Tuesday, September 24, 2019

My Fair Lady

When September 27 rolls around, my mother would be one-hundred and five-years-old if she were still alive. I am the self-appointed sentry of her memory and I think about her often as I try to safeguard bits and pieces of her life. So many things remind me of the years she spent on earth, forty-eight of which was as my mother.
I recently saw a play called Love, Loss and What I Wore. As the title suggests, it was about clothes worn on memorable occasions and the emotional attachment to each garment. It got me to thinking about how my mother made all of my clothes until I got to be a smart-ass teenager with little or no respect for her labors of love over the years. Now that she’s gone, however, my appreciation seems to know no bounds.
There is an old Olan Mills black and white portrait only slightly tinted in color that I keep in a memory box on the top shelf of my closet. Two five-year-old girls smiled for the birdie as a flashbulb popped. The girls are dressed identically in red and white checked taffeta pinafores with matching white blouses. The photo is of my cousin, born eight days after I was, and me. The pinafores were ruffled around the shoulders and the sash was generous, tying nicely into a bow in back. We had matching ribbons in our hair. Mama made those outfits and now seventy something years later, her labors survive only on photo paper. Lord only knows what happened to the pinafores. My guess is that they were handed down to other cousins or sold in a rummage sale.
My cousin’s daddy owned his own business so he had money. No way was he the proverbial rich uncle everyone wishes for, but he had lots more than my daddy who was a policeman for the city. My cousin had store-bought clothes and for all of my teenage years, I was jealous. She died with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and the one thing she seemed to remember and clung to is the photo of the two of us taken when we were kids. 
Since our little town was the county seat, every October a parade of carnival rides, game booths and greasy food made its way from Florida to the fairgrounds just outside the city limits. Since the same carnival outfit came to town through the years, Daddy was friendly with some of the “carnies” and their families. I wouldn’t call it a fraternity reunion when the county fair people and daddy made contact, but it was a reunion, of sorts. 
Daddy’s career rose from flatfoot to detective and eventually to Police Chief. Needless to say, it was advantageous for fair folks to stay on the good side of the Chief. Because of that, when I was sixteen, I became the recipient of the most glamorous clothes I had ever seen.
My benefactor’s name was Ava, the wife of the man who ran the Bingo games at the fair each year. She was a tiny little thing, as was I in those days, so Ava, who had always wanted a daughter, would leave some of her expensive clothes at our house for me to wear. They were absolutely not like the hand-me-downs from my cousin.
Ava loved black, the slinkier the better. She adored spike-heeled shoes. Ava was in love with bling long before it was a word. Seeing the flashy clothes she left for me, I thought I had died and gone to serious fashion heaven. The clothes fit my slim body as though designed and tailored especially for me. I remember slipping into a black silk blouse with pearl buttons and leg-of-mutton sleeves. I then put on Ava’s tight-fitting red satin skirt and a pair of her red sling-back high heels with open-toes. I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror. 
Staring at my reflection, I realized that something was still not quite right. What was I missing? And then it hit me. Mascara. Eyeliner.
It was the mid-fifties and I was a teenager. I might have curled my eyelashes from time to time, but eyeliner? Mascara? Nuh uh. 
I sneaked into Mama’s bathroom and looked around for her box of cosmetics, and for the next hour, I went through that box like Sherman through Atlanta. 
Satisfied that I had been transformed from plain to devastatingly gorgeous, I went down the stairs as gingerly as possible to tell my parents that I was leaving for a young people's church meeting.
“I’m going now, y'all. Be back in two or three hours, probably.”
My mother looked up from the dress she was hemming, one of the many outfits she had sewed for her only daughter. I will never forget the look on that woman’s face. Horror doesn’t quite capture it, but it comes close. Her mouth was wide open. 
Daddy had been reading the paper and when he looked up to say goodbye, the breath he sucked in sounded pretty much like an advanced case of emphysema. 
It occurs to me now that they both may have been wondering why the voice of the hussy standing before them sounded so much like their teenage daughter. Still, they kept staring at me as though I were an apparition. 
Perspiration began to collect in my armpits and I remember thinking that sweat was bad for a silk blouse. The strap on my left shoe decided at that moment to flop down and when that happened, my legs wobbled. My parents continued to stare. 
“Well, okay then. I’m off.” My bravado was so fake that even I was embarrassed.
Mama, having finally found her voice, cleared her throat. “Uh-uh. You’re not going anywhere dressed like a streetwalker. You march yourself back upstairs and take off those clothes before I snatch you baldheaded.”
I couldn’t believe she didn’t approve of my new look. How could she not?
I went on the attack. “Ava gave me these clothes because she wanted me to wear themAva’s not a streetwalker. Well? Is she?”
Mama sighed. Daddy coughed. 
“No, Ava is not a streetwalker. Ava is thirty-five years old and down in Florida where she lives, people dress like that. We don’t. You don’t. When you are her age, you can dress any way you want to, but not now. So, get your butt back upstairs and put on something decent.”

