Posted on 12.16.13 on the other blog...
Yesterday was a particularly difficult day . Acknowledging condolences, piles of paperwork, digging through personal archaeology were all contributing factors to the extra melancholy. Thanks to both my sons for rescuing the day. Jake came by midmorning and they needed feeding so I made a hearty soup and biscuits and when Colin returned from the Laundromat they took the dead clothes dryer up to the street (where it was grabbed up by scrappers in minutes!) and hooked up a used but working one that Jake had in storage under the house. Needful, useful things to deal with, pass the time and remember. I'm better today.
When Jimmy and I were first married, like many newlyweds, we were p-o-o-r. A week with Swiss to go on the baloney sandwiches was a really good one. That first year together we waited until 7 or 8 on Christmas eve to go the tree lot and see what was left. (We both came from family traditions of not putting up or decorating a tree until Christmas Eve.) You knew you were grown up when Mom let you help decorate.
The lot was closed and line of scraggly, forlorn-looking leftover trees leaned up against the front of the hardware store where a hand-lettered sign said "FREE". We had been ready to pay a whole five dollars!
(This picture was taken years later when I always had to restrain him from getting a tree that was taller than I could reach the top of since decorating was my assignment.)
We stuffed the Charlie Brown Christmas tree through one window on the Dart and pulled it out through the opposite door when we got back to our first apartment together at Skyview Cottages in Mohegan Lake, NY. The place was so small we had to set the tree up in a corner of the kitchen and block it off with the two chairs to keep Shag from knocking it over (again).
We had been living together since July and never discussed getting married. He told me he bought the ring in the fall and unwrapped it to show his sisters and Mom several times. I had no clue. When I dumped out my Christmas stocking, stuck in the bottom was a little plastic turtle with a diamond ring tied around its neck with a pink ribbon. I looked at it and didn't get what it meant. Then he went all formal on me and cleared up my confusion, but not my amazement. He was just twenty, I was twenty-six.
Here we are at my family's house later that day showing off my ring and making our wild intentions known.