My parents each had long love affairs during their marriage. My question is when did Mama find the time and when did Daddy get the gumption?
Mama seemed the human manifestation of perpetual motion. She tended an acre garden with neat straight rows of vigorously growing vegetable of glorious hues. She gathered bushels and bushels of harvest all during the long growing season and set to canning and preserving. We kids were served a hearty breakfast, handed a bag lunch for school and came home to a fine supper the table covered with vegetable dishes from that which had been in the dirt that morning.
Mama was busy. She:
ironed all the clothes, many of which she made;
kept the house spic and span;
planted an orchard and kept the fruit trees in good trim;
was president of the PTA;
hosted dinner parties, bridge parties, cocktail parties with lots of dancing;
mowed the lawn – half the eight acres was grass;
held my horses for endless hours at horse shows;
built my barn, with a hand saw as my sister recently reminded me;
baked a cake for the neighbor down the road whose wife had died;
taught tennis lessons on our clay court.
In the meantime my southern through and through father had chosen well his life’s mate, the dairy farm girl with German staunch. Daddy was the softer side of life. He enjoyed a toddy of the evening. He was a little dreamy. He found his true peace after we four rambunctious kids had finally vacated the premises. We were like that room covered in ping pong balls balanced on mouse traps. Remember that image? I think it was Walt Disney who dropped the single ping pong ball into the middle of the room covered by the primed mouse traps.
Daddy liked reciting poetry, sitting quietly, musing…the stuff of an artistic nature. I’ve heard that Einstein created out a similar interior space. Daddy invented things. I’d tell him, “Daddy you could make a million dollars with that!” But that would be too concrete, too effortful. He liked the creative part.
We had a little run about we’d take to Alatoona Lake for water skiing and swimming. Daddy drove the boat while we took turns skiing. Mama could take off from shore on a slalom ski. SHE WAS AWESOME! We spent all day roasting under the Georgia sun. Two days later our skin would erupt into chains of bubbles and we kids would compete who could peal the longest piece of intact sloughed skin.
My mother ran the show and Daddy made it fun with his calm, accepting and humorous wisdom. They had a wonderful marriage. Both had long love affairs. Sixty-six years their love affairs lasted – with each other.