How to Miss a Wedding (part 1)

Roger told Jeff: Call me whenever you’re down or lonely.

He visited Jeff while I was at work. He helped Jeff get to medical appointments. Jeff told me that Roger had said that Jeff was being unfair to me by not trying harder.

He did try harder. Did he try hard enough? Not hard enough for me. I was critical. Often.

Probably just as often as I was lenient. If he wanted a new diecast, I’d say, “Yes.” When he wanted more cable channels because he was getting more bored, I said, “Yes.” As time went on, I said, “Yes” a lot more. I’d do anything to help him be a little happier. Money was tight, but, somehow that came to matter less and less.

That had a lot to do with another day when I’d said, “No.” It was mostly out of anger and somewhat to do with how I was raised. One weekend afternoon, we were driving home from a trip to Jackson.  Jeff had an ex-coworker friend who lived nearby, so he thought it would be nice to stop and see him.

Jeff was driving and I had no clue where we were, so I wasn’t paying that much attention. Until the police car sped up behind us, siren blaring. I think we both thought they were just trying to get by, but when we pulled off to the side, the police car pulled off behind us, too.

Suddenly, Jeff appeared panicked. He grabbed his wallet, took out his license and thrust it into my purse. “Don’t tell them it’s in there,” he pleaded.

“What?” I asked. “Shhh. I’ll tell you later,” he answered without looking at me. When asked for his license, Jeff took out his wallet, opened it, and remarked, “Hmm, I guess I don’t have it on me.” The officer asked for his personal information and went back to his car. “What the hell, Jeff?” came out of my mouth, probably not as quietly as he would have liked. “If he asks tell him we work together… and shhh.” he repeated, still not looking at me.

I was looking at him, though, and he was sweating bullets. The next thing I knew, the officer was back on Jeff’s side and another policeman was standing on my side. The one on my side asked me to get out of the vehicle. “Me?” I asked, stunned. “You want ME to get out?”

The answer from the officer was, “Yes, and I’ll need to see your license, too.” So, I grabbed my wallet, leaving the purse on the floor between our seats, where it had been. I handed over my license and was told to stay there and to remain outside the car.

By this time, Jeff was out, too. He and the other guy were having a conversation at the back. When the second officer joined them, they all seemed to get a bit more animated. 

After a few minutes, my officer came back to me, and asked me how I knew Jeff.  Because I was now terrified, I decided to sort of go with Jeff’s request “We work for the same company,” I told him, adding, “… and…we’re .… friends… too.” Just in case Jeff might have mentioned that

Quote for the Week:2018 05 28 2018 In certain situations jakorte

 

Remote Separation

Keeping to authenticity, the note was typed in all caps. The first line about gave me a heart-attack and sky-rocketed me into panic-mode. Half a sentence later, I was shaking my head, and only half grimacing.

FYI: I decided not to [SIC] everything.  😉

Jeff:

WELL, YOU ARE SOOOO WELCOME !

BUT, I WAS HAVING THE SHAKES AND PASSED OUT SEVERAL TIMES THIS MORNING. I CALLED THE DR. RIGHT AWAY AND SHE TOLD ME I HAD POST-TRAUMATIC REMOTE CONTROL SEPARATION SYNDROME.

SHE TOLD ME TO TAKE TWO ASPIRINS AND CALL THE PTRSS SOCIETY. SO, I CALLED THEM AND THEY SAID THEY WOULD BE HAPPY TO HELP ME OUT WITH MY PROBLEM FOR A SMALL DONATION OF 500 DOLLARS. AND WITH THAT, I CALLED THE CREDIT UNION TO MAKE AN ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER OF 600 TO THE FUND FOR PTRSS SOCIETY.

WHEN I FINISHED THAT I CALLED THE PTRSS SOCIETY AGAIN AND THEY SAID THEY WOULD COME OVER TONIGHT AND ASSIST ME IN THIS NON LIFE THREATENING BUT VERY BOTHERSOME DISEASE. THEY HAVE FOUND IT IS TRANSFERRED THRU A GENE FROM THE MOTHER THAT IS DORMANT IN FEMALES, BUT IS VERY ACTIVE IN A MALE.

