Funereal Fashion

After leaving the funeral home, I had to consider the next thing I never considered; funeral attire. Thank goodness my SIL thought to have my brother ask me.

I had plenty of black tops because New York/Music/Rebel black-is-slimming has been my legitimate style. So much so, that when I moved to Nashville, someone finally asked me if I ever wore anything but black. “Oh, yeah,” I’d said. “Navy blue and brown. Sometimes gray!”

Tennessee brought other colors into my wardrobe. Michigan helped with that, as well. There was a problem with my new palates, though. I no longer owned any black pants.

I was never fond of shopping to begin with. If I end up in a store it’s usually because I am looking for a specific item. Or it’s Kohls because they sent me a $10 coupon and a 30% off flyer sticker and a new clearance shirt is never a bad purchase.

But, luckily, that day I was numb and it was Sears, in the mall, because we were driving by it anyway. I wasn’t expecting much luck or fashion at size 24. Amazingly enough, the dowdy plus size section had plenty of black pants options.

I grabbed three pair, tried them on, took the least offensive and was ready to go. That was the day I earned a new moniker from my brother.  “You’re like a Ninja Shopper!” he exclaimed.

That made me laugh. Jeff shared the same observation but not with a title. To Jeff Lowe’s and Walmart were like exhibit changing museums to be indepthly explored, each and every visit. “Slow down,” he’d call from his cart. “We might miss something!”

I’m a fast shopper, unless it’s an antique store or a flea market.  I have almost endless patience for those. But, I’m also usually hoping to take home a salt-chicken. Or two, if there’re two to be found.

I had a fairly dressy black shirt, fairly fitted, point-collared and pinstriped. I thought nothing of it, at the time. Later, when I was willing some of my 20’s weight-loss wardrobe to a friend, I pulled it from the back of the closet and gave that away, too.

Even later, as in late-2019, I was jotting down outline notes, when it occurred to me.

The blouse I wore was black, of course.

Detailed with finely dispersed, shimmering gold pinstripes.

Unintentionally, black and gold. Which were, intentionally, our wedding colors.

Quote for the Week: 2020 04 28 sticking with what you know jakorte

 

The Missing Third

(Ok, ugh. Out of order. Somehow  I managed to skip this post between Around the Corner and Murky. It’s a big important emotional chunk, too. So a restart – to bring us back to that point.)

I blew the car horn three times, in quick succession, then, let one long loud one linger.

That sort of worked.

Jeff didn’t wake with his usual start. He opened his eyes slowly and stared straight ahead.

“Do you see it?” I asked

“See what?”

I considered Jeff’s sleep-talking history and noticed that he didn’t seem to be blinking.

“Hey!” I solidly smacked his arm. “Are you awake?”

He shrugged away from me like I was a loon. “Yeah, I’m awake. A car horn woke me up.”

“That was me! I wanted you to see! Look!” I pointed.

“Look at what?” Jeff searched the distance. “You used the horn?”

“Yes! To wake you up.”

“Why didn’t you just wake me up?” He puzzled.

‘Ugh!” I threw my hands up, pointing again. “Look at the rainbows! There are three of them!”

Jeff squinted and swiveled. “I only see two.”

“There are three!” I directed him to tree-top landmarks; to guide his eye up to the faintest of the triple arches.

“I don’t see it.” He repeated.

Realizing my vision might be clearer because of my colored lenses, I whipped off my sunglasses. “Look through these!” I demanded.

“These are way too small.” Jeff laughed, pinwheeling them.

Overcome with urgency, I shouted “I don’t care! Just put them on, before it’s too late!”

“Ok,” he agreed, but furthered his logical reluctance.

“You know they’re gonna get stretched out and won’t fit your pea-head, anymore.” Said, the man with a head the approximate exaggerated  size of an early-season pumpkin and the scale-confirmed weight of a bowling ball, to the woman who buys her ballcaps and sunglasses in the youth sections of stores.)

I watch Jeff bob his head up and down, peering through them.

“Nope,” he re-concluded. “Don’t see it.”

