Kindness Trumps the Rest


With a disappointed sigh, Willie (my black lab) reluctantly crosses the room and lies down on the carpet. He’s not supposed to be in this room. He’s supposed to be in the part of the house that has tile– that’s where his bed is too. But he [and Sydney (my yellow lab) and Dennis (my yellow tabby who thinks he’s a dog)] want to be where I am– always. The sigh came because I told him I’d petted him for long enough tonight and even the “puppy-wuppy” eyes weren’t going to change my mind. I have to write the blog so I can go to bed.

God, it is so quiet here in America Junction, Alabama! Through the double-pane storm windows I can hear the crickets and cicadas– oh, and there’s the frog chiming in. Inside, me scratching my beard was the loudest sound and seemed to fill the room– “was” because Willie has now decided to bathe himself. If I won’t groom him anymore, he’ll just do it himself, I reckon he thought.

There’s only about a half inch left in the candle Mom bought me. It came in a non-throwaway lead crystal container that would make a fine rocks glass if I ever decided to go back to drinking bourbon. I don’t see that happening. If it was ever going to work for me again, it would have in the eight years I tried (defiantly) to go back to drinking with impunity after I had already crossed that line into alcoholism. A raisin ain’t never gonna be a grape again. It’s been 20+ now without a drink and coming on 18 with none of the other “dry goods” to get me loaded.

I wanted to see that feller I went on a first date with last night again tonight. (Lord, what an awful sentence!) Anyway, I wanted to see him again tonight. But he had to work in his garden. I would have offered to help, not only because I wanted to see him again but also because I love to work in the garden but I didn’t want to seem pushy. I do think he enjoyed our date too so it’s not like I felt like he was brushing me off. He probably has the maturity to consciously go slow with something nice in the beginning. I have always been found completely lacking in this form of maturity (as well as many others). On our date, we spent the first hour driving around his orchard and garden. He showed me the bees he keeps and all the different things he’s growing. He’s a natural farmer with no pesticides or fertilizer except for horse manure. You can tell he’s done his research and knows a lot about growing zones and climate and watering practices. He’s no dummy for sure. I’ve met a lot of sexy men in my day but if they can’t hold their own with me intellectually, it’s pretty much a deal breaker in the relationship department. Does that sound snobby? Hey, you can’t stay in the sack forever! You eventually have to have a conversation. This guy might be smarter than me and that’s saying a lot! Oh lighten up. I’m joking. Sort of.

He bounced around and talked about building his house and about the garden. He talked about his relationship with his father. I enjoyed listening to him and his excitement regarding the things about which he is passionate was a beautiful thing to witness. He talked a lot and I said very little. For a second I realized how different it was from most of the interactions I have given how much I love to talk about myself. I even wondered how that might play out in the long run if I were to end up marrying this man. (Am I the only person who wonders about marriage on a first date?) Then something weird happened. He asked me a question about myself and then he just shut up. He shut and listened! We switched from gardening to fishing and as we unhitched his boat and started trolling the sloughs of Smith Lake, he just listen to me ramble on and on trying to tell the story (in a somewhat succinct manner– not my strong suit) about how I came to pray in the Native American tradition. At some point, frustrated with myself that I couldn’t seem to come to the end of the story, I said as much to him. “I’m sorry, I just don’t seem to be able to come to the end of this story.” He just looked at me and said, “This story doesn’t have an end.” Wow. The depth and wisdom of his simple statement and his subtly nuanced way of expressing it stopped me in my tracks. And then he urged me on and went back to listening– deeply listening. Do you know how rare that is these days?

Before I met the man I was with for eight years, I had a “shopping list” for the man I wanted to meet and marry. It had, I believe, about 100 characteristics on it. I don’t remember that many of them but I do remember number one. “You shouldn’t be able to tell he’s gay by affect or speech.” Out of a hundred, that one was first. Well I did meet and marry a man like that and after many years of heartache, you want to know what number one on my shopping list is now? Well, I don’t have a shopping list now; I’ve gone more with the “trust God and I’ll know it when I see it policy.” But I do have a good idea what I’m looking for and at the top of that (mental) list is: he must be kind— and the guy I hung out with last night might be one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He sure seems so. And I also don’t want to make it sound like he doesn’t have a lot of those other qualities too– it’s just that he has a whole lot more going for him than the fact that you wouldn’t assume he’s gay if you met him on the street. If that’s the most a man can say about himself, I pity him.

The one drawback about “fellow from last night” is that he doesn’t sit around scowling all the time. He smiles a lot. But I could work through that. Scowling, aparently, has always rated high on my list of attractive characteristic. (Gosh, I’m a sicko.) This guy is smart, handsome, funny, and cool with who he is. The trifecta plus.

Okay, positively all the gushing I’m going to do about him for now. I am going to let it alone, take it very slow and easy and see what happens. I’m also acutely aware that I’ve just come out of a period of great loss (still reeling from it in fact) and it would be very easy to jump into a relationship for the comfort and distraction that provides. I need to sit with my grief and properly mourn as that is the healthy thing to do. I feel like on some level it may not even have hit me fully yet that my best friend of almost fifty years is not going to be around in the flesh any more. With regard to the man from last night, I’ll just say what Mom said to me a hundred times. “Well at the very least you’ve made a new friend.” Thanks Mom.

I’m going to get up early and do the edits on Lilac and Liquor. I want to start seriously shopping that play and decide how I want to approach getting it produced. I do believe that it is a good play, even if I did channel it myself. My dramatic writing and poetry doesn’t come from me but through me and if God is my muse He/She/It might as well be my producer too. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to suit up and show up for the footwork. Part of that footwork is to do these revisions and start getting the script out there. I have three more scripts in this laptop that are at the “nearly finished” or “ready for revisions” stages. I don’t want to wait until I’m dead to see them onstage.

There’s much more to say and I’ve enjoyed visiting with y’all as always. I did want to tell you about my dance adventure at The Quest over the weekend but that will just have to wait until tomorrow. Remind me if I forget, will you? Also ask me if I worked on the revisions to Lilac and Liquor for at least two hours tomorrow. I seem to be able to find a lot of things to do instead of rewrites. Ugh. Will you do that for me? Thanks.

See y’all tomorrow.

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