I HAVE FOUND THIS TO BE VERY INTERESTING AND I AM LEARNING QUITE A BIT. MY GOAL FOR THE PTRSS SOCIETY IS TO START A TELETHON WITHIN TWO YEARS AND HAVE AS MUCH SUCCESS AS JERRY LEWIS AND MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY.

MAY I ADD THAT JERRY IS ALSO A SUFFERER OF PTRSS AND THAT HE DONATES A LARGE SUM TO THE PTRSS SOCIETY EVERY YEAR. HE TRIES TO KEEP IT VERY LOW KEY , AS HE IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY PRIVATE PERSON.

OH, AND DID I TELL YOU THAT JERRY LEWIS CALLED ME PERSONALLY AND TOLD ME HOW IT FEELS TO SUFFER FROM PTRSS. HE REALLY IS AS NICE ON THE PHONE AS HE IS ON TV. AND HE SANG TO ME… IT WAS SUNG TO THE TUNE OF “YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE.” HE CHANGED THE WORDS TO “YOU WILL NEVER CLICK ALONE.”

WELL, THAT’S ABOUT ALL THE EXCITEMENT I CAN HANDLE FOR ONE DAY. HOPE THINGS QUIET DOWN A BIT AROUND HERE.

i love youuuuuuuu

Me:

Wow! You are my hero! Can I smooch you when I get home?

Jeff:

you may smooch me anytime, anywhere

Quote for the Week:

2018 05 22 Blessed are we who know when to laugh

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links

Well Put: The Blessing of Laughter

Seeing the Other Person’s Perspective: May Not Help

Yes, It Really is: The Best Medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen of Coin, King of Remote

 

During this time, Jeff and I were always on the brink of broke. Paycheck to paycheck became my paycheck and only half of Jeff’s paycheck. Juggling money became my specialty.

There were days when timing was everything. Money was scheduled to come in, but money was also scheduled to go out. These were the days I would clearly and emphatically instruct Jeff, “Do not take any money out of the bank today or our such-and-such check will bounce.”

There were days when at 4:00 PM, I would check our account to be sure we were clear, and discover my paycheck had made it in, Jeff’d withdrawn $20.00, and our check hadn’t cleared, yet.

I would go into a tailspin. Jeff would either assure me without reason or concrete evidence, “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” Or, he’d point out that we didn’t actually bounce anything, so there wasn’t any problem, and there was no reason for me to be upset.

I was the self-appointed queen of the coin. Jeff was reigning king of the remote. The thing is, he’d fall asleep and change channels. He’d be searching for something during a commercial and hit a button that crashed our dish. He’d doze off and turn the TV off.

I’d wake him up and ask him to give me the remote. He didn’t ever want to give it up. Jeff would insist he was awake now, wouldn’t be nodding off again, and he would get everything or the show we were watching back to the right place.

It had been one of those teeter-totter banking days and Jeff had done what I’d asked him not to – took $20 out of our account. He’d also not done what I asked him to do that day – call the doctor about a new dizziness and increased pain. I must have been more convincing than usual regarding the TV remote, because, apparently, Jeff conceded on that one point. Granted it was the only particular point left to address that he or I could do anything about right then.

Our 2004 email treasure began this way…

Me: Thank you for giving me the remote last night… I know it was traumatic for you, but you handled the separation like a pro! Kisses.

In one hilarious email response, Jeff managed to address all of my previous evening’s complaints: banking, health management and our TV troubles.

Quote for the Week: 2018 05 15 Disagreements do not break relationships jakorte

Face Value

Our doorbell rang one sunny mid-morning shortly after the letter.  Jeff was in his chair in the den, so I went for the door. As far as I knew, we had no visitors planned that day. I suspected it was one of our neighbors, so I opened the door with a smile.

I think my smile surprised him. He sure surprised me. Skipping ‘Hello,’ he gruffly grunted, “Is my son here?”

“Of course, he is.” I answered.  Bewildered, I stepped aside to let my father-in-law in. He’d never dropped by before.

Dispensing with any potential pleasantries, he blustered by me and near -barked, “Where is he? I wanna to talk to him!”  

I jumped in front of him and led the way to the den, calling out to my husband. “Jeff!  Your Dad is here.”

