Journal of a Living Lady #324
Nancy White Kelly
Nancy White Kelly
In our 43 years of marriage, Buddy has changed from a shy Mississippi country boy to a non-stop comedian. It was his dry wit that drew me initially. Now his wit is not so subtle. Sometimes I approve. Often I don’t, but I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
Like on Mother’s Day. Just before the morning service, the pastor was politely greeting little ole ladies while standing on the floor in front of the platform. Suddenly Buddy snatched my fancy hat and put it on his own head. Up he jumped from the pew and headed down the center aisle. In front of God and everybody, he bear-hugged the surprised preacher.
Buddy has never been a respecter of persons. Family lineage or community status doesn’t impress him a bit. He is what he is and assumes everybody else was born on flat land too. I have always admired that quality in him.
There is a twelve year difference in our ages. Buddy graduated from high school when I was in first grade. When he asked me to marry him, I insisted that he pay the obligatory visit to my parents to ask for my hand. Poor fellow. My mother put him through the third degree and was highly skeptical that he had been married before. He hadn’t. It just took a long time to find me.
There are advantages and disadvantages to marrying an older man. He was mature, had his education behind him, and was employed with a secure company or so we thought. Eastern Airlines later bit the dust. Still Buddy had accumulated wisdom and life experience that is atypical of newlyweds.
Buddy grew up in a three-room house. Utility, not beauty, was priority. He never out-grew that idea. About half-way through our marriage, I gave in. Having a house decorated like those in the glossy magazines wasn’t going to happen with my man around.
Yes, he is forgetful. He feigns senility at times just to aggravate me. No, he doesn’t hear well. How could he? Three sets of hearing aids sit in the top drawer of the bureau. He ought to own stock in Metamucil.
At last count Buddy had nine pairs of pants and fourteen shirts. Yet he wears the same outfit day in and day out. That is, if he gets by me in the morning. Sunday is an exception. No matter how early we rise, Buddy waits until the last possible minute to decide which of two suits to wear and can never remember which tie matches.
I remind him occasionally that he won’t find another woman who would put up with nails in the bedroom furniture so he can hang his keys, but it is a small price to pay for a good man. How many young men get up first, make the coffee, get the morning paper and then gently awakens his wife? Now that I am retired again, he has resumed that daily habit and I hope he never stops.
It never dawns on him to open a door or pull out a chair for his wife, but Buddy would search the world for me if I disappeared. His grammar lacks polish, but he never fails to unashamedly say he loves me or show it in hundreds of little ways.
Our wedding picture looks nothing like either of us now. We are held together by an accumulation of spare parts: nuts, bolts, wire, cat gut, mercury fillings, titanium and plastic. We have shared memories that nobody else has and neither of us is complete without the other.
When I look around and see my friends who are now widows, Buddy’s imperfections fade into oblivion. The calendar is moving swiftly and the clock is ticking. I treasure every day with him. It is a selfish wish for certain, but I secretly hope I go first. That may not be. He has my permission to re-marry, but he won’t. Neither will I.
Age aside, love like ours is a once-in-a-lifetime affair.