If You Don't Laugh, You'll Cry - Laughing's Better!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Warm and Crazy Guy

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.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We Have Nothing to Fear...

What are you afraid of?  Everything? Nothing? I’d love to know. I’m not talking about major happenings - not war, famine, storms, nor the end of chocolate as we know it.
 I well remember my dad calmly saying there is nothing to be afraid of—and my thinking, if I was as big as you, I wouldn’t be afraid of anything either. On the other hand, my mother was a chubby petite and one of the bravest women I ever knew. Of course, her bravery was sometimes augmented by the small shotgun she often had close around. She didn’t miss what she aimed at, either.
 Once when my brothers and I were small, Mother was driving through south Georgia , on the way to visit her sister in Jacksonville. She came to a sawhorse in the middle of the  two lane highway. There was a poorly lettered Detour sign attached with an arrow pointing to a narrow dirt road. She had no choice but to take the detour. When she had driven a short way, she saw three or four rough looking men standing in the middle of the road, signaling her to pull over. Well, she gunned the motor and plowed right through them. Yes, they jumped out of the way at the last moment. When I asked what she’d have done if she’d hit one of them, she said she’d just have kept going. One woman in a car with three children must have appeared to be easy pickins’ to those jerks. They didn’t know my mother!
 Truly, I think the fear of parents is for the safety of their children. Oh, yes, we may have all kinds of hopes and dreams for our kids but their physical safety is basic. With a son who was career military, I’ve only been able to sleep at night because I put him in the Lord’s care. Oddly enough, the computer helped me during this last deployment to Iraq. While he didn’t have time for long letters, just a one sentence -” I’m fine” - e mail kept  me sane  -- and able to sleep at least a little. Also, it was good that Dee and I were already living together during that time. I don’t know what I’d have done if I’d still been living alone.
 Honestly, I don’t know how my poor mother in law  managed to exist with her two oldest sons serving during World War II. At least her husband was still living then. But mail was so often very long in coming plus much – or most- that they could not share. No, my son did not share everything either but we knew where he was and he could receive our boxes and email. I mostly just sent funnies to him. One night, when I could not sleep, maybe three a.m., I sent a cute joke. I got an immediate rather stern reply: “Mom, what are you doing up this time of night? I am fine. Now please go back to bed and get some rest.”  I had to laugh, guess he knew me too well.
 As we get older, we learn to separate feelings of actual fear from just dislike. I’ve known several people who seemed to actually fear gaining a pound or two.  I truly despise snakes, even tiny ones, but I don’t fear them to the extent that I used to. One person I know has a pure dislike of palmetto bugs but I don’t think she really fears them.
 I believe I do have some fear about the direction this country is taking but I am encouraged to learn that I am not alone. Lots of people - younger, stronger, much more able than I am - are trying to work out solutions. For awhile, I was afraid that just folks in my general age group were concerned but I am learning different. I’m thrilled to see people the ages of my children who are standing for public office. Yes, even younger folks too and many have wonderful, concrete values that we can be proud of.
 Yesterday, I told Dee about a person running for president, who is two months younger that she is. She was horrified! “A guy my age is too young to be president.”  I had to giggle because a guy my age is too darn old to be president!
 Remember the story about President Lyndon Johnson having a phone installed in the private bathroom of one of his aides? He said the ship of state could not be held up while Mr. Blank ran to the bathroom every few minutes. I suspect the language was more colorful but you get the point. Hmmm, wonder how old that fellow was.
 Fear of flying is one we often used to hear about, but these days it is more the aggravation of flying that deters some folks. I don’t like traveling over high bridges and usually close my eyes until we are on level ground again. However, I have learned that if I am driving, I have much less (or no) fear.  Some people are frightened to speak or perform before a group but I enjoy it--- just a ham at heart, I suppose.
 Hey, in 25 words or less, tell me what you are afraid of.  Just one word is OK - like, may- be,  oooh ---  clowns or turtles --  You don’t even have to sign your name …….
 [Note from Dee: I am afraid of kangaroos.]