Happy Anniversary Love

From Memphis with love . . .

You are in one state.

I am in another.

But look, in this picture we are together.

 

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My sister-in-law, Laura, tells me she took this picture 5 years ago.  We were so young, only married 21 years then, mere babies, what did we know?

It looks like we are sitting on the bank in our garden, the garden I’ve nagged you about for 8 years, the garden in which you bent your back to lay a brick wall, the garden from which you removed a lot of dirt at my request.  Then I changed my mind and asked you to bring the dirt back.  I don’t think you finished bringing dirt back.  Not that I’m nagging – oh, look at all those hearts – they signify your great love for me.

Though my love has been a bit rough around the edges, a sharp that bled you, sweated you, carved and scarred you, you stuck with me.  You have left me with cuts and bruises too, but you have been more gentle with me than I with you.

I know, I know, it isn’t about keeping a score card.  It is about how you try to be better than you are.  It pushes me to be better than I am, precisely because you love me as I am, never nagging me to change this or that.

Unheard of.

Absurd.

Unthinkable.

But you luuuv me___

wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, you’ve walked in the lion’s den

Twenty-six years together, Honey — together but untouchable today.  That is sad, I guess, but it is hard to feel too sad with years upon years of memories crowding my mind.

Happy Anniversary, Sid.

 

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Morning Routine

Too early for the sun

Your lips sprinkle my cheek and jaw

Whispered word penetrates sleep —

“I look upon you with great favor.”

A groggy mental eye roll, yet

my heart lifts, reaching toward

but my grasp is frail.

Grace slips away as you slip out the door.

I turn over, curling up

under blankets,

searching my darkness.

Your words play hide-and-seek,

until I fully awaken and remember,

my whole self wraps tightly around

your benediction, holding me together.

See, I do hear you sometimes.

Even when you don’t make sense.

Even when I find you hard to believe.

I get up, wondering what I will

say today.

 

 

 

A tub for Mama

It’s better than chocolate.

And Ben & Jerry’s.

But it can enhanced with a book or three.

Sid surprised me with a combined Mother’s Day – Birthday gift.  Our master bathroom was plumbed for a bathtub 8 years ago, but we never had one installed.  Oh, the luxury of not sharing one bathtub with 5 other people — positively decadent.

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When Sid suggested taking the tub in through the bathroom window —  our second story bathroom window —I suggested yard-bathing was the latest thing.  He reasoned our local bear and deer population couldn’t handle the latest thing.

I have my suspicions about that argument.

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Pausing in midair to text.   Because he is still running a business.  My admiration wars with my anxiety about this ability to multi-task.

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Here we are whistling while we work.  Yes, we are our Daddy’s sons — carrying a cast iron bathtub in through a second-story window is a perfectly normal thing for us to do.

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Putting weight on the tub to make sure the tractor doesn’t tip forward.  Really now, I am glad the man is cautious, but that was one worry that had NOT occurred to me.  *shudder*

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The critical point at which I try to focus on the mechanics of picture-taking and not about someone losing their balance while holding a cast iron tub on a hot day on a slanted roof.  And I wonder, did our contractor build our porch roof strong enough to withstand a cast iron tub and 3 men?

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My ears strain to hear the cracking of wood.  Sidney says there is a dip in the roof under the tub.

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Brilliant!  The man may scare me, but he is brilliant.

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He is also a cast-iron-lifting, roof-balancing contortionist — the things you don’t know about a person when you marry him.

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And he is good at teetering on rickety, wooden pallets while lifting a cast iron tub on a roof.

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A brief rest and a moment of brotherly communion . . .humor me while I imagine their dialogue . . .

“So, bro . . .is marriage really this much work?”

“I don’t know, man.  Maybe it’s just that our Dad is a little crazy on his love of hard labor.”

“Yeah, right, I mean surely there are easier ways.  Don’t women like flowers?”

“Might want to throw in some chocolate with the flowers to cover all our bases.”

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A perfect fit through our window.

 

Thoughtfulness

I have cut Sid’s hair for almost 25 years now.

With clippers.  It isn’t like I have hair-cutting skills.  I just put on the guide and push the switch to “on.”  I won’t go into detail about the once or twice . . . . . .eh, possibly three times . . . . . that I put on the wrong size guide and shaved a long strip down the middle of his head way shorter than originally planned.  So using the clippers requires making sure one has the correct guide before making the first cut —- check the guide twice, cut once.

As my health spiraled, Sid began to help me by doing the first shave himself.  Though he is losing hair, it still grows thick in the spots where hair does grow, so it takes a bit longer than one would think.  Then I take the clippers in hand and spiff up the hairs he missed and clean up his neck.

The other night, I happened to notice a new technique — shaving directly into the dustpan.

I thought it ingenious and cute.

And good grief, that is a lot of hair in the dustpan.  I swear he still has more hair than me.

This is the point at which he realizes I am taking pictures of him on his hands and knees over a dustpan.  See the look on his face.  He doesn’t say a word to me, but I can interpret the look. —

First, it is surprise —- “What is she doing?  Why is she taking pictures of me cutting my hair?”

Second thought —- “Wait!  Will she put this on her blog?”

Third thought —- “I don’t know how I feel about that.”

Last thought — “I’ve lost this, man.  If it makes her happy taking pictures of me on the floor shaving my head, then I’m going to let her do it.”

Putting on his pants

Early Saturday morning, I lay in bed, groggy, trying to wake up and get my body to move in slow stretches under my mountain of blankets.  I have convinced myself that this is legitimate exercise.  It buys me an extra 15 . . .er . . 30 . .  . maybe 45 minutes of guilt-free bed time.  I’m doing my exercises, I say.

My husband is getting ready for the day.  I feel a small earthquake as he sits down on the bed.  He has been my morning earthquake for 24 years.  And did I mention that he is a morning person, so he likes to chat in the mornings?  Sometimes, he even philosophizes.

In the morning.

Chattiness, for a non-morning person like myself, is difficult enough.  But philosophy?  “No, no, no” non-morning people everywhere wail.

Blithely oblivious, Sid asks his philosophical question,

“You know that saying . . .’He puts on his pants like everyone else — one leg at a time’?”  

He is incorrigible.  I whimper under my blankets.

(dramatic pause)

“Well, I don’t put on my pants that way.”

One part of my brain scrambles to process this data, while the other part struggles to determine whether I have the vigor to engage in this conversation.  I never know where these dialogues will go.

“Well, how do you put on your pants?” I finally ask.

“I put both legs in at the same time,” he states in a manner that strongly suggests that is the only reasonable way to pull on pants.

Then the image comes to me, one I have seen many times but never thought much about before.

“You sit on the bed, lean back, balance, and pull up both legs at the same time?”  I ask, incredulity tinging my voice.

It just now strikes me that this may be odd, both his pants-putting-on habits and the topic of this conversation.

But now, I am wide awake, contemplating how my large husband puts his pants on in a way that now strikes me as childlike.  He probably views it as efficient. Why take time to put in one leg at a time when one can do both legs at the same time?

Either way, he has won.  He puts his pants on more efficiently, AND he succeeded in bringing me to full wakefulness —- which I strongly suspect was his goal all along.