! We went in to have brunch. I have never before (or since) seen the amount of food laid out! Most of my adult life, I weighed about 98 pounds, so even though I enjoyed food, I couldn’t eat much. There were about 20 “stations”; large tables set up with an array of a specific type of breakfast food. Each station had a server dressed in formal attire to assist you. Meats, breads, fruits, eggs, desserts, the choices were endless! Seated on a dais, was a woman in a floor length ball gown, playing a harp! After we were seated, a server came and poured champagne into 2 flutes, sitting on our table! It’s 9:30 on a Sunday morning! Oh well, when in Rome.. After we ate as much as we possibly could, we went and toured the ship. The movie, “The Poseidon Adventure” had been filmed on the ship. I had never seen anything as large! It was decorated with the period in mind, but the rooms were beautifully done. We really enjoyed ourselves. The next morning, when we woke up, I opened the little port hole window in our room . The view of the ocean was amazing! In a burst of sheer happiness, I threw my naked torso out the window opening, proclaiming, “Good morning, world!” As I was bringing my naked self back in though the window, I happened to look down to see 2 fishermen in a small boat, in the water directly below me, looking up! I came back into the room, embarrassed, and told Doug about the fishermen. He looked at me and said, “Yeah, they probably wondered what that young boy was yelling about”! Stay tuned.
As I’ve aged, I’ve “let go” of a lot of things that used to drive me crazy. I realize that pet peeves I used to have had their place in that time of my life. When the kids were young and Had to be somewhere at a certain time, I had major road rage. It used to drive me crazy to have to stand on long lines, wait my turn or let others go first. With Age, comes some patience. I will always have my lifelong pet peeve-people who mangle, or misuse the English language. I’ve narrowed my pet peeves down to two current ones. People you run 200-300 page reports on the copier at work, daily, and NEVER replace the paper! Just walk away! Let the next person who needs to make a copy deal with the situation! And, of course, the next person is almost always ME! But my Number 1, all time peeve – people who drive in unsafe weather conditions with NO headlights on! Rain, fog, snow, dusk, Dark, doesn’t matter. I count many, many cars who are oblivious! I’m sure I notice this more since my car wreck, but seriously! Every time I see someone without their headlights on, I just want to make them pull over so I can A. Slap them silly or B. Take their car keys away until they learn how to drive properly! Just yesterday, I passed a State Trooper with no headlights on! Come on, people! If it is 4:30 on a cloudy, January day, it’s DARK! Turn your lights on! Old people can’t see you! (Sorry, Mac.) Stay tuned.
I am thankful for my family and my friends. Especially the last few years, you have shown your love and support to me and I love you for it! But I find myself being thankful for little things. I am thankful for clean, fresh, running water. I am thankful for heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I am thankful for enough food to eat. I am thankful for dishwashers. I am thankful for wi-fi. Wait, I think I’m getting off track. Well, maybe not. Stay tuned.