The following October, Ava left a light blue cashmere sweater-set for me before the fair headed back to Florida. Mama let me wear it as often as I wanted to. She even made me a skirt that picked up and enhanced the color. The first time I wore it as an outfit, she smiled in total approval.
“You look so sweet, honey. Just like a teenager.”

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Where Angels Gather

Christmas angel Graphics
Nowhere is God's grace more evident
than when a Hospice Angel walks through the door.

When Tom's daughters had a heart-to-heart talk with him last April, he was the epitome of a man at the end of his rope. Five months of caring for his wife, Jenny, had kept him awake most nights. Occasionally he catnapped in the afternoons, but it was never a good rest. The love of his life was dying; his own discomfort could not compare with hers.

Daughters Susan and Carol gazed lovingly at their father, a man whose looks normally belied his definitive age. Months of worry, chemo, and hope had stolen his vitality and lined his face with the weight of concern.

"It's time, Dad," Susan said placing her arms around him. 

"Time?" His puzzled face expressed an inability to think beyond the moment. 

"We're worried about you," Carol said, following her sister's lead. "Mom's many needs these days are too much for you to handle alone and you need help. It's time for Hospice."

Tears pooled in Tom's eyes. "They are just as blue as a robin's egg," Jenny told him on their first date.         

"Hospice," he said, "is for later, when there's no hope, no reason to..." his voice trailed off as tears slid down his sad, sad face. "She's my wife, my life." 

In his heart, Tom knew he couldn't do everything for his wife, but Hospice? Jenny might think he had given up on her.

After his daughters explained how Hospice could insure Jenny's ultimate comfort and care, Tom was better able to come to terms with that which he had not wanted to face. With the help of Jenny's oncologist, the family reached out to the local Hospice workers.

The children and Tom were there the day Linda came into their lives. She wore no wings, no long flowing gown, no halo. In fact, she was dressed in a cheerful pair of yellow pants topped with a bright blue smock. But she wore a sensitive smile on her face that completely overshadowed the intensity of her clothes.

Tom greeted her with a responding smile. "Come in, Linda, and meet my beautiful Jenny," he said. 

Jenny grinned at her new caregiver and said, "Your blouse is the exact color of Tom's eyes." At that moment, Jenny and Linda bonded. Jenny was assured that, no matter what, she would be cared for with love, compassion and excellence.

During the time that Linda was with Jenny, she did so much more than was expected of a Hospice nurse. True, she met all of the patient's needs, but beyond that, she sipped coffee with Tom and his daughters and listened to them tell the story of Jenny's life—the third-grade students Jenny had taught who kept in touch even after they were grown, the tennis trophies won four seasons in a row, the prize roses Jenny had grafted and named after her two daughters. There was so much to recount.

Linda laughed out loud when told about the Halloween Jenny dressed up as the Jolly Green Giant, slathering green food coloring mixed with cold cream all over her body.
            
"She scrubbed and scrubbed" Carol said, tears of laughter streaming down her face, "but no way could she get it all off. She had to go to school the next day looking more like a hungover leprechaun than a jolly green giant."   
            
When the time came for Jenny to leave this life, her family were all there: Tom, Susan, Carol, and also Linda, who had become so close to them all. They circled around her bed while Jenny gazed deeply into the robin's egg blue eyes of the love of her life before she swept the room for a goodbye look at her two devoted daughters. 
            
