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Posts Tagged ‘love’

  1. Some Day Your Prince(ss) Will Come

    March 30, 2014 by Diane

    Romantic wedding of royal couple

    Once upon a time, back in the seventies, there was a television show called The Dating Game. If you never saw it, imagine this:

    The stage rotates to reveal three bachelors perched on tall stools, three men with long sideburns and bell bottom pants and button-down shirts with wide cuffs. A partition separates them from the bachelorette, sitting with her knees angled to one side as she reads questions from her carefully crafted list. Questions like: “If you were butter and I was corn, what would you do?” When the list is finished and the commercial is over she picks one of the dreamboats, usually the runt, the one who answered: “I’d slather myself all over you baby, until your kernels popped.” (Yikes.) Their prize? A weekend together in the Cayman Islands.

    With a chaperone.

    As they blow a kiss to the camera everyone in the viewing audience knows how this island adventure will end: as soon as the plane lands. Unless this particular odd couple beats the odds and falls in love, and the relationship lasts longer than the relationships of the current crop of reality show contestants.

    Today’s version of The Dating Game is The Bachelorette. Here’s the run-down:

    The female contestant scores a free wardrobe, a hair stylist, a makeup artist, and twenty-five Prince Charmings chauffeured to her high-heeled manicured feet. They bow, they fawn, they emit mating sounds and stake out their territories in kissing contests.

    Then she sends them packing, one by one. Eventually one remains, and that one–if all goes according to the viewing public’s ardent wishes–will labor down onto one knee and propose.

    Reality? Bah.

    You know better…ye who date. Reality is what happens when the cameras are gone and those all-expense paid getaways are over. You’ve seen that ex-bachelorette scouting for a new soul mate on The Has-Been Pad three months later.

    Still, the ABC version of reality looks pretty good from where you sit, holding grandma’s withered spotted hand as she dozes in the nursing home. It looks pretty good because you don’t want to end up in a nursing home on the other end of the hand-holding.

    Or worse yet, with no hand to hold.


  2. A Reason to Smile

    August 2, 2013 by Diane

    Medical record

    I spied Doctor Heckmann in the checkout line at Draeger’s Supermarket.

    He was the hematologist who doctored me over twenty years ago. He looks like David Letterman and sounds like Garrison Keillor minus the sense of humor. Not to say that he’s a dour fellow. He’s quiet and respectful and I remember he listened not only to my heart but to my soul, and his fingers, when he palpated my liver and spleen, were warm and gentle.

    I was sent to him because I had a high temperature and a horrible headache and the kind of fatigue that makes you feel like you’re Scrooge’s old pal Marley, the ghost in heavy chains who moaned and quivered and appeared cold and insubstantial. My medical team couldn’t determine what was wrong. My blood count was plummeting. My weight was dwindling. My eyelashes were vivid against my pale skin. I couldn’t pull myself from bed for six months. The team scratched their heads, pulled out their prescription pads and loaded me up on medications that gave me a rash and made me sick in ways that I wasn’t already sick, so they prescribed medications to counteract the effects of the other medications and by the time they sent me to Doctor Heckmann I was carrying a brown paper sack full of vials.

    He lined the vials up on his desk. He jotted some notes on his legal pad. Then he scooped the bottles back into the bag and told me he was taking me off all the medications.

    I fell in love.

    Not the romantic kind of love.

    This was the kind of love you feel when everything grey transforms into a lovely pastel robin’s egg blue again.

    He diagnosed me as having chronic fatigue syndrome. He had several patients with the same symptoms. He admitted that the medical establishment didn’t know much about the disease and there was no known cure, but something behind his words told me that even though he didn’t have Letterman’s sense of humor or Keillor’s ability to spin a good yarn, I would find a reason to smile again.

    This was the doctor I spied in the checkout line at Draeger’s Supermarket.

    He was buying a large salad, a bottle of Vodka and five limes which he laid out with the same tender fingers. He avoided my steady gaze. Perhaps he had seen me smiling at him at the drug store twenty minutes earlier. Or he had seen me the week before in Safeway, observing him from the corner of my eye at the deli. Or the month before that, doing a double-take as we crossed paths in the parking lot.

    Perhaps he thought I was stalking him.

    I wanted to thank him for being the greatest doctor on earth. I wanted to tell him that I’m still standing because of him. But something told me not to intrude. He continued to avoid my gaze as he bagged his own groceries and turned to leave.

    “Are you Doctor Heckmann?” I blurted, and he almost paused; his head moved a fraction in my direction. Then he kept going, craving his anonymity perhaps, his life as an Everyman and not a specialist in a lab coat.  Or he didn’t want to admit that he had no memory of me all.

    But I will always remember him.

    There are people like that in life, people who catch you when you’re grabbing at air, and when you’re back on your feet they disappear, their job done. If you’re lucky you’ll glimpse them years later, buying a large salad, a bottle of Vodka and five limes in the supermarket.

    And you’ll light up with gratitude.

  3. The Jesus Chair

    July 26, 2013 by Diane

    Vintage beige color chair with carved legs

    I put that chair out at night. You know the one, the Jesus chair? The straight-backed chair from mama’s set of four that I kept after she passed, the only good chair left in the bunch? That one. I set it out next to the bed for Jesus to sit in. I read about that somewhere. Norman Vincent Peale, I think. Some woman put a chair next to the bed and asked Jesus to sit in it and watch over her at night. So that’s what I did. When things got so bad, when anxiety had me by the throat because I was waiting for those test results, those results to find out if my heart was going to keep on beating another fifty years, or ten, or five, or one, one year, maybe six months. Maybe a week. Maybe a week was all I had left, and that chair with Jesus in it would keep me safe so I could sleep through the night and leave off worrying. I was choking with the worry.

    So I put out that chair, and when I woke up in the morning, Manny was sitting in it. He was sitting there in his ratty old bathrobe, snoring. My heart swelled, it overflowed seeing my man sitting there watching over me all night just in case Jesus didn’t show up. That’s the kind of man he is. He’d sit in that Jesus chair all night if that’s what it took to make me happy. You can see why I married the lug.

    It did my heart good, seeing Manny sitting in the Jesus chair. All that worry just flew away, like those dark crows that gather in the tall pine trees and shadow the lawn when they flap over. All that worry just disappeared, and I knew that whatever the doctor told me, my heart was strong. I would be fine, just fine, no matter what those results said.