Conversation with My Wife (207)
Old friends, and times together with games that aren’t really the point
She gets home after getting everyone else home, yells “HELLO!” up the stairs to me in my home office. I come down to greet her, she throws her arms around my neck, pulls me in, and gives me a big smooch.
DEB: Thank you, Jackster!
ME: You’re welcome, honey! (pause) For…?
Okay, I’m happy to take credit for everything. The anti-global warming thing is going a little slow right now, and that world peace thing is NOT shaping up like I planned, but working on it, working on it…
DEB: You got the Quiddler gang together—
ME: We did. Mostly you.
DEB: —but I couldn’t have done it without you and it went so well honey!
And you’re wondering about the Quiddler gang. First off, there is a card game called “Quiddler” that basically consists of players using letters or pairs of letters on cards to make words. Different letters have different values, similar to Scrabble, and there are bonus points for various things. But that’s not the point.
The point is that four retired Presbyterian ministers and their wives used to get together every month or so to “play Quiddler.” That goes in quotes because yes, they did play a game or two, but mostly they caught up, swapped stories, reminisced, and basically just enjoyed each other’s company. One of those couples were Deb’s parents, Rose & Bob.
Then Time took its toll, as Time does. Eight people became seven became six… and then became five, when Bob died. Rose was having trouble driving, so Deb offered to chauffeur. Then Deb helped when it was Mom’s turn to host. And gradually Rose (with Deb) became Rose&Deb, like it had been Rose&Bob before.
I had sat in on a game or two when we hosted at our house. So when Rose passed, I was invited to join the gang. And Deb&Jack filled in for Rose&Bob.
But by 2019, Nancy, the oldest member, celebrated her 95th birthday the year before. She’d gotten very hazy. Larry was… pretty good, a lot of the time. Some days were better than others. The two youngest ladies (not counting Deb) were still pretty sharp, but one was getting a bit forgetful and didn’t always pick up on jokes like she used to. Nobody drove anymore, except Deb&Jack.
And so for our March 2019 meeting (the first in a bit, after one of the group fell) Deb figured out how she could still get the gang together. It involved a bit of driving around and acting as taxi driver (her) and snack delivery (me) but we got everyone assembled around four card tables in the common area near the apartment of one of the group. We dealt the cards (sometimes Deb or I would help the current dealer as the turn went around the table, arthritic hands being what they are) and made our words (sometimes others at the table would make suggestions) and I kept score (pencil and paper, believe it or not).
And then came COVID.
Larry passed away, from a pre-existing condition.
Nancy had trouble figuring out who her family members were. Visitors were discouraged, and not completely because of COVID restrictions.
But by July 2021, all of us had gotten all the vaccination shots we needed, so maybe it would be okay to get the gang back together? Even if “the gang” was just Deb&Jack and Louanne and Connie?
So Deb did chauffeur duty and got the gals. It was a lovely summer day, our backyard and garden were nice so we ate in the (air conditioned) porch, and Deb prepped a menu of light salad with lightly-cooked chicken tenders. She used the good dishes.
After a couple hours or so, somebody had a high score (no, it wasn’t me — I’m an honest scorekeeper, thank you), and everyone complimented Deb on the menu and the pretty dishes, and we all agreed the afternoon had gone very well. Deb made sure everybody else got back home to where they were supposed to be, but told me not to wash the dishes while she was away.
DEB: I like washing the good dishes! Both before and after. Because we don’t use them very often, there are particular meals and occasions that come back to me when I work with them. It’s like you and receipts!
I keep track of spending by entering receipts into Quicken. Deb will apologize for turning over an envelope full of small pieces of paper after we come home from a trip, and I remind her that it may be “$30 MC 7/12/21 GOLF ADVN” to her, but for me it’s a memory of playing miniature golf with our grandniece.
DEB: Anyway, thank you, honey. I don’t know how many more times we’ll be able to get together.
She and the two gals were supposed to go to lunch and some shopping last week. They cancelled because of the high temperatures in the area… and the spike in Delta cases in the county. So… maybe next time? Maybe.
Copyright ©2021 by Jack Herlocker. If you steal this, please keep the names intact to honor the older members. Thanks.