When at last her eyes came to rest on Linda, Jenny smiled, not one bit surprised to find that Linda's always vibrant clothes had been exchanged for a long, flowing pale blue gown, a shimmering halo and a perfect pair of angel wings.
*****
Jenny's story is repeated every day due to the gathering of Hospice Angels caring for our families and friends. It is so important, even in these economically stressful times, for each of us to support these wonderful people who are devoted to helping others in need.




Saturday, March 2, 2019

Drop Back One and Punt

When it comes to food, Babe doesn't dare complain about my cooking. Why? Because he doesn’t do kitchens, he does football and golf. His remote control speed-clicks to ESPN. He easily swings a golf club and can catch a football with one hand, but so domestically challenged is he that he could apply for and receive government assistance.

B.C. (Before Cappy), he was the Go-To guy who knew all about microwavable food. The day he married a Southern gal who could cook was the day his epicurean fantasy came true. He hasn’t strolled down the frozen food aisle since strolling down that other aisle with me over twenty-five years ago. Generally speaking, his culinary lack of interest doesn’t matter to me, but today it does because a horrible stomach virus hit me twelve hours ago.

Having finally managed to fall into a fitful sleep, I am startled awake by Babe who is not so quietly pacing back and forth at the foot of my deathbed. It could be delirium, but I have the insane notion that he may actually be concerned about my health or lack thereof, as the case may be.

“Babe, it’s only a bug. I’ll be okay by tomorrow.” My tone is sugarcane sweet but weak as a water sandwich. I sound like Melanie Wilkes in GWTW begging Scarlett to take care of dear Ashley when she goes to that big plantation in the sky.

When I look up, I catch Babe sneaking a glance at his watch.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, Sweetie,” he says. “But, um, I was just wondering …”

“Wondering what?”

“Well, maybe you should eat something,” he says.

The man owes his life to the fact that he is pacing at the foot of my bed and not beside it. I shove the covers back faster than the speed of light and dash to the bathroom, breaking Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s world record.

Five minutes later, crawling on my hands and knees, I reach my rumpled bed while holding a small plastic wastebasket clamped between my front teeth. Babe, on the other hand, is walking the floor as if he has become the title of a country/western song.

“What do you want, Babe? Tell me quick so I can die in a quiet room.” I pray to the Kitchen Goddess that he won’t say anything else about food, at least before I can get a better grip on the wastebasket.

“I realize you’re not feeling a hundred percent, but I’ve got a nine o’clock tee time and I was thinking maybe …”

I glare at him through sleep-encrusted, scary eyes and a mouth so dry it could hold a flame. Does he notice? Get serious. Indifferent, he hums to himself while trying to sink a practice ball into my bedroom slipper with his putter.

“Tell me what you want, Babe, then go play golf so I can die in peace.”

He pauses in mid-putt. “You wouldn’t consider fixing me some bacon and eggs before you croak, would you?”

Back in the day, Babe was a college football linebacker and that may well have saved his life for the second time in less than five minutes. I reach for something heavy to throw at him. He dips left and then right as if he were Peyton Manning avoiding a block. I don’t know what it was I threw but it sounded like glass when it hit the wall. I hope it wasn’t my Waterford.

While rushing from the room (as if going for a touchdown), he yells, “You could go to jail for that.”

For a tiny fraction of a second, I pondered what he would find to eat, but that thought flits through my mind faster than all the other things had raced through my body in the last 12 hours.

When I hear a noise in the kitchen, I think maybe the man had figured out how to pour cereal into a bowl. Turns out, it is only the sound of the back door slamming as the ever-resourceful Babe makes a bump and run to the nearest Waffle House.

Huddled alone and experiencing what feels like my personal end zone, dying thoughts quickly turn to payback. If there is justice in this world, then Babe will catch my contagious bug and gain plenty of yardage running back and forth to the loo. When that happens, I will stand on the sidelines and yell like the cheerleader I used to be. 
You got the power,
You got the beat,
You got the spirit,
Now get on your feet!
Go team! Go!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hoppin’ For Good Luck

