My Sweet Al said to me, “If you go to a dance with an ugly man, you still get to dance.”
“Where did that come from? What is that about?”
Who is this man I married? I have been reading the predictably unpredictable mind of my Sweet Al for 58 years. I thought I knew the mind of this man, but I seem to be changing mine as I try to read his.
I like predictability. Summer is predictable. Its starts the same way each year and follows the same path. A trip to the town diamonds and you’ll hear the crack of a bat as the softball league starts in full swing. This is also the time of year when we get to enjoy visits from family and friends who travel from different states.
As with last summer, I finished writing my second book, “Heart Bender’s Secret,” in a four-book collection, “Sangre de Cristo Mountains Series.” The long summer days were the perfect setting to write, re-write, edit and re-edit. With the hit of “send,” I made my July deadline to the publisher. And just like clockwork, book three will take shelf in the summer of 2019.
Long-time friends Maynard and Gloria Doolittle from Arizona came for a visit. Friends for over 45 years, they are a staple of our summer fun. Even if our hair color has changed and our pace is slowing down, our time together is the same. We laugh and reminisce, and always order Gloria an extra bowl of salsa. If we don’t, she will surely eat everyone else’s.
Picture a Norman Rockwell illustration. Never meeting a stranger, everybody’s grandparents, Maynard and Gloria are the perfect characters for the front cover of “The Saturday Evening Post.”
We planned a road trip to the sand dunes with our Arizona guests. I expected Maynard and Sweet Al to sit in the front seat without a word between them. Meanwhile, Gloria and I talk until we run out of things to say or fall asleep. It’s how our friendship has always been and we like it that way.
This trip was different. Before we even stepped into the car, Al was off and running with a catalog of stories. From the driveway, down the road and over Wolf Creek Pass, we listened to Al tell one story after another. Even at the end of the day, he was still talking.
I said to our friends, “Who is this man I married? Have you ever known my Sweet Al to talk so much? He’s always been a man of few words. His words are like gold to me. But these stories now seem to be happening all the time and they are getting longer.”
We left Maynard and Gloria in town and headed home. “Al, you did all the talking. You didn’t even give poor Maynard a chance to speak up. You could have asked him what was new in his world, or have him tell you about his new car.”
Al said that his doctor had upped his “brain medicine” and that he was thinking about upping it again. I suddenly realized why the change in my Sweet Al. Do I say no to having his medicine increased, or do I embrace this unlocking of his mind?
Not only is he more engaged during the day, his dreams are becoming more and more vivid. Every morning, he wakes up and tells me one never-ending story after another. They are usually about selling someone an insurance policy or running down the street to meet another client.
Summer for me has always been a time when I move in and around the days like clockwork. But as we round off the summer months, I’m left wondering what has changed. Suddenly, I find my Sweet Al, a man of few words, a man who won’t quit talking.
Final brushstroke: Time has a way of making us change how we think — and listen. It can open us up to conversations we may have otherwise missed out on. As my Sweet Al revs up his storytelling, I seem to be running out of things to say. Do I need to start taking Al’s brain pill or has he found his new purpose as an author and writer?
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