This is a delayed blog entry, I know. Sorry about that. Have been busy on my days off with routine medical tests and getting ready to visit my daughter and her family in California. (Most important to arrange for my lovely cat, Mr. Magoo, to be fed while I'm gone!)
But also feeling a bit guilty about my REALLY negative last blog entry, AARGH! So I thought I'd focus this time on good stuff, sweet things, unexpectedly delightful and amusing things, etc. Incidents of kindness, thoughtfulness, uncalled-for but lovely behavior and goofy moments!.
A recent incident immediately came to mind. I had a movie date with a friend---very much younger than I---a talented professional actress and a delightful companion. We were having a late lunch, before the movie, in a nearby casual restaurant. As is our wont (I was only an amateur actress in my youth, but I definitely have learned to be a "drama queen"!), we were having a very lively conversation, with much exaggerated emotion and laughter.
At a table near us sat a couple of young men (her age, I should guess---certainly not MINE!). They got up to leave. As they passed our table, they turned to us and one of them said, with a hopeful note in his voice, "Are either of you ladies unattached?"
She answered, "Sorry, I'm seeing someone."
I answered, "I'm old enough to be your Mom, dear. But thank you SO much!"
I grinned at that unexpected affirmation of my "female-hood" for the rest of the day!
Children provide so many sweet "Aw shucks" moments of laughter and joy. A favorite story of mine concerns one of my grandsons when he was just a little boy. (Maybe 3?) The family had a cat named Norman, usually called Normie. (Just recently put down after many years, alas---and sorely missed.) My grandson loved to lie down on the floor next to Norman, spread out beside him, and put his head on the cat's belly to listen to him purr. On this particular day, he suddenly lifted his head from the cat's body and looked at us with dismay on his face.
"What's the matter?" we asked.
I thought he'd burst into tears. "Normie is EMPTY!" he cried.
Another delightful children's story goes back many years.
I know I've mentioned that my husband was drafted during the Korean War and was sent to
Germany right after our honeymoon. Not wanting to stay home for two years with my parents while he was in service, I followed him to Germany.
Since he was only a private, we couldn't live on the post, but lived "on the economy", as it was called. We lived with German families.
We rented a furnished room in a lovely old brownstone (in Bad Nauheim, a hospital town that had been untouched during the war). We shared the kitchen and bathroom with our landladies, an elderly grandmother, her daughter, and her two young children. The little girl was barely a year old. The boy perhaps 2 and a half or so. There was no man present. The children's father, we were led to believe, was an American GI who had abandoned his family. Thus, the little boy had had little contact with males. And the women had felt the need to rent out the room to make ends meet. (The house was owned by a doctor, a relative, and our landladies rented the third floor, where we all lived, from him.)
My husband was in the habit of coming home from the army post at 6 or so and hopping into the shower. The bathroom door had two small holes drilled near the bottom for ventilation.
One evening, busy preparing supper as my husband showered, I passed the bathroom door on my way to the kitchen. I saw the little boy on his stomach, his face pressed up against the bathroom door, his eye against one hole. Just then, his mother came into the hallway and spoke to him. He jumped to his feet. (She probably said, "What are you doing?" My German, at that point, was not very good!)
Then my husband came out from his shower, a towel wrapped around his waist. The little boy ran to him, pounded on his hand, and cried out something in German, barely able to contain his excitement.
His mother turned red. When we pressed her on what the child had said to my husband, she reluctantly confessed that what he'd said was, "Show it to Mama!!!"
One more "kid" memory: When she was probably 9 or 10, my daughter had read an article that said that children needed at least 12 hugs a day to be okay. So, in the middle of whatever I was doing, she would come up to me, tap me on the arm, and announce, "I NEED it!" (Of course she got her hug at once!) It became a longstanding joke between us. Even now, many years later, if one of us is mildly down, the other will ask, "Do you NEED it?"
Another delightful memory. My husband and I were celebrating a wedding anniversary. We lived in a New York suburb, but Manhattan was always a treat. So I picked him up at his job (he was an assistant district attorney in our borough at the time) and we drove into the city. We wandered around in Greenwich Village until we saw what looked like a charming Italian restaurant. It seemed like the perfect place to splurge on our anniversary.
It turns out, the place had just opened, and we were among its first customers. It was a lovely early summer evening and they had a sweet outdoor garden in the back, so we decided to eat there. We were the only ones in the garden.
For the restaurant and the people who worked there, it was clearly VERY new and exciting. Our waiter (who turned out to be the nephew of the cook, and the owner) had never opened a champagne bottle before. (My husband had to sort of show him how to do it.) And when the cork popped and flew to the other side of the garden, the young man retrieved it and asked us to allow him to keep it as HIS souvenir of his first bottle!
But the clincher came later on in the evening. The food had been delicious, the portions generous, with far more on our plates than we could handle by the time we came to the last course. The waiter took our plates away, at our direction, still half filled.
Instantly, an irate, heavy-set Italian woman came storming out of the kitchen, shaking a large serving spoon in our direction.
"Whatsa matter with the food?" she cried in an aggrieved voice.
We had to reassure her that her cooking was delicious, but that we simply couldn't eat another mouthful! She was mollified, and we even got hugs before we left.
But surely it was one of our more memorable anniversaries!
Another silly story from our Germany days. I had become pregnant. At the same time, my husband had taken up cigar smoking. (Don't get into a Politically Correct snit, people. In those days, smoking was normal. I smoked cigarettes through several of my pregnancies, and drank wine also, and it was considered normal---and my kids turned out fine!) But cigar smoking was a different story, since many pregnant women found the smell of cigar smoke nauseating. So when family and friends learned that he had started on cigars, they were semi-scandalized. How could he do it?
The story behind it is delightful. It was January in Germany. For two weeks, the temperature had dropped to below zero, a very unusual occurrence. A few days were as low as 15 degrees below. The pipes froze in our little rented apartment (my husband had been transferred to a different city, and we had a small space with our own kitchen and a bathroom that we shared with another GI couple). We had to lug in pails of water from the next door neighbor.At least I did---pregnant belly and all.
My husband, on the other hand, was out in the field on maneuvers. Sleeping in tents in sleeping bags, and mostly freezing! One evening, he was assigned guard duty. After his hours of standing in the cold, he headed for the large tent where the troops gathered. There was a pot-bellied stove in there, and he was looking forward to warming up.
Alas! The tent was so crowded that he couldn't get anywhere near the stove. Just then, a buddy held out a cigar and asked, "Want it?" My husband realized it would be warm in his hands, so he took it! And that's how he got to smoking cigars. No insult to my condition intended, as some of our friends suspected!
And talking of natural occurrences, like weather, one more anecdote. Comes from my work in the bridal salon. Sometimes, when the bride is climbing into a dress, she needs my help to support her. I stand behind her and put my hands around her waist to keep her steady. Sometimes, if her balance is not strong, we wobble together. A couple of years ago, in the summer, the bride and I wobbled a great deal. I didn't think anything of it, only that her balance was really not very good.
Then we walked out of the dressing room to her waiting mother. Much to our surprise, the woman was pale-faced and looking very disturbed. "What is it?" I asked. "Did you feel the earthquake?" she said. "WHAT earthquake?" we asked.
Seems there was a mild earthquake a couple of years ago here on the East Coast. But we had been wobbling at the EXACT moment of the quake, and didn't know it!
We all had a delightful laugh about it.
So what's the Life Lesson here? Maybe it's this:
Often, we realize in retrospect that bits and pieces of our days have unexpectedly produced happiness and joy and laughter. And especially when we forget to consciously try to be "happy", which too many people seem to think they must concentrate on.