Being married to the same guy for forty years could, I suppose, have been dull, but I never had that problem. Tony could be a real pain in the ass, but he was never a bore.
Tony thoroughly enjoyed his TV and I have to say that I enjoyed lots of movies, watched on our old TV set. In fact, one Mother’s Day about twenty years ago, Tony ordered all the big musicals available to buy at that time. We watched those over and over. Some we’d originally seen in New York. He loved ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘Hello Dolly’ and could sing all the lyrics to “Poor Jud Is Dead.” Hello Dolly was another huge favorite. He thought the lyrics to “It Takes A Woman” ( “…to clean out the drains in the sink..” etc) were hilarious.
When Tony liked a song, he immediately learned all the lyrics --- or, even funnier, just made some up to suit himself. "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" Tom T. Hall’s great song, was a prime favorite. Knowing that he and his wife raised and loved Basset Hounds endeared him to Tony as well. Our little family has a fondness for the hounds – and I might add, Black Labs. Of course now we absolutely adore our tiny Yorky Poo, Coco, our very first very small dog but, alas, Tony died before I got Coco.
For the last twelve years we lived in Tennessee, Tony had to drive twenty-two miles, one way, into Knoxville, to the bank. He listened to country music on his car radio and got a big kick out of it. Another song Tony nearly ran me crazy singing was, "Old Hippie". You know, I’m just an old hippie, etc etc. He made up his own words to that one so I never knew which words were the real ones.
What made that song doubly funny was that Tony was about the direct opposite of a hippy. He was a successful banker and he wore nice, dark suits, white starched shirts, black shoes and socks, - but his ties often had a little color. I bought all his ties. ;0) The concept of “business casual” would never have happened when he was the boss. When he noticed one of his young officers wearing white socks, one morning, Tony handed the man a five dollar bill and sent him down the street to purchase a ”decent” pair of socks.
It took me years to get Tony to accept the fact that casual clothes could be really nice. On week ends, he looked like an ol’ timey garbage collector, especially if he was working in the yard. One of his favorite stories was that he was doing some work in our front yard when a kind of prissy lady, in a big car, stopped, and motioned him over. “Young man, what do you charge for doing yard work? Waal, I don’ rightly know, M’am. The lady whut lives here jest lets me sleep with her.” Looking horrified, the woman sped off. No, it was not true. He read it in Readers’ Digest or somewhere.
His favorite pair of jeans looked so awful that one day, I hid them. When he came in from work, he came back to the kitchen where I was cooking dinner and asked where his “good” jeans were. I never looked up. I said they have gone BY-BY. He never mentioned them again, so they really did go into the garbage the next day.
There’s an old John Wayne movie, where all the cavalry is lined up ready to go, when the bugle player plays the charge. Off they rush into battle. Tony took a tape recorder and recorded the bugle and the cries of “CHARGE!” At about two minutes until five, one afternoon at the bank, he put that on the PA System. So at exactly five o’clock, all the officers and employees heard the cries of charge and the bugle and horses’ hoofs as they rushed out of the bank. I seem to remember that our Chairman of the Board was not thrilled….. no sense of humor.
Oh, yeah, I’d really like to see the angels lined up waiting for Tony to enter heaven, to the sounds of the charge and the bugle. Maybe the Duke was there waiting too.