The Dick Summer Connection – Chapter 25

My first girlfriend’s name was Margaret. She died Wednesday and I was going to cancel this blog, because I never got over loving her, and I’m not thinking very clearly right now. But she expected better things of the men in her life. Her name was Margaret. She was directly responsible for getting me drunk at a very early age. She was a beautiful blue eyed blonde. And a much older woman. She was my aunt. My mom’s kid sister.When I was about five years old, she married one of the world’s nicest guys. His name was Jim. When I was 5, I had just discovered olives. I loved olives. So did my 6-year-old cousin Herb. So Herb and I spent most of Margaret and Jim’s wedding reception sneaking the olives out of those funny glasses all the grownups had by their plates. I don’t remember exactly how the reception ended. But I dimly recall that my dad was laughing a lot as he carried me out to the car.Margaret knew I had a crush on her, and she cruelly fed my childish infatuation with milk, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and stories. Mom and Margaret both loved poetry and music. I told you that my mother read me poems, and my dad would read me stories when they put me to sleep. And when she came to visit, Margaret would always come into my room, give me a kiss, and a smile, and sing a little song. She had a high soft soprano voice.My Lady Wonder Wench and Margaret were good friends. Mom and her sisters and Wonder Wench were the only people in the world who were allowed to call Margaret “Margie.” Margaret had a wicked sense of humor, and she was anything but stuffy. But if you called her “Margie,” she would remind you in her firm but very ladylike way that “My name is Margaret.”

The women in my family are all that way. Strong, smart, self-reliant, accomplished people, who relish being treasured, protected, and loved by the men in their lives. That’s why Wonder Wench fits right in.

Women like that expect their men to be men. They give us plenty of room to be “guys.” But when there’s a job to be done, they expect us to get it done.

The job today was awful. But I’m proud to tell you that we made it. My cousin Hans the hard boiled criminal lawyer with the black belt in Karate, my cousin Andy the U.S. Marine Bird Colonel, and me too, with Wonder Wench by my side. We managed to lay my first girlfriend to rest. But all we really had to do was stand there looking as manly as possible under the circumstances, and pretend those weren’t tears pouring down our cheeks and getting our shirt collars soaking wet. It was up to Father Damian, the priest who officiated at Margaret’s funeral, to set an example of exactly what it is to be a man. He’s my cousin too. And it was his job to say out loud the words that were slamming around in our heads. And he didn’t let her down. He stood there with his head bowed, and just a small shake in his voice, and he said them…right out loud: “Rest in peace forever, Mom…right here next to Dad.”

And that’s why this blog got done. My first girlfriend expected it of me.

Her name was Margaret.

This week’s PodProgram is done too.

It’s about Christmas.

Merry Christmas.







2 Responses to “The Dick Summer Connection – Chapter 25”

  1. Ed Cochran says:

    Sympathies, friend. Beautiful tribute.

    Merry Christmas.


  2. Bob says:

    Greetings Dick
    My deepest symapthies for your loss. August 18th 2005, I laid to rest my best friend, my dad, and as you so wonderfully put it, I too had to stand there as the Navy chaplin said what needed to be said and as Taps were sounded the tears flowed albeit siently, but they were there. Why is it men are expected to be both strong and at the same time sensitive? My prayers go out to you and your family.
    Merry Christmas my friend (apologies for the lateness)