By Cappy Hall Rearick 

Ever wonder how the New Year’s tradition of eating peas and rice got the name Hoppin’ John?Well, wonder no more.
Some say it originated with a game similar to musical chairs where kids hop up and down at the table. Duh. The Grandkids from Hell jump up and down at the table as if they’ve swallowed a Slinky. Up North, people eat pork and sauerkraut to clean them out in preparation for the coming year. Yuk. Homemade colonoscopies might be Yankee logic, but I'd sooner have kids jumping up and down at the table like Jack on Crack in the Box.
Thinking it will ward off bad luck, most Southerners adhere to the tradition of eating pork, collard greens and Hoppin’ John on the first of the new year. I am a true Southerner but I have not always been a true believer. 
On New Year's Day many years ago me and my big mouth declared, “No Hoppin’ John and collard greens for me.” Big mistake.
Mama had roasted a Boston Butt to within an smidgen of cremation. Her collards were swimming like Esther Williams in ham grease. I didn’t believe that a year of good luck depended on which veggies I ate on January first. That said, I never met a pig I didn’t want to take home to Mama. So, after downing three pork sandwiches— my one nod to tradition— I developed the bellyache from hell, the first indication of more to come. 
The next day my dog blitzed an entire can of Alpo, looked up at me and promptly dropped dead. Yeah, she was old, but I was just a kid and that dog had been begging for table scraps all of my life. Her high-speed exit made me think she should have eaten my share of collards.
Daddy buried Susie Q in our back yard while Mama and I cried and passed each other one Kleenex after another. He wore a dark suit and tie and stood at the gravesite with his hands clasped in front of him. When I said, “Daddy looks like a preacher,” Mama and I laughed and cried all at the same time.
On January third, I went to the kitchen, poured lard in a frying pan and then realized we were slap out of potatoes. Totally forgetting that I’d turned on the burner under the grease, I walked to the Piggly Wiggly and bought a five-pound bag of potatoes. I dilly-dallied back home much like Prissy did in Gone With the Wind, when I was stopped by loud sirens. Not one large red fire truck, but three of those bad boys were parked end-to-end in front of our house. Smoke billowed from the kitchen door while neighbors lined up on the sidewalk and gawked. 
Within minutes Mama’s kitchen was toast. All of the cabinets had to be repainted and her new wallpaper smelled like a Boy Scout Jamboree. She stayed mad at me for the next twelve months. 
Fearing the next day might bring even more bad luck, I didn’t want to wake up. What if the calamities over the past three days were only teasers? Hello ... I should have stayed in bed because that year was the longest one of my life. One piece of bad luck pounced on me every single day.
Bottom line? I learned more than I ever wanted to know about traditions, why they were established in the first place and why it is necessary to honor them. I’ve been known to eat myself into belly bloat since becoming the poster child for New Year’s Day cuisine. 
I promise you this: until my jaws no longer go up and down in chew mode, I will cover my sassy southern you-know-what by hogging down pork, Hoppin’ John and collard greens on January One. I’ll even eat some of that boring Yankee delight sauerkraut. Who am I to mess with tradition, even when it originates north of the Mason Dixon Line?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

LIGHTEN UP!

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.
                                                ~ Quotes from Christmas Vacation