We were already stepping into the den, as Jeff put down the recliner foot rest.

“Don’t get up!” Roger sternly ordered. “I’ve got something to say to you.”

Before he sat down on the couch next to Jeff’s chair, he turned to me and said, “I’d like to talk to him alone.”  

When I hesitated, Jeff suggested, “Maybe, you can take Sadie out?” I went to grab her leash, and while I was fastening it, I overheard the first part of the conversation.

“What’re ya doin’, Jeff?” Roger demanded. With a bit of humor, Jeff shrugged, “Watchin’ TV…”

“No! Jeff!,” he exclaimed. “I mean WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? You wanna know something, Jeff? You wanna know what I carry in my wallet? I’ll show you…”.

I was still in the kitchen, where I had previously been unintentionally eavesdropping. I  now intentionally began moving a little slower. Roger’s back was turned to me addressing Jeff.  He sounded angry and a little shaky, which was alarming to me. Peering into the den, I watched as he opened his wallet, reached in, and pulled something out.

“This!” he shook the paper toward Jeff. “This is what I keep in my wallet.” I only caught a glimpse as he put it away, but easily recognized it as the same baby picture Sally and Nannee kept.

In tears, I routed Sadie out of the kitchen, toward the back slider.

As she and I went out the door, I glanced over. Jeff, sitting forward, staring at the floor, didn’t say anything.

Roger, in exasperation, blurted out, “I don’t want to bury my first-born son!”

Something changed for all of us in that moment.

For Roger and Jeff, it was the beginning of a deeper relationship. I later learned that Roger had told Jeff that he would be available to drive him to appointments, so I didn’t have to miss work.

For me, it was the beginning of my relationship with Roger. I’d never taken Jeff’s Dad seriously. I never looked beyond the clowning. Mostly because, he made tremendous efforts not to be serious. I honestly, did not know he had it in him. That isn’t a dig on Roger. That’s me saying, I’d never tried to have a meaningful conversation with him.

I took Roger at face value, letting others perceptions, including Jeff’s, color mine. I didn’t know he’d listen to whatever I had to say, or that he’d be a steadfast ally.  Especially, after the letter. Especially, after Jeff died.

I took Roger at face value, when, the whole time, all that bluster and nonsense deftly camouflaged  a deeply caring heart.

Quote for the Week:

2018 05 08 If you never ask someone a serious question

 

 

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Seriousness

The letter led to some good things. Calls from folks Jeff might not have spoken to in a few months, cheered him up greatly. Most of the calls that came when I was home were lengthy, full of laughter, and ended with some sort of promise.

“Yes, I’ll call you.” “Yes, I’m doing ok.” “Yes, I’m going to try harder.”

More people stopped at the store to see him, which he loved. He’d end up with a few new stories to tell me. Keeping current meant he was making new memories.

Jeff spent his time at the store talking to people, too. Other business owners, hot sauce heads, and entourages of brides and grooms – each and every one had a story to tell. Somehow, he always managed to extract them. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one or twice, but truly, you only ever met Jeff once. After that, he was your friend.

I’m not going to say Jeff and his dad didn’t get along, but they weren’t always close. About the time Jeff and I started dating, Jeff and Roger, began to have more of a relationship. Our dating wasn’t the reason for that. It was just timing, the stars aligning, the universe sending peace, whatever you’d like to call it.

The three Korte men in my immediate life, Jeff, Eric and Roger, were always joking, laughing, guffawing, boisterous and generally loud. The loudness startled me at first, but it didn’t take long to figure out the Korte laugh was a genetic trait.

I enjoyed an abundance of that joyful and wonderful noise that to this day remains with me. I hear it in my head when I see something funny. I feel it in my heart and chest,  reverberating. If I’d have thought to record it, I’d probably have been able to sell it as a starter warm-up for laughter yoga. Or maybe I’d have just made a CD to play when I needed a reason to laugh, or just wanted to not laugh alone.

Also, genetic, I suspect, is the Korte tendency to smile and report all is right with the world, even when it wasn’t. There was only seriousness when there had to be seriousness.

Quote for the Week:

2018 05 01 I_d rather not have to say

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Serious: What it Means

Serious: Try Not to Be So

Serious: Fun