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Reflections March 2013

Agelessly Yours

From Riches to Rags

By Karen White-Walker

Now the only time he hints at even wearing a grin is when he's maybe having a gas pain, and as for winking, he says, "That's just an introduction, a prelude for something more, and who in the hell has the strength nowadays?"

He'd been wearing the same stinkin' shirt and pants now for three days and just when he was reaching again for the same old grubby heap, I softly suggested that he should wear something fresh for a change. Okay, maybe I didn't say it softly — more like, "If you wear those smelly rags again, you should be declared a national health hazard to all those who may come within sniffing distance of you," I yelled, with my eyes bulging out of my head, so he claims.

I tell you, this isn't the same meticulous man I married who, at one time, wouldn't be seen leaving the house without a crisp shirt, perfectly pressed pants and maybe a swanky blazer to set it all off. "For Pete's sakes, we're only going to the grocery store and post office," I complained. "You make me look like a slob with my sweat suit and sneakers."

I'd like to believe that he said something like, "As long as you're comfortable, beautiful, what difference does it make?" But if memory serves me correctly, and thank God it still does, he definitely said, "Could you maybe keep a little distance from me so that people won't link us together? Three aisles away should do it."

The only reason I wasn't crushed and didn't cry right there out in public is because he smiled and winked when he said it. A marriage can get a lot of mileage out of just a wink and a smile. Now the only time he hints at even wearing a grin is when he's maybe having a gas pain, and as for winking, he says, "That's just an introduction, a prelude for something more, and who in the hell has the strength nowadays?"

Of course we still share very bearable moments together or else what's the point of even being together? "Financially we can't afford to separate," he'll remind me, but the one reason I didn't cry right there in front of him is because I'm almost certain that he's never once contacted a lawyer to draw up the papers. That's because it would entail picking up the phone and the man has a real aversion for talking on the phone. It can be inches from his ear and if it rings and I'm “miles away,” he'll yell out, "The phone's ringing, you're going to get it, aren't you?"

Of course I want to get the cord and wrap it around his neck – tightly, but get this, I still want the big lug around the house with me. He plays a wicked game of cribbage while we whittle away the hours on a wintry afternoon. We play for money, but neither one of us ever pays up because we might need our hidden slush fund for something important. I'm hoping he'll buy himself a new set of clothes — shirts that maybe are treated with silicone so that sweat and grime just rolls off instead of penetrating into the flannel. Of course he showers, shaves and uses deodorant, or else I would be the one contacting a lawyer.

As I watch this once-burly man who is being robbed of his physical strength, open up a jar of pickles with just one twist of his wrist, I think for just one moment, hey, what do you know, this guy still has it. And for that moment, all is right with this marriage. As for the NEXT moment when we're pecking at one another like chickens who won't be satisfied until they're drawing blood, I'm wondering if I could live without cribbage, and just how important is a lousy jar of pickles anyway?

These are questions I never really want to answer.

 

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