Getting Honest

I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, black leather pappa chair in my living room, telling myself to relax and remember the advice Big Louie, his own bad self always gives to members of the Louie-Louie generation in a situation like what happened today. He always says…” There’s no use beating a dead horse over spilt milk.” Actually…putting a positive spin on it, you could say I used my head today. Unfortunately it was the mouth part of my head instead of what’s left of the part that used to be called my brain. 


It happened in the car with my Lady Wonder Wench. Lots of nice things have happened to me in cars with my Lady Wonder Wench over the years. This wasn’t one of them. I try hard to be a good guy, but today for some reason, I made the mistake of being myself instead. I guess there’s a fine line between trying to be a saint and becoming a maniac.


We were driving into a MacDonalds for a Big Mac, which as you know is an advanced cholesterol delivery system based on a complex formula that’s years ahead of anything the Iranian bomber scientists will be able to devise for years. But I was hungry, and I was in a hurry. And it was the end of the day. And I was tired. You understand. All the usual excuses.


Now, to fully understand what happened, you’ll have to remember that my Lady Wonder Wench was in a serious accident last year, which understandably left her a little nervous, especially when I’m driving. Which I was.


She had been giving me little helpful driving hints all day today. Things like “why did you turn here instead of at the next light,” “Look how fast you’re going.” And, “Are you sure you know where we are?”  I have explained to Lady Wonder Wench that a stop sign is really a reminder to look both ways before you cross an intersection. And if you have done that, and are pretty sure that the nearest car to the left has just crossed the state line, and the nearest car to the right is still coming off the assembly line, it’s ok to just slow down. You don’t have to waste the brakes, which you certainly will do…especially since you’ve noticed that you may have just broken the township speed record during your careful drive down the block.


I got two emails this week that put that dumb thing I did into an interesting perspective. One was from Proud Podcast Participant Jeff B. It says in part, “I have a challenge for you. I know you’re about my age, and may be experiencing similar age related issues. While I smile when I hear about unbuttoning someone’s blouse and caressing their cheeks, after thirty years of marriage things change. Sex is now secondary to a good bowel movement. Erections are dependent upon the effects of medicine. Last night I came home to find my wife on the couch with the cat sleeping on her. If I dared kiss her, I would get, “you woke me up, get out of my face. How about talking about thoughts like I have when I fall asleep…like wondering where the past 30 years went, and how I’m thankful every day with my love, knowing that friends my age have passed away, or lost their partners. Giving thanks for having such a supportive and loving friend every day to have coffee with.”


The other email…I simply can’t read to you because it chokes me up too much. It’s from a buddy by the name of Jack, who I’ve known for about 30 years…We worked at a radio station back then… when he married the girl he was nuts in love with for those 30 years. The email basically said…she passed away last night.


I like to kid you about the Louie-Louie Generation. Big Louie, his own bad self always says, “Monkeys gibber, lions roar, and people preach. Don’t do that.” So I won’t.


 But here are some questions that Jeff’s note suggests. When’s the last time you actually tried un-buttoning her blouse ? Have you been caressing her cheek lately ?Are you taking care of your viagral parts…exercise, good diet…enough rest…medicine if you need it? All that stuff.  Have you got the guts to stop words like “you woke me up, get out of my face” by giving her a big, long, nasty kiss like you did 30 years ago ? When you have your cup of coffee together, do you hold her hand so she can’t slug you, and look down her blouse while you un-button it ? And then do you have a good laugh together…in bed ?


My buddy Jack can’t ever do that again.


As far as you Louie-Louie Generation ladies are concerned, you may want to give a listen to the current podcast for a story in the Night Connections personal audio cd. It’s called the Slip Away Wife. It’s about how quickly our lives slip away.


If you like it, you can just keep the podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just go back to the home page and download it from the icon on the first page.


There’s no question that Louie-Louie Generation guys like me aren’t hip any more. We are more like knee caps…because we’ve done so many things for which we should be down on our knees begging for forgiveness. But we still hope we’ll eventually get smarter, and things will get better, because we’ve seen worse.


I almost lost my Lady Wonder Wench in an accident just about this time last year. And I keep telling you how beautiful she is, and how lucky I am to have her in my life. But Jeff’s note put me on notice to be very honest with you. I get tired, and cranky, and short tempered like anybody else. Her road to recovery is going well, but it has been very long, and it still has a few blocks to go.


One of the problems that came from the accident is that she gets scared pretty easily. I’ve told her that any time that happens, come and grab my hand, and you’ll feel safe. It works most of the time. It didn’t today…because I only used the mouth part of my head instead of the brain.


She thought I missed an on coming car a little too close, and she yelled…and instead of taking her hand, I said something…less loving than the kind of thing a guy should say to his girlfriend. And I think it cut kind of deep.


It wasn’t a terrible thing I said. But as soon as I said it, I wanted to take it back. And I did. And after a while she was holding my hand again. So I got lucky this time. Some guys don’t get a second chance anymore.


Like my buddy Jack.

2 Responses to “Getting Honest”

  1. Jack Marshall says:

    I never got to finish with my first chance. 38 years weren’t nearly enough time to do all that I had wanted. But the biggest thing that I am thankful for is that we really left nothing unsaid. Our birthday and Christmas banter would sound like a Hallmark card.

    One thing that I learned at the services for her this week was just how much she was loved. Judy worked for a private investment banker and would bid on financing large equipment purchases for municipalities. She worked with every department in the cities and towns but her specialty was fire equipment. There was an amazing representation of fire chiefs (past and present) at the services. Over and over, I kept hearing the same refrain from these wonderful people – that Judy was a wonderful person who worked her tail off for the fire chiefs both doing the deals so they could get the equipment and giving of herself to work for their causes.

    I received two condolences from fire chiefs that put everything she did in a whole new light for me. One put it like this: “Thank you Judy for all you did to make this world a better place.” But the one that really blew me away was from a retired chief who wrote: “Please take comfort in knowing that hundreds of thousands of of people were made safer because of Judy’s work. That is a legacy that you can be proud of.” That really hit home.

    She made me so proud even in death. I do not regret a single minute. I know full well how fortunate I have been the past 38 years. And now I come back to earth a sadder but wiser person. She taught me nearly everything I know… except how to handle losing her.

    I will go on and get through it and I will emerge okay. But I will never be the same again.


    P.S. Oh, by the way, Dick… There was one thing that I neglected to tell you in my email. My wife adored you. She could sit and listen to you for hours and if you remember back then, she often did as you recorded for the weekend. You yourself evoke great memories of Judy in me and you weren’t even aware. You never know when you might have a lifelong effect on someone.

  2. Betsy Kemp says:


    I really enjoyed reading about your wife. She must have been an amazing person and yes, what a legacy she left. I’m so sorry for your loss. Betsy