Joe and Irv are business partners. They make a deal that whichever one dies first will contact the living one from the afterlife. So Irv dies. Joe doesn’t hear from him for about a year, figures there is no afterlife. Then one day he gets a call. It’s Irv. ‘So there is an afterlife! What’s it like?’ Joe asks. ‘Well, I sleep very late. I get up, have a big breakfast. Then I have sex, lots of sex. Then I go back to sleep, but I get up for lunch, have a big lunch. Have some more sex, take a nap. Huge dinner. More sex. Go to sleep and wake up the next day.’ ‘Oh, my God,’ says Joe says. “So that’s what heaven is like?’ ‘Oh no,’ says Irv. ‘I’m not in heaven. I’m a bear in Yellowstone Park.’
Grandma and Grandpa lived next to Minnie and Amalie in Austin, Texas. Minnie and Amalie had immigrated from Mexico fairly recently and spoke very little English, but that didn’t hamper their friendship. Grandma and Minnie had coffee every morning, chatting over recipes, patterns, housework, and their shared garden plot.. It didn’t matter that Grandma spoke not a word of Spanish and Minnie knew little English. They’d check out each other’s tomatoes, peppers, and flowers, chattering like nobody’s business. Though I was a small child when we visited there, I remember fondly that Minnie trusted me push her pretty, black-eyed baby around the yard in her stroller.I was so proud to be a big girl.
Sometimes I followeed Grandpa and Amalie around as they smoked hand-rollled cigarettes and worked at some project in the yard or dug in the garden. One day they made me a chair by nailing two apple crates end-to-end. I sat in that chair as long as I could squeeze into it. I learned my first Spanish when Amalie hammered his finger and cursed in Spanish. Though I didn’t know Spanish, cursing in any language is cursing. I admired cursing and was always on the alert for a tasty tidbit, since I didn’t get to hear it at home.
I was intrigued at hearing Minnie and Amalie talk, my introduction to a foreign language. I’d jabber along, thinking, I was speaking Spanish, stopping periodically to ask Grandma or Minnie to interpret what I’d said for me.I wish we all got on with our neighbors so well. We shared a lovely meal of Grandma’s greens, pork chops and cornbread and Minnes’s tamales and beans one special evening. I didn’t care much for the greens, but I’ll never forget the bite of Minnie’s spicy tortillas.
I love this story I got from a guy who is nice enough to comment on my writing from time to time. He is always telling me what a wonderful woman his wife is and how lucky he is to have found her. In fact, I think he described it as “lucky as a dog with two dicks. I couldn’t speak from experience for obvious reasons, but he certainly sounds happy.
Me: How did you meet her?
Him: I met my wife at my local bar and she was sitting with some mutual friends I knew. I was working on several big projects at the steel plant and was getting behind on my house work and gardening so she offered her services. The house was spotless. My clothes ironed and folded and she even put a little garden in the back yard along with flowers along the driveway. I worked 11 months without a day off then finally got 2 weeks off at Christmas. I thanked her for her services and gave her a nice going away bonus. She asked what I was doing for the holidays and I said just taking a long deserved break alone. Why don’t we spend Christmas together she said and the next day she brought some clothes over along with her bird Joey and her little dog Amie. The next two weeks were magic and her spell has never worn off. I had given up on ever being happy again and had buried myself in work. What a fool I was. I didn’t want love but love found me.
Me: You were lucky to find each other.
Him: Luckier than a dog with two dicks! Were going out dancing today and I wish you could be there to meet us and have some fun. I just wanted to share that my favorite song Higher and Higher is on YouTube and the video is of Fred Astaire and partner dancing to it. It’s great fun and wish you would watch it and think of me!
Me: That sounds really lucky. Tell me about her
Him: My wife is Marie and she comes from a large family of German/Russian descent from Regina Saskatchewan western Canada.She married young and moved to Calgary Alberta and had four kids in a row. Her first husband drank himself to death at 34 years old. She then met a man I knew from Sault Ste. Marie and they moved back here. From what little I know he drank and abused her till she’d had enough and left him. She managed a large motel when I met her and lived just around the corner from me. She keeps in great shape exercising and loves reading novels. Summertime she’s out in the garden and we have lots of preserves come fall. I know you would love her for she’s kind and friendly and likes a few beer and good company. I have a funny story about meeting her mother if you want to hear it?