Babe was hell-bent on buying a pre-lighted artificial Christmas tree this year, much to my chagrin. 
“I can’t understand why you always insist on a live tree,” he said. “It’s silly and a waste of money. If get a permanent tree and some of that Christmas scent to spray around the house, it’ll seem just as real and won’t leave needles all over the place.” 
“That spray stuff smells like Lysol,” I said. “There is no substitute for fresh greens.”
He rolled his eyes. “Wanna bet?”
Babe’s capacity for turning down a bargain is zilch. The man can sniff out a deal from fifty miles away standing in the middle of a forest fire. For days, he and Google compared prices, sizes and shipping costs. 
When this tree compulsion of his swung into high gear, I buried my hands deep inside a large bowl of fruitcake batter. 
His voice carried into the next county. “Great Jumping Jingle Bells! I did it. I found the perfect tree!”
Costco was offering it at price far better than any he found on his quest. There was, however, a slight catch. We would need to drive down to Greenville on Black Friday. Sane people do not go anywhere near a discount store the weekend following Gobble Day. (The operative word here would be SANE.) 
Babe insisted I go with him. I agreed although traffic on the interstate during a December blizzard would not have been as much of a hassle. 
“Let’s just buy a freakin’ live tree,” I said, seriously tired of traffic, crowds and holidays in general. 
“No way. They’re not big enough.”
“Need I remind you, Babe, that we don’t live at the White House?”
His screwball thinking was because the vaulted ceiling in our great room is 18 feet tall. Ergo, we should buy an extra tall tree. “Last year,” he reminded me accompanied by a snide know-it-all look, “the piddly ass live six-footer you insisted on looked like it was stunted.”
As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. The poor little tree looked so out of place and forlorn that we left it up till after Valentine’s Day so it wouldn’t go to Fraser Fir heaven with an inferiority complex. 
We arrived at Costco and as soon as we were inside, Babe found the object of his search. “There it is,” he said breathlessly. “Our tree. Is it beautiful or what?”
I looked up. And up. And up. “It’s seriously tall, Babe. How will we ever get an angel on top?”
He stared at me as though I’d eaten too many rum balls. “We are saving eighty bucks on shipping.”
I turbo sighed. “So, buy it and let’s get out of here.” I glanced behind him as I spoke. 
“Babe, remember in the parking lot when you snuck into that space you said had your name on it?”
He nodded, more interested in gazing at Paul Bunyan’s answer to Fa-la-la than the parking lot.
“Well,” I whispered, “the woman who was waiting on the space you stole is standing right behind you, and she is not ho-ho-ho-ing.” 
He spun around to come eyeball to eyeball with a woman shaped like a Humvee and toting a pocketbook the size of a barcalounger. If she pulled out an AK-47 and started shooting, I would have been the only one in the store to see it coming.
Babe hissed, “I’ll pay for the tree. You drive the getaway car.”  
Many hours later we arrived home with our new, direct from China Christmas tree packed in two boxes, each one equal to the size and weight of a Volkswagen. Somehow, we got them inside the house, unboxed and assembled into one 16-foot tall tree complete with 2,500 pre-strung lights. Our soon-to-be new BFF is our chiropractor.
When the tree was finally up and lighted, the living room was bright enough to cause severe corneal damage. The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center isn’t as bright. I kept looking for the Rockettes to high step through the front door.

Last week we had an unexpected snow storm that required us to stay home and keep warm by the fire. It was during that time when we got up close and personal with those 2,500 Christmas lights. Andy Williams crooned holiday tunes while I pretended we were watching skaters at Rockefeller Center and sipping on hot buttered rum. Snuggling up close to Babe, I felt warm, fuzzy and doggone it ... even Christmassy.
“You got to admit, Cappy, our pre-lit, artificial tree is more beautiful than a live tree,” Babe bragged.
Before he could say I told you so, I said, “Let’s discuss it in January after the electric bill for those 2,500 lights arrives. Meanwhile, hand me my sunshades and get out some more spiked eggnog. If and when the Rockettes show up, they are going to be seriously thirsty.”

Saturday, December 1, 2018

God Bless Us Everyone

Our world has been made better by our diversity. Lord knows where we would be without the contributions made by people of different ethnicity, different faiths, varied backgrounds. 
Our Jewish culture gave us Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis. Ann Frank left us a diary and showed the world that courage can endure even under unspeakable conditions. Albert Einstein, famous for the theory of relativity, laid the basis for the release of atomic energy. Jonas Salk, whose parents were Jewish immigrants, invented the polio vaccine and saved untold lives. Their gifts to the world are beyond words. 
And what would we, as teenage girls, have done if we had not had Paul Newman to salivate over, or Cid Caesar, born of Jewish immigrants, to tickle our funny bones? Not satisfied to pad his bank account with movie money, Paul Newman used much of it to make the world better for kids who had no hope of a bright future. In 1988, he opened The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut so that children coping with serious illnesses would have a special hideout where they could simply be kids. 
Think of Oprah and what all she has done to make a difference and, given how her life began and what she was forced to endure while growing up, it is incredible that she emerged with such an enormous generosity of spirit. The Met would not have been nearly as wonderful without the voices of African Americans. When I hear the voice of Leontyne Price, I am brought to my knees.
The world of people is like a big bang of multi-colored confetti and each one of us has a chance to contribute. It is not about always being perfect, or always being right. It is about being. Just being. And it’s about getting up when we fall down and trying again when we fall short, even when failure dogs us to the brink.
 I would like to think I will live long enough to see the end of bigotry, but sadly I know that will not happen. My grandchildren may have a shot at living in a world that is better than what I see today but it means they will have to work at it, and it will take time. Lots of time. I hope they will not lose hope.
I had a reading this afternoon. Read a long story from my Christmas book, High Cotton Christmas. The story I read was “That’s the Spirit!” It was a fantasy story, but then isn’t the Christmas season just that? Magical. Does it matter that it is make believe? Nope. We welcome the spirit of this special time and before long, good things start to happen. We are nicer to others; we smile at strangers; we renew our spirit by giving generously; we forgive past hurts and we look toward happier times. We are reminded of Dicken’s favorite last line in A Christmas Carol and that ain’t such a bad thing. 
My reading went well and I sold a ton of books and I have people that were in the Christmas spirit to thank for that. We all become more generous during this time of year ... but even so, I’ll stick with Dickens. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
So here’s to all of you ... “God bless us every one.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Anniversary Waltz



