Tales of the Quarter:
Love Is Everywhere
BY DEBBIE LINDSEY
What's not to love? Well…actually there is quite a lot out there that's not so lovable. War, pollution, neglect and abuse, insurance companies, wet toilet seats, people who smack while eating. Oh there's a near endless list of folks and things that exist just to work your very last nerve, taking your mind away from all that is worthy of your love and respect. And if you are having one of my days you will have to refrain from reaching into your medicine cabinet for your rose-colored glasses, found inside that little plastic amber bottle with the warnings printed on the back. Warning: If taken too long you may never know how to love your life again without this pill.
While sitting here trying to write a Valentine column of sorts, a pissy mood jumped line and found me before Cupid did. I feel no love for the ache in my back, the clock that allows time to pass too quickly, and my lack of talent for the written word. My little dog, blind and burdened with a damaged heart, has been pacing the floor barking off and on; and so I sit staring about our house just looking for trouble. And that's when I see my Valentines.
I am so self-absorbed at times that I over-look the love. It is everywhere. Still sleeping, snoring slightly, that lump under the covers loves me. Boyfriend—soul mate, best friend, lover, comrade-in-arms against the world, the elements. He loves me and that can't be an easy thing. And even better—I love him. Heck I even like him. So…maybe this morning I won't nag him about stuff. Rosie is still barking at the darkness and drilling me a whopper of a headache until I cut her some slack and pick her up. Holding her, rocking her was all in the world she needed. Curiously my headache leaves me almost as quickly as she falls asleep in my arms.
As I am held hostage by 14 pounds of Rosie snoozing and shedding enough hair to weave rugs for profit, I survey the rooms within my eyes' reach. My parents smile from framed memories, living forever in that parallel universe. For many years Mom would give me a Russell Stover heart shaped box of chocolates. Several photographs remind me that old boyfriends did the same. There are friends laughing and hamming it up as someone focused in on a moment, at the beach or a birthday party, said "smile" and clicked for posterity. I catch the eyes of several friends and myself all decked out, we really cleaned-up nicely. I remember the day: Hurricane George was due to hit and the big gala event we gussied up for was cancelled. But not us. We held our own. Never have we all looked so handsome. Smile, click, forever young!
My sister, Susan, is about 12 years old and holding my hand. We look happy with each other but I am sure I must have just picked my nose or something equally gross with the hand she'd like to pinch silly. We weren't terribly keen on each other; too many years apart, too different. But that was then. Next to that photo sits a gift, a book entitled "Sisters," which she gave me after Mom and Dad passed. Their illnesses and deaths brought us together and left us as sisters by choice. She's my best friend.
To the left more pictures document the many years worth of feline friends and canine companions; they all have taught me about love and loyalty. Some are sleeping near me right now, fidgeting slightly as they dream of endless bowls of food or chasing down the elusive cat next door that teases their curiosity.
Here and there former beaux and wives stay close to our hearts. And why not? I was blessed with sweethearts who, even after the romance failed, our friendships remained strong. And Boyfriend picked some truly great women to divorce and now I get them as friends. I cherish our failed romances because they led to us finding each other at an age when we can appreciate one another. Youth (and often romance) is wasted on the young.
Boyfriend's children and grandkids smile about our home and shop keeping him company between their visits. His daughters' photographs chronicle the innocence of childhood, the maddeningly yet beautifully independent teenage years, and finally adulthood. The grandkids will repeat these steps and more frames will be needed to hold their moments.
We save most every Christmas, birthday, sympathy and congratulations card we receive. For me they are all Valentines. Little bits of art and of poetry, words of consolation, praise, and humor—all making me feel loved, never forgotten. Valentine's Day arrives throughout the year from our customers, friends, family who deem of us worthy of their friendship or love. I can't speak for Boyfriend, but for me these tokens, these Hallmarks, stamped and inked with emotion make me proud.
The ache in my back remains; the mailbox outside is still receiving bills that outpace our income; and dirty clothes, dishes and dust seem to have doubled over night. But right now Rosie still sleeps peacefully in my arms and everywhere I look I feel the love. Happy Valentine's.