Me: I’d love to hear that one.
Him: We went out west to visit my wifes’ family after we got married and the first night in Regina we spent at her Mothers’ place. Her Mom was leery about me and a little cold but polite. My wife was tired so went to bed and left me and Mom to talk. I got us a couple of beers and she showed me her picture albums of the family. There were old pictures of a little girl with a dog or sitting on a pony. I’d ask is that little girl you Grandma and she yelled don’t call me granma and I laughed. Another picture of a little girl and I asked the same question and the madder she got. Finally I asked if she would like another beer Grandma and this time she smiled and politely said yes, thanks son and we were pals after that. I loved all her family and they accepted me and loved me as there own.
Me: I like the way Grandma thinks.
This is one of the best love stories I’ve heard in a long time. It has all the essentials, housework, bars, Fred Astaire, And a beer-swigging granny. I’d love to know this guy and his sweetie.
A card and poem from Mother.
Finding True Love is hard to do.
Looking for one, forever true.
Resigned to a life, always alone.
Thinking my heart would never find home.
Not looking for love, love found me.
I am glad for friends with flaws, not like psychopathic tendencies, larcenous habits, cruel or critical behavior, but flaws that make them empathetic. It’s good to examine without fear of judgment, not seeking approval, but concern. Many times I’ve thought, “How could have I have done, said, or acted so badly? Had I not had someone I could trust, I might have buried that shame, fear, or secret where it would grow like a cancer. Sharing with a trusted friend gives perspective. An acknowledged problem is a starting place.
I am most at home in my kitchen surrounded by few of my most-loved and well-used things. As soon as I expect company, the tea-kettle and coffee-maker, both gifts from my daughter, are notified. As water boils in my ancient copper tea-kettle, I grind coffee beans in the battered coffee-mill. Soon tea steeps in the butterfly teapot a sister gave me while I fill my polka-dot chicken creamer and sugar bowl. A plate of cookies, snacks or hot biscuits and a few flowers from my yard brighten the home-crafted drop leaf table my husband built. The tiny table-topper cloth came to me from another sister. Although in the past, I prided myself on newer things, these old favorites warm my heart today and say “Welcome, Friend” like nothing else.
“Come on in and sit awhile.”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Home Turf.”
My mother’s good friend Betty brought her new baby to church for the first time. Mother rushed over to her friend, all prepared to gush over the little guy. Betty had him wrapped in a beautifully crocheted shawl. Flipping back the blanket, she revealed the homeliest, poor little guy Mother had seen in quiet a while Shocked, Mother stammered, trying to remember the compliment she’d had at the ready before seeing him. “Oh, oh! It’s a baby, isn’t it!”
My sister Phyllis is seating holding my squalling sister, Connie. I am the beautifully groomed girl standing in the back row. Mother made me wear that skirt and pink blouse I had just gotten that day for Christmas. She made them. The top button was the only one left by the time this picture was made. The hem was ripped out of the skirt. That’s what happens when you play football in a dress.
Me and my cousin Cathy. I was the tall kid.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of cousins, more than forty on my father’s side of the family. Some of them were great friends and partners in crime, some were object lessons, preparing me for life, and many are great fodder for my storytelling. I am grateful for all of them. There were always plenty for two ball teams. The little ones made great bases!
There were five of us born about a year apart, three girls and two boys, my first friends. We played, fought, and grew up together. I often spent the night with Sue or Cathy. It was common for our families to visit on Saturdays and again on Sunday, so there was lots of kid-swapping. We loved it. More often than not, it was late when we collapsed and ending sleeping in our clothes on pallets on the floor.
Of course, as we grew up and started families, we drifted apart, occasionally meeting at a family gathering, where we’d catch up a bit, making fruitless plans to get together. The old feelings were there, just put on a shelf.
Now that we are older, we are starting to rekindle our relationships. It is lovely.