“How do you keep the music playing? How do you make it last? How do you keep the song from fading too fast? ~Alan and Marilyn Bergman

“You’re cooking snails for our anniversary dinner?” Babe’s face is a mask of terror. 

I close my eyes and count to ten. “Not snails. Escargot. The first course.”

He rolls his eyes. “Whatcha fixing for the second course? Grilled Geckos?”

My plan for a romantic anniversary dinner at home with just the two of us is going south faster than snowbirds in January.

Our years together are passing too quickly and we seldom have alone time these days. I miss that. I hope that on our anniversary we will sit across a candlelit table recalling our years together. I’ll laugh at his bad jokes and he’ll say, “Yum” to the escargot.

I picture him pouring champagne and saying, “Remember the priest that married us? He looked like ‘Radar’ on M.A.S.H.”

I’ll reply, “I remember you staring at him and laughing, and him bouncing on his heels like a slinky until you said, ‘I do’.” 

Babe will roll his eyes. “Well, unlike you, I didn’t giggle when he asked the Richer or Poorer question.”

I’ll give him a point for that.

The table will be set with good china, good silver and the champagne flutes saved from our wedding twenty-five years ago. The tapers will dwindle down to soft, waxy puddles while music wafts through the room and poetic breezes snuff out the world beyond our little nest.

I’ll wear the dress I wore on our wedding day ifI can still get in it. He’ll say I look better now than when I walked down the aisle. Getting him to change from sweaty golf clothes into something decent will be a stretch. I’ll just put some jeans and clean underwear out for him. I’ll tell him he’s more handsome than ever and he’ll believe me because the truth will shine in my eyes. 

I picture the two of us alone and content for a few precious hours. Joining us at some point will be our memories needing no prelude, no clarification.

While he pours more champagne to toast our days, weeks, months and years together, he’ll say he thinks often of the day we met, at which point I’ll hum, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. He won’t frown or beg me not to sing. 

Neither of us will bring up past disagreements like the dented fender or the coffee stains on the carpet. Gone will be the notion that I don’t appreciate him taking out the garbage. I won’t nag him about his favorite meals I’ve cooked that went unacknowledged.

On second thought, maybe I’ll slip it in. We can’t focus all night long on those wonderful can’t-live-another-minute-without-you-days or we won’t get to the second course.

We will dance. We’ll kick up our heels because we love dancing with each other. I’ll play romantic CD’s programmed for a magical evening. Between courses, we’ll waltz to the refrains of poignant ballads, though not always with our feet. At times, we’ll glide together with a look designed to keep our inner music playing. (Sigh)

If things go as I hope, the evening will evolve in layers, one course following another. After sipping champagne and eating too much food, when I’m convinced that he is sufficiently mellow, I will suggest a trip to Paris.

“Why not go to Austria, too,” he’ll ask mockingly because he’ll think I’ve had too much bubbly.

Without a moment’s pause, I will counter with Australia, and he’ll grin knowing, as I do, that it is all pretend.

We are old, Babe and me, although we don’t feel it since we’ve always found new things to love about each other. Okay, so he won’t wear his Tux on our big night. In fact, he may not even change into clean jeans. He might even fall asleep while I’m tossing the salad.

None of it will negate the way we feel about each other after all these years. Those feelings are still as young as first love. What we have may not be as fresh or as filled with dreams as when we walked down the aisle a quarter of a century ago, but some of it might surface with good wine, candles and slow dancing.

We will do the dance before his bad knee begins to give out and my bad back steals the slow shuffle from our anniversary waltz.