Have you ever seen a sign, Dear Reader? One of those harbingers of 'something' that makes your hair stand on end, your chest rattle, your index finger point in rude fashion at some thing in the distance?
Posts tagged ‘life’
MTM has been a little under the weather the past couple of days. Nothing serious. And, he's a good patient. Almost chipper. Never makes ridiculous, needy requests. Doesn't moan and act pathetic, wallowing in his favorite chair like his world has ended. He actually smiles when I walk into the room.
What's weird about his behavior is this: I don't understand why he isn't taking the opportunity to slam me with a big, honking dose of payback.
Steam blew out of her mouth and fogged her glasses against the backdrop of the night sky. Rubber-and-leather-clad feet crunched on gravel, echoing against the whip of flags in the wind, the sirens, the thrum of jet engines. Even with the ghostly pencil of stone carving a swath between a crescent moon and two planets, she sighed. The National Mall on a windy night wasn't her idea of a fun slog after a zig-zagging day of work, dashing from place to place to place around the District.
Being in love with someone who disagrees with some of your most fundamental preferences makes for a very broadening life; certainly on this day as much as any other, both Andra and I (MTM) feel a grave responsibility to live up to our hope that the rest of our country can manage to forge the kind of bipartisanship that she and I have committed the rest of our lives to.
Fundamental to our happy existence is learning how to have a depth of compassion for the pain of your opposite when your first instinct is to breathe a sigh of relief for your own good fortune. Especially when you find yourself at the precipice, on the edge of tragedy.
So it has been these last few days.
It all started on Saturday with a trip to Costco. As we shopped the broad aisles of that castle of capitalism, winding our way between boxes of bon bons and towers of toilet tissue, we came upon a bipartisan bonanza we could both agree on: a colossal coupon-less price cut on two products that stoked our particular passions–La Vieille Ferme for my Red wife, and Riondo Prosecco for my own White self. Yes, we somehow have managed a marriage detente even though we have exactly opposite opinions on wine.
Compromise. Such a profound concept, and mutually beneficial to boot. Of course we bought six bottles of Red and six bottles of White! After congratulating each other on our magnanimity, we completed our shopping and stuffed the stuff into the boot of Miss Mini.
Like Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, Miss Mini was bulging with booty. Arriving in the parking garage at Cool Blow, we worked together to load it all up into the collective shopping cart to wheel it up to the condo. And that’s when disaster struck…
Yes, the fully loaded shopping cart went all Christine on us, careening towards the curb, and without looking back, took a half-gainer off the edge. We both watched as our bipartisan bottles floated in mid-air before crashing to the concrete. Like the crime scene it was, Red liquid quickly spread out over the surface, a giant stain waiting to be outlined in chalk. It was a landslide: every bottle of Red lay vanquished before us. The Whites did not escape unscathed, but survived in a spewing spray of sparkling wine; though the bottles were intact, the bubbly was blowing its bubbles.
Tempting it might have been for Andra to wallow in the lost Reds, and tempting it was to gloat over the survival of the Whites. But for the good of our marriage and as an example to our country, our response was unspoken and spontaneous: We spent the weekend squeezing every last drop of enjoyment from the dregs of our disaster, savoring the sparkling together, toasting to a better day when the rest of our country can manage to find our common ground.
We all want our parents to live forever. Of all the people in the world to beat the odds stacked against him, I have always believed my dad would win. Always.
I know he won’t. Those odds are impossible. Still, it is the one shred of little-girl fantasy to which I cling. That my father will always be there. Saying outrageous things. Forcing me to shout to be heard. Telling his crazy stories, tales that fuel my own writing almost every day.
My father isn’t very secure. In fact, his constant refrain when I was growing up was, “You don’t love me no more, do you, Andra?” Even recent readers of this blog will divine that my father is a big personality. Used to adoration. Children don’t always know how to process that information when they’re young.
Few will doubt that I know what to do with it now.
I wish my dad could live forever. That he might be around as long as I am, in all his glory. Able to say and do maddening things that, in the end, mean he is still with me.
An empty wish. I know.
I will leave you with a story, as only Dad can tell it. One I never heard before last weekend.
There was this truck. The driver decided to go across that metal bridge. The one across the Hiwassee. Upriver from my Dad’s farm.
That truck hit that bridge, and it fell. Dropped that truck and its load of oranges into the middle of that river. I don’t even know how many oranges there was.
Well, it was January. That water was cold.
My Dad and I. We took a barge out into the river, and we loaded up as many oranges as we could gather. For weeks, we was finding oranges. Good and sweet. That cold water kept ‘em whole for us.
I’ll never forget those oranges.
I’ll never forget your oranges, Dad. I love you.