Published in Cup Of Comfort’s “Cup Of Comfort For Couples” 2010
I have been happily married for thirty-four years…to two men. Fortunately, they both occupy the same body, so I’m not in danger of being carted off to prison any time soon.
Husband number one’s name is Fred, a hardworking mechanical engineer, quiet, reserved, serious, and an honorable man. He’s very intelligent and analytical; a no-nonsense kind of guy on whom I can depend no matter what kind of crisis comes along. I myself am a free-spirit, usually led by emotions, not logic; my response to most serious problems is to laugh and let God worry about them. Fred’s is to weigh out the circumstances and calculate an appropriate course of action. We are two very different personalities, so when people I know meet Fred for the first time, they are usually surprised. “He’s so…serious”, they say.
I just smile because they don’t know my “other” husband, Freddie.
I’ll give you a for instance: You know how boring grocery shopping is? Not with Freddie. When he comes with me, this is usually how it goes: We walk into the market and Freddie says, “I wanna push the cart!”
“I’m the man.”
“So you’re the man. What does that—?”
“I have qualifications. I have muscles.”
“I guess you could call them that. But what does that—?”
“AND I have hair on my chest.”
“You have hair on about 90% of your body, Freddie. You’re more bear than you are man. It still doesn’t explain why you should—“
“I am the man and I push the cart.”
I can see that I’m never going to come out on top of this ridiculous dispute.
And the adventure begins: I’m standing there trying to figure out which soup is the best buy and when I go to put the chosen one into the cart…Freddie runs about 6 steps ahead. So, I run to catch up and he sprints about 8-10 steps further on. Before long, I’m chasing him up and down the aisles and we’re laughing like fools and people are beginning to stare. Finally, stifling a giggle, I grab the vehicle away from him, “Okay, Mister—you’ve lost your cart-pushing privileges! I’m pushing the cart from now on!”
The minute I set my purse in the basket, Freddie jumps on the front—effectively stalling it where it stands.
“Get off the cart, Freddie!”
“I wanna ride!”
“You’re heavy! Get off!”
“You don’t love me….”
“Oh, for crying out loud. All right, but behave yourself.!” Grunting with the effort of attempting to push a grocery cart that now weighs 200 pounds, I finally manage to move it 20 feet or so to the paper products aisle. Freddie is grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
“What are you up to?” I ask. I know that look.
“Don’t give me that. I know you—“ And then I look down and see that he’s been dragging his size 10 foot on the floor, adding even more resistance to moving the basket.
He laughs and gets down. “Oops! My foot musta slipped.”
I just shake my head. “Right.”
I start checking out the prices on the paper towels and when I turn around, Freddie is now about 20 feet away, in his “Michael Jordan” mode—making basket after basket with assorted brands of toilet paper. There are now approximately 20 packages of tissue in my cart.
Trying not to laugh and thus encourage him, I yell, “STOP THAT!!!!!”
People are gathering to watch.
Freddie, all innocence, “What?”
I start putting the toilet paper back on the shelf. He, in the meantime is replacing them with boxes of facial tissue. This goes on for another few minutes until he gets bored with the game and disappears around the corner. A woman who’s been watching this whole debacle laughs. “I have one of those at home,” she says. “Of course, mine is 3.”
I shrug, smiling. “He’s 50 going on 3!”
I finish putting the last of the paper products away and continue to the next aisle. No sign of Freddie, thank goodness. I can finish my shopping in peace.
At the checkout counter the clerk is ringing up my groceries when I stop her. “Hey, those aren’t my ice cream bars!
“Uh—they were in your basket.”
“How did those four packages of Cheetos get in there?”
“Hmmm”, she says, with a lifted eyebrow, “You might want to ask him.” She points at Freddie who has suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, grinning like a hyperactive 4 year old
I look at him suspiciously, “Where have you been?”
“Just messin around….”
The clerk waves for my attention: “So…will you be wanting this package of chicken feet?”
At this point, Freddie gives me his most lovable grin and in his best Bart Simpson voice says, “HA HA!!!! You love me!”
“No! I don’t. You’re a pain in the butt!”
“Yes you do!”
I Sigh. “Okay. I do. But I don’t have to like it!”
The clerk and the three people behind us in line are laughing out loud by now.
In the car, as we drive home, Freddie goes into his “bet I can drive you crazy” mode, grabbing my knee, tickling the back of my neck, rolling my window up and down.
“Quit it, Freddie!”
The response is, of course, an escalation of the behavior until I give him “The Look”, and he settles down.
All is quiet for the next quarter mile when suddenly he says, “Ha-Ha!”
I groan. “Ha-Ha what?”
“Ha-ha” he says tickled with himself, “You’re married to me!”
* * *
So, you see, I have the best of both worlds. I have a husband who is a rock in every storm and a steadfast partner in a serious marriage. A husband who shows me he loves me with his hard work around the house and in his job, by handling our finances brilliantly and who displays his affection frequently by a warm hug and a light kiss.
But I also get to live with a bona fide character, a best friend who constantly surprises me, who makes me laugh like nobody’s business and who honestly believes that affection is best shown by a well-timed, heartfelt wedgie.