By then, the third had almost faded away. An unsettling sadness rolled through my heart into my eyes. Jeff stared at me, shocked. “Why are you crying?”

“I really wanted you to see it,” I whispered, to avoid sobbing. “It’s very… comforting.”

“Comforting?” Jeff repeated, his expression equally confused and concerned. “Why is it comforting?”

“I don’t know… it just…  is.” I was just as baffled by my reaction as he was.

I was so truly disappointed for him. In those few moments, it had felt like such an important thing; significant.

I’d never seen a triple rainbow before, and Jeff still hadn’t.

Quote for the Week: 2019 09 10 delicate things jakorte

(about this photo, i was sitting at a sunny high top table taking a little rest during a warmish march traverse city wine tour earlier this year. i looked over at this nook, and thought, “i should take a picture.” then, i thought, “why?” then, i thought, “well, those are some interesting angles.” then, i thought, “i’m gonna look like a loon.” but, it kept drawing my attention, so i got up and took a short burst series. back on the bus, i scrolled through some of the day’s photos while waiting for the rest of the riders to board. brought tears to my eyes.  i can’t always see exactly what i’m shooting in sun glares. happens a lot on weekend morning strolls. especially with spider webs and rainbows.)

Music to His Ears

I didn’t have to listen to AC/DC the entire drive

I don’t dislike AC/DC. The manic mouthiness is a little too raucous for early morning deer-watch drives. Absolutely, better suited to starting off a party right, then keeping you awake on a midnight swoop home.

On M-50, just outside of Tecumseh, Jeff nodded off.

Not unexpected, although that usually didn’t happen until Jackson. I made sure he was solidly snoozing, before I flipped the station, and commenced with a self-indulgent, quiet little country music sing-along.

Jeff shifted, sort of snorted, then settled down, again.

An hour and some later, at the end of the exit ramp in Lansing, I clicked the radio off, and nudged him. “Hey, wake-up,” I tickled his chin.

Jeff lifted his head as I turned the corner, checked his bearings, then turned to me and smiled. “I like listening to you sing,” he stated, sincerely.

The thing is – I can’t sing.

Evidence:

In 8th grade, it was strongly suggested choir might not be my best elective.

In summer theatre, I was given a silent part in Godspell – you know, a mime.

Admittedly,  I endlessly played each new vinyl record (yep, I’m that old) over and over trying to perfect a lyrical breath or catch an unusual beat-part. At some point, my father would reach a breaking point and yell down the stairs for me to stop singing. I always did. Except, for that one time, I decided to hum along. He told me to stop humming, because that as off-key, too.

I can’t explain Jeff’s enthusiasm for my voice, but that’s the kind of thing love does to a person. He once compared my weird warble to the angelic lilt of Alison Krauss.

I told him he was horribly mistaken, but isn’t it sweet how love can taint your ears?

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 30 LOVE hears your song jakorte

 

Common. Quirks.

“Oh, geez,” he protested. “I was just waitin’ for the end of the song.”

He smiled, and waited for me to smile back. I smiled back.

It was one of the crazy quirks we discovered we had in common, on our first date.

We’d pulled into our second restaurant location for dessert and what was supposed to be a good-night, night-cap.

Jeff pulled the handle to get out of the car, then glanced over at me, questioningly.

I hadn’t moved. My hand hovered over the dial. Poised, because, the song on the radio wasn’t at an appropriate end-spot. For my tastes, anyway.

Sheepishly, I explained my compulsion to listen all the way until the end of a tune. Or, at least, wait for a well-timed verse break or chorus completion or the top (or bottom) of an instrumental break, or when the singer took a big breath or something.

Jeff’s concerned expression had quickly morphed into a high-eyebrowed, silly grin. “Me, too!” he endearingly exclaimed.

My expression morphed into a silly grin. I flipped the switch as a comfortable place to end the music arrived, and we exited in sync.

