Patience SVP

I stood out on the patio in the dark, the cool breeze rushing past me and through the door, over to Blane, who was sitting on the sofa watching tv. I’d gone out there because I could hear a helicopter. I know a care-flight when I hear one.

I think I do, the heli pad was just outside the ICU backdoor, and when one approached or left our hospital, the unit would go silent, the nurses and patients would freeze, even the machines seemed to hold their breath for a moment.

There is a term for this in French, when a crowd goes quiet all of a sudden, “Un Ange Passé,” which literally translates to “An angel passed.”

Anyway, I get this thumping in my chest when I see those helicopters and a million thoughts race through my head. Usually deep dark fears relating to my own life, such as, are they transporting some teenaged driver from a car crash? I’m feeling this phantom ache for some parent out there who might be suffering the unimaginable.

And just as the copter passes directly over us, the blades frantically chopping air, Blane says what he always says in his very best fake British accent,
“You, Yes You, Stand Still Laddie!”

And I laugh as though this is the very first time I’d heard it because he’s just taken me out of a place I didn’t need to be.

I don’t think he knows the mental dynamics of the situation. Why I laugh at that one consistently, while his other ten or so other canned jokes barely cause a change in my facial expression. Like the Kevin Bacon one. Every time he sees that actor he says, “Bacon and eggs.” Blane doesn’t even have to be around, if I see Kevin Bacon, I hear it in my head. I try not to show that it drives me nuts because I am certain he is testing my patience.
Twenty-seven years to the day, and I haven’t cracked.

In my heart, I know this is one of the things he admires most about me. He says both of his parents had absolutely no patience while he was growing up. So, if I ever did explode, it would kill off something magical for him. I would never want to do that to someone who can make me feel like I’m in a Pink Floyd song. Ever.



My grandmother used to have this list she kept in a drawer. It was an old newspaper clipping of gifts for wedding anniversaries, year one through seventy-five and the corresponding materials with which the gifts were to be made. She was an extreme traditionalist and held my grandfather to it.

When I was about seven years old, my grandparents celebrated their 50th (Golden) wedding anniversary. It was such a big deal, like another wedding. There was a big cake, a professional photographer, napkins printed with their names and the dates in gold, and people who came in from all over to be at this celebration.

I had no use for this list when I got married. It took too damn long to get anything good. Sixty years down the hatch for some diamonds? Who made this list, a dude?

Actually, I’m just not a traditionalist. I don’t like doing things like everyone else. My brothers used to tease me all time, “You just want to be different!” as if that were a bad thing.

Also, I don’t have much use for gold or diamonds.

Blane and I were teens when we got married. Most people didn’t think it would last. Less than a year into it, I’d run across people in town who would ask, “You still married?” My own mother didn’t believe. Not before the wedding, or after it, she just kept saying, “I don’t see how this could work.”

That was when I knew she had no clue as to who her daughter was.

I didn’t just jump into marriage because we had a child on the way. I could’ve done like the other girls in town and gotten married the minute I found out. We didn’t. We thought and thought and thought about it. Even waited until six weeks after the baby was born to tie the knot. We had to be sure.

Once I made my decision, my promise, I didn’t question whether it would last. I knew it would.

And it did. Today, you see, is silver.

Blane and I aren’t perfect matches. We’re opposites, actually. I’ll give you a peek into the lives of Blane and Kitty.

On Saturday Blane was gone all day helping our son do something at his house. Man stuff. I was here marinating a turkey breast, stinking my fingers up with garlic. I assembled a rotisserie for the grill outside (it came with no directions, either), put that lump over the grill. For hours I babysat that thing because the skewer kept falling out of the motor. By the time Blane finally got home, the entire thing was done.

As he ate, this is what he said: Mmmm, this is good. What brand is this?

In my imagination I leap across the table, hook my claws into his neck and put him on that grill.

In the real world, I just laugh and enjoy the turkey.

Marriage is hard work.