By Ken DeLaat
Photo by Lesly DeLaat
You have to give her a lot of credit, she is one patient woman.
LFC (Lifetime Spousal Companion) Lil and I have always led lives that,while intrinsically intertwined, continued to allow for ample time and space away from each other.
It’s worked and worked exceedingly well for over 4 decades of togetherness.
When we were both still readily employed our daytime hours were generally spent in the company of colleagues and co-workers. We each participated in career related conferences that inevitably led to several days of separation ever so often and we each served on boards and engaged in other such activities that required some evening hours.
Last year we retired from our regular jobs,though as an elected official I continue to spend a good deal of time at meetings both near and far as well as the occasional conferences.
There are also friends we each enjoy separately from our mutual acquaintances, thus there have always been dinners and lunches when we connect with folks we enjoy being with on a 1:1 basis.
In short, retirement gave us a bit more time together with perhaps more frequent road trips and less time spent in separate evening activities but overall we both continued to appreciate our time apart which has always seemed to lead to an increased appreciation of our time together.
Then of course came last week. Being in the targeted age group for vulnerability to the COVID-19 scourge (If you’re thinking ‘he can’t possibly be that old’ thank you for your kindness and sorry about your failing eyesight) it was decided the prudent strategy was to isolate.
Of course much of that decision was made for us as our favored haunts were shuttered, my gym closed its doors, lunches and dinners were cancelled, a variety of appointments went by the wayside, plans were postponed and those requisite meetings of mine that take up an abundance of time either ground to a halt or began to allow for touching base in a more technological sense.
We were sequestered.
Committed to staying safe by staying home, save a trip or two to the grocery when required.
And that meant being together 24/7.
Since my exercise regimen is now relegated to a basement treadmill, each morning I join Ms. Lil when she does her daily workout, always soon after awakening. This has gone well despite an occasional glance my way when, headphones firmly in place, I get a bit too loud performing my duets with Springsteen or Seger
We have breakfast together, lunch together and dinner together.
Cleaning, a chore we once took turns tackling is now taken on as a joint effort.
The spring chore of readying the gardens, once her exclusive domain because in the past I’ve done what I could to avoid it, has become a shared effort since it gets me outside and keeps me busy for a bit.
Oh, and we go for a lengthy walk each afternoon.
Our evenings are spent jointly binge watching shows of interest since there are no sports that would normally involve separate TV viewing because the sporting world has dried up including (sob!) the baseball season,
Ok, I know they’re playing repeats of thrilling sporting events from the past but seriously, for me, sports has to be live to provide any interest whatsoever. Otherwise any shred of drama or excitement has been stripped away and it might as well be an oft repeated episode of Cheers... except at least the Cheers episode might still provide a chuckle or two.
But I digress.
How has this timeless togetherness transpired?
Well, truth be told (an intriguing phrase since it implies much of the time truth is NOT being told) it is likely way, way more of a challenge for my LSC than myself.
She has always been fun to be around, is a consummate listener and as mentioned before possesses a boatload of patience.
My mind wanders which is generally ok but with us being totally together timewise I am often compelled to share these rambling thoughts.
“What about if we were to spend an entire day where we had to communicate without words?”
“When this is over would you consider moving to someplace like the Marianas Islands, Paraguay or maybe New Mexico for a year or so?”
“How would you feel about turning one of the bedrooms into a pinball room? I could buy some old machines and...”
“Let’s say we had to start naming everything over again beginning with…”
“Speaking of names let’s pick out new ones for each other and use them for a day.”
“Ever wonder what happened to that guy we knew when we lived up North? Let’s try to get a hold of him. No, I don’t recall his name either.”
“Remember that time in the Keys when we were camping and that one song came on? What was that song?”
“I’ve been thinking about the shoes alongside the road again and..”
And Ms. Lil sits there with the patience of Job and answers sweetly but firmly...
‘We’re not moving to Paraguay, the pinball room is not happening, you need to stop with the whole renaming stuff. I don’t recall the guy you're thinking of and I don’t know the song from the Keys because it was 30+years ago and you don’t even know how it goes, and as I’ve told you before, after all these years hearing about the shoes I’m a little tired of it.
‘But that thing about not talking for an entire day…’
Even the most patient among us...
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