We spent a good 20 minutes or so talking about the best place to stop listening, if you absolutely had to stop listening. If you didn’t have to, we agreed it was best to wait until the song ended. We also both expressed a dislike of DJ’s who liked to talk over carefully crafted ending instrumentals, and confessed to not being able to put a book down until the next chapter; or until the last line of a page had a completed sentence that ended in a period.

Jeff sat down at the kitchen table, while I dispersed groceries. I set a pot of water to boil. Spaghetti was always our back-up when Jeff didn’t feel like cooking. Or, when he took an unplanned afternoon nap that lasted a few hours.

“So,” I asked, after loading the milk Jeff said he’d drink into the fridge. “What was the song?”

“I don’t remember. It was kinda a surprise when I woke up.” Jeff told me.

“Hmm,” I wondered aloud. I asked him what his most recent blood-sugar was. “Oh, that’s ok!” he reported. “It’s only 220!” 220 was a low. Norm was 250-280, fasting.

“Why is it 220?” I asked. “What did you eat today?”

He told me he’d made fried eggs and fried bologna for breakfast, and hadn’t been hungry since.

I continued my inquiry. “Any of your meds change? Have you missed any? Run out of anything?”

He thought about that, while tapping two fingers on the table. “Nope. Got ‘em all picked up last week. Nothin’s changed in a while,” he concluded. “I’m just tired.” He chuckled. “Yep. Guess if I keep fallin’ asleep, I must be tired.”

“Well, maybe you should mention that to the doctor, at your next appointment. Do you have another appointment?”

“Yeah. In a couple weeks.”

“Maybe, you should call before then.” I suggested.

“Yeah.” Jeff agreed. “Maybe, I should call.”

Quote for the Week: 2019 05 07 most relationships begin with quirks jakorte

at the wheel

Visions of a mangled Buick danced in my head.

It wasn’t that much of an extreme over-reactive leap, considering.

The previous week, Jeff had accidentally put the car into reverse instead of drive. At the gas station. He managed to crumple a bit of the hood of the vehicle behind him.

Luckily, “It was a junker and the fella didn’t care.” At least, that’s what Jeff told me. Right before he told me, “I gave him 50 bucks, and he was happy.”

“What about our car?” I wanted to know. “Nothin’’” Jeff smiled. “Not even a scratch.”

I was curious about that. How did he damage the other car without damaging ours, and where did he get the $50 from? “Well, I wasn’t going all that fast,” he chuckled. “Buick’s solid.” The money game from the store till.

Anyway, that’s why the ‘Did Jeff tell you about the car?’ question, riled me.

Split-second, internal conversing commenced. I would have noticed that, right? I couldn’t have walked right by the car and missed that, right?

“Oh, it was so funny,” she laughed.

‘Funny’ caught my attention. I rationalized. If it was funny, it couldn’t be that bad, right?

“I looked out my window and Jeff was sittin’ in the car with the door open, and one leg hanging out.”

“One leg out?” Flashback to the time he decided to hang his blood-spurting leg out of the car on our way to the hospital, conveniently located at the end of our street.

“Yep.” she continued. “I looked out again, and he was still there, and the car was still running!”

Again? How much time had passed between the two look-sees? Then my brain caught up.

“The car was … running?” I gasped.

“Yeah, but don’t worry, hon. He woke up.”

“He. Woke. Up?” My stomach dropped into a downward flip-flop. A heart skip had me clutching the phone and the counter. “He was sleeping? And, the car was running?”

“Yeah, it was just a few minutes.”

‘Don’t worry’ is one of those knee-jerk, antonym inducing commands. I was worried. “Ok.” I said, and thanked her for calling and letting me know.

Jeff wandered back into the kitchen with the last of the shopping.

“So…” I raised my eyebrows, and peered over my glasses. “Wanna tell me about falling asleep… in the driveway…:

Jeff took a deep breath.

“With the car running…

 Big-mouth bass impression.

“And one leg hanging out?”

“Oh, geez,” he protested. “I was just waitin’ for the end of the song.”

Quote for the Week: 2019 04 30 Some people assume the worst case scenario jakorte