more usual than un-

As Jeff requested, we went straight home. Didn’t stop to eat on a Friday night, which was unusual, for us.

I cooked that night. Nothing unusual. Just my usual, my-turn-to-cook, spaghetti and meat sauce. Quick, easy, and yummy;  only because Jeff had taught me how to doctor up the jarred stuff. Fresh garlic and onions, sautéed with the meat, and finished with generous handfuls of fresh grated parmesan, made all the difference.

Jeff ducked into the shower, while I was prepping. He announced that he had sweat enough for a whole week that day, and needed some freshenin’ up. He was in there a little longer than I thought he would be. I considered checking on him, but he appeared, just then, in fine spirits.

“What can I do?” he asked, brightly.

“You can go sit down and relax,” I said. “Dinner’s almost done.”

“Supper,” he jokingly corrected me.

It was our usual, silly corny routine. The result of early dating differences, and trying to convince each other what the proper name for our evening meal should be. A lot like the next Saturday/this Saturday debate. After a few, important, miss-communications, we’d decided it was best to always supply a numeric date, when discussing the future.

Happily headed to the den, Jeff parked himself in his chair, legs elevated, as usual. I was stirring the cooked pasta into the sauce, when the phone rang. The one-sided part of the conversation I could hear, was Jeff laughing and saying, “Oh, hi. Yes, I’m fine. Feelin’ great now. Must be…. ’cause I even got my appetite back. Just waitin’ on the wife to serve me up some supper!”

I playfully arched an eyebrow at him through the pass-thru. “Oh, I’ve done it now,” he laughed, said his goodbye, and hung up.

The check-in was from the owner of the business who had taken our original 10’x10′ spot at the mall. They hadn’t been open all that long. I’d only, recently, met him and his wife.

But, Jeff, as usual, had encouraged them, and advised them, and in the course of the day when there were few customers, extracted most everything there was to know about his new friend.

“Wow.” I thought on that for a second. “That was really nice.”

“Yeah,” Jeff nodded. “That was real nice…”

I delivered Jeff’s serving, along with his usual big glass of white milk. On my way back to the kitchen, I stopped before rounding the short, separating wall.

“So, you must have really scared him, too. Huh?”

“Nah. I didn’t scare him,” he negated. “She did that!”

Quote for the Week:2019 06 25 only caring can create jakorte

 

 

 

Typical, I’m Ok.

There’s a memory gap, between the time I left the house Friday morning and the time I got the phone call.

I don’t remember what I was working on at the time. I don’t remember if it was before lunch or after lunch, or what time it was when I answered my phone.

At the time, the conversation didn’t shock me. It does, now, though. Because of the way the mind works.

Jeff’s body had already cried “wolf” so many times, it wasn’t too terribly concerning. We were operating under the well-documented and demonstrated assumption that he would rally, of course.

“Jeff told me not to call,” she said. “He’s going to be mad I called you, but I felt I should.”

Typical for Jeff, he had fallen asleep in his squeaky, red-glitter vinyl, swivel chair behind the display case. Importantly, the swivel and squeak would often jolt him awake, if he happened to drift off. They had saved him from falling back, or falling front, or falling off.

“I had a hard time waking him up,” she said. “A really, really hard time. I thought he should go to the hospital, but couldn’t get him to go. He doesn’t look so good.”

Thanking her, I hung up, and immediately dialed Jeff.

I rushed over his typical, jovial greeting. Hi, just calling to check up on you. How’s it goin’? ”

“It’s goin’!” he joked. “Had two customers today.”

“Cool. So … how are you feeling?”

“Oh, I’m, uh, feelin’ ok.” He stammered.

“Really?” I asked. “What’s been going on there?”

After a beat, Jeff huffed. “She called you, didn’t she?”

“Yep. You wanna tell me what happened?”

“Nah. It was nothin’.”

“Really?” I ppersisted. “She thought it was somethin’. Said you scared her.”

He explained he’d arrived there later than he had planned (typical). “Was walkin’  around, then, I was out of breath, and I was sweatin’ real hard. So, I set down to drink my pop.”

“Mt Dew?” I prompted, knowing he’d likely have to  answer ‘yes.’

Knowing I’d be annoyed and prone to not so subtly reminding him, again, that sugar and caffeine were not a diabetic’s friend, Jeff decided to skip right over that rote role-play.

“Aw, I didn’t mean to fall asleep,” he almost whined. Continuing on a sigh, he finished in typically optimistic Jeff style, “… but, it was a good sleep, so, I must have needed it.”

“So, you’re totally fine, now?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “Kinda a little bit dizzy, sick to my stomach.”

“Maybe, you shouldn’t finish the Mt Dew,” I poked.

“Oh, I already drank it, all.” Jeff confessed. “And I think it helped, some. I’m not so tired now.”

“Uh, huh, sure.” I snarked. His expected chuckle sounded a little off, not quite right.

“Hey,” I gentled my tone. “You sure? You feel ok to drive home?”

“I’m ok.” Jeff assured me.

Quote for the Week:2019 06 11 a true friend is willing to go behind your back

Pampered Peppers

After Jeff had been off work for a significant length of time, we co-decided he needed something to do. He took to gardening the 4’ x 6’ landing of the staircase leading down to our back yard. This became our first official salsa garden. It was truly amazing how many plants were living on the balcony and hanging off the wooden railing. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cilantro thrived for a few reasons.

First, was the amount of TLC Jeff gave our greens. Second, was the fact that the planters that hung over the edge were really difficult for critters to get at, especially since they were at the top of a 7-foot stair case. Third, was that the bugs didn’t rise that high, either. Fourth, was our Sadie squirrel deterrent. For a little girl, she had an astonishingly loud voice. We saw quite a few early morning varmits take a startled dive over the edge. Jeff would always check, peering over the railing to be sure that the creatures weren’t hurt. There never was one that was.

The garden was awesome but didn’t really keep him as busy as he’d thought. Even with Sadie to take care of, being our designated chef and chief launderer, Jeff was becoming bored. Too many hours of TV and internet surfing lost their luster, so he wanted to find something that would bring in a little extra income. I supported that, too. Jeff was a people person, and the lack of daily socializing depressed him.

I’d been to a few Pampered Chef parties and I always would end up asking Jeff what he’d like me to get for him, because he was the one who’d be using the gadgets. With the help of his sister, Nicole, a consultant herself, and the input of a male friend who had begun consulting himself, Jeff saw an opportunity. He could share his love of cooking with the guys he knew were also cooks. For those who weren’t, he’d be able to give good recommendations as to which gifts his buddies should buy the women in their lives.

The things I remember most about his trial host party are the many men who came, and the constant hilarity and laughter. So much so that Nicole was forced off track numerous times, and ended up laughing so much herself. I didn’t actually attend the show. I don’t remember what the food demonstrations were, at all. I spent most of my time in the kitchen, staying out of the way.

I think  I remember who amongst Jeff’s friends, former co-workers and family came. But the important part is that I love you all for showing up. I still get teary-eyes about it, too. It did so much for his spirits to have personal connections there with him for a little while.

For Jeff, the term ‘friends’ included family and the term ‘family’ included friends. All of Jeff’s friends were close friends, and his close friends included his cousins and siblings, as well.

For me, the best term I can think of now to describe you all is, tribe.

Quote for the Week: (minor apologies for the awkward physical splicing of 18 year old old-fashioned prints.)

2017 09 11 anything can bloom anywhere you plant it jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Pampered: Chef

Social vs: Lonely

Balcony: Garden

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