Saturday, September 09, 2006

Love on credit

My parents' anniversary was Monday.

It would have been their 48th. And it's the first that mother has spent without Dad.

Their love for one another is my gold standard. And I celebrate the fact that they were genuine and even transparent in front of their children. There was no facade. I knew when they faced challenges and when they celebrated great joys, and I got to watch them love one another through good times and bad.

And, I'll even say that in the hardest moments of my own marriage, their love has sustained me. I know they went through worse and continued in love.

Mother has been telling more stories about Dad, feeling able to talk about him again in conversation. So she told a few folks about their first date as their anniversary approached. Dad had asked Mom (Seems odd to call them that on their first date.) Tony had asked Linda if she wanted to go to a cocktail party at the opening of the Colonial Country Club's annual pro golf tournament. He was covering it as a sports writer for the Fort Worth Press. He asked her the day of the event. But, he had actually asked her on a date months before and she had told him that she had a yearbook deadline in April and he would need to ask her again after that. He waited until May. They were both students at TCU, but Mom lived at home with her parents. She went home to bathe and change. After finishing her bath, she walked into the living room in her slip. Dad was already there. He told her later that he knew he had to marry her because he had already seen her in her slip. (This was 1958, when slips were, well, a) worn b) not routinely seen by gentlemen callers.) It's a great story and I had forgotten it until she retold it to me.

But there is a more recent story of my parents' love.

My brother and his wife talk a lot about love languages. Apparently some guy wrote a book about the languages we each speak in love and those that we want to have spoken to us. So, for some people, the language of love is touch; for some, words; for some, gifts; for some, acts on their behalf (AKA doing); for some, quality time.

Well in my family, one language of love is books.

I never know more that Jeff loves me than when he has gifted me with a book. (It's the love language he speaks. But he insists on buying his own books, so it's not the language he wants spoken to him.)

One thing Mom did this year to be close to Dad at anniversary time was to read Death Comes for the Archbishop, a beatiful, yet chilling, book by Willa Cather. I read it some years ago on Dad's recommendation, but mother never had. So, she took a copy he had used to teach a class, and she read it over Labor Day Weekend, savoring it rather than rushing through it, as a way of being with him.

Books were on her mind later in the week for her own teaching. She's tutoring two days a week at a home for pregnant teens and they're reading The Life of Pi, but they didn't have any spare copies for her. Mom called the used book store to see if they had one, and they did. She went to pick it up and discovered that it was a hardback in good condition and it cost $8.

But Mom didn't pay a cent.

Dad bought it for her.

He had been a customer of the same bookstore, sometimes buying books, sometimes taking books in.

And he had credit left.


molly said...

fabulous writing. and even's a fabulous love you write about!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. What a wonderful memory you captured for me. I love you.