One night this past week, Hubby and I couldn’t stop laughing. The chuckles and giggles erupted over something ridiculous, the details of which I cannot begin to remember. But that’s not important! Gar’s goodnight comment, still laced with laughter, is what I’ll never forget. He rhetorically asked, “Who would ever know that living with someone could be so much fun?”
Now this observation delighted me because he said it after 40 years of marriage to ME. You see, I am NOT the easiest person to spend a lifetime with, let alone all eternity. I’m not saying he’s the easiest man to live with either, but there is NO ONE I’d rather laugh, cry, or argue disagree with. The miracle of our marriage is that we have grown to love each other for the people we really are – not the IMAGE of our dream mate or the spouse we THOUGHT married.
I adore Gary – my nit-picky, occasionally grumpy, chronic teaser of a husband! Over four decades I’ve learned to appreciate his many, many strengths and to either ignore his idiosyncrasies or snicker at them. I’m not going to dwell on his oddities, but I have to share a couple of them.
Unlike many males, Gar picks up after himself and anybody else who happens to live under our roof. I’m not saying he tidies up after us with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, but these days he tries not to growl too loudly. He’s also a great multi-tasker. If he comes home early, for instance, he’ll have the wash nearly finished, the lawn mowed, and dinner started before I arrive home. If I get home early, I’ll get my clothes changed before he shows up. Hmmmm.
I know many wives reading this post are thinking, “That’s NO oddity; that is SAINTLY.” But it can be annoying. Sometimes Many times, I drag home, ready to prop up my feet and just veg, but NOT Gar. He’s busy picking up or working in the yard, and so I can’t stretch out on the couch while he vacuums around me or lounge on the deck while watching him weed or plant yet another daylilly. So I sigh and pick up a dust cloth or a garden spade and drag my weary self through the motions of helping out.
There’s a particular cleaning situation, however, that I steer clear of. If the University of Utah and BYU are playing football against each other, and the Utes are playing poorly, Gar can’t suffer through intercepted passes or fumbled hand-offs. Because he is not able or allowed to run onto the field and ignite the offense or tighten up the defense, he grabs the vacuum and tears up and down the family room carpet. If the game doesn’t improve, the kitchen gets scoured, the floors scrubbed, and the garage organized. It’s quite amazing. Unfortunately, the red team didn’t throw many interceptions or fumble many handoffs last season, so the pre-holiday cleaning frenzy wasn’t what it used to be. (Go Cougs!)
Although my Gar is 60-something, I think he’s still afraid of the dark. He denies it, of course. But if you’ve ever visited our home in the evening, you may notice that little lights start twinkling from one end of the house to the other as darkness sets in. Nightlights line the hallway and the perimeters of every room. Of course our grown kids noticed the indoor landing lights and expressed curiosity about the type of aircraft expected to glide down our hallway.
A couple of Christmases ago, one of our daughters-in-law found the perfect gift for Gar – slippers with “toe-lights!” Seriously. But our son pooh-poohed the idea because he thought $39.95 was a little too much to pay for a gag-gift. I wish they had gone through with the purchase because I’m pretty sure his dad would have been thrilled. He LOVES slippers as well as lighted pathways.
Our grandchildren have also noticed that their grandpa is unique, if their titles for him are any indication of their observations. For example, my oldest son’s oldest daughter dubbed Gary BawCaw/Baca (not sure of the spelling). Upon hearing her refer to Grandpa by that dubious name, a nearby stranger commented upon the term by informing us that it means “crazy” in Japanese. A little further research indicates that Baca also means cowherd, mulberry tree, and misery. (By the way, it’s not listed among the 1000 most popular names between 1990 and 2003. Surprise.)
Our second son and his wife taught their children to call their grandpas by Papa, as in Papa Gary. I think that sounds quite cute. And while our third son and his wife encouraged their daughter to use “Grandpa Gary,” she came up with her own term of endearment: Cra-pa. (Say it fast for the total effect.) I thought it was pretty funny until yesterday when she called me Cra-ma.
So far this entry doesn’t sound much like a tribute, does it? Maybe a bit of a “roast?” (Thank heavens, Gary has a GREAT sense of humor!) Unfortunately, the post is growing in length, so I am going to “bullet” SOME of his MANY attributes, and later I’ll post pictures that share the rest of the story. First, the itemized list:
- He quietly worries about all his children and grandchildren; I don’t think they realize how much.
- He’s the first to ask, “Do you think we should send/give the kids a little something to help them through this tough time/to pay for their gas expenses/to celebrate their anniversary?
- Out of the blue, he’ll send Halloween cards to our faraway grandchildren because he misses them.
- Without an invitation or request, he’ll jump on a flight to a faraway state so he can help drive the moving truck to the next residence in another faraway state.
- He’ll load and unload moving trucks for any son if at all possible.
- He’ll paint walls, help build patio covers or fences, and plant a gazillion bushes, trees, and perenniels to make his wife or his sons’ wives a little happier.
- He’ll play lion or monster, tickle bug, or sports fan to satisfy the needs of a grandchild.
- He spends countless hours serving the Lord and NEVER complains about the time and energy it takes.
- His only hobbies are and have always been his family. His “boys’ night outs” were spent as Scoutmaster with his sons on campouts or coaching or watching their baseball/basketball games.
- He adores his mother-in-law and shows it.
- He is always trying to be a better husband, father, grandfather, church member, neighbor, and person.
- HE’D RATHER BE WITH ME THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
Gary isn’t the “Ward Cleaver” of Leave It to Beaver
nor the Archie Bunker of All in the Family …