Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body; but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wineglass in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming, “WOO HOO! What a ride!” Anonymous
My husband Jim is older than me and spent his formative years listening to all sorts of music, most of it at extremely high decibels. His dad was a jazz musician (bass player), and played with some amazingly talented artists – like Lena Horne! He played with her at a jazz joint called The Happy Hour in downtown Minneapolis. Bernie also knew Manfredo Fest and introduced me to him at the Dakota a few years before Manfredo passed away. This after two mind-blowing hours of listening to Manfredo play the piano and keyboard – I was transported.
Actually, there’s a funny story about that night. A few weeks before, Jim and some of our family had been out at a restaurant where there was a piano player. As we were sitting and enjoying a lucious lunch with beautiful music accompanying our gastronomic adventure, Jim leaned over to whisper
sweet nothings something he thought was interesting in my ear. Now first of all, understand that years of listening to very loud music and running motorcycles at full speed have understandably somewhat dimmed Jim’s ability to hear well. And because of this, his “whispers” are pretty loud. This is what he said to me: “Did you know the piano player is blind?” I was pretty impressed by that and of course started watching the piano player very closely (didn’t notice everyone around me snickering for some reason). After watching the piano player for a few minutes, I realized I’d been watching him turn the pages as he played. A victim of my own gullibility again.
So anyhow, when we went to see Manfredo Fest, who actually was blind (and I knew that), Jim leaned over to me and informed me, in one of his signature stage whispers, that Manfredo was blind. Hmmph. I saw my opportunity and I TOOK IT. Knowing we were going to be spending some time with Manfredo after the show, I told Jim “You can fool me once, but only once. I know you’re kidding me”. I continued to insist that I knew that Jim was just pulling my leg. He got more and more agitated as the show neared the end, and finally, when I told him that I was going introduce myself to Manfredo by saying, “Hi, I’m Kim, Bernie’s daughter-in-law – I heard you’re blind, how’s that working for you?” Jim was almost wringing his hands he was so worried. Of course, I wouldn’t have said any such thing regardless of what I actually believed, but the point is, my little chicks, that whoever said revenge is sweet doesn’t know the half of it!
But, back to my original point. The older we get, the more our senses seem to fail us. Which frankly, is actually pretty funny at times. Not being able to hear or see as well can cause some pretty funny communication problems. Here’s a great example. My husband and my step dad, sitting at the table with my mom and me. We’re eating. My husband looks at my step dad and says, “Do you have any ketchup?” My step dad replies, “The pepper is on the counter”. At this, my husband gets up and gets the ketchup out of the refrigerator. Leading to much hilarity between my mom and me; who, by the way, can hear a pin drop at a hundred yards – in spite of having Parkinson’s disease (I always ask her what’s shaking).
And then there’s the way we communicate. I get a call at work today from a number I don’t recognize. I listen to the message and it’s my slightly panicked husband who has lost his cell phone – he’s leaving me a message to see if it’s in the car. Since it’s a $20 tracfone I’m not too worried, so I don’t think any more about it. But, when I got home I decided to call and see if I can hear it ringing. To my surprise, Jim answers. This is our conversation: Ring Ring Ring sound of fumbling and cussing then Jim says, “Oh, you must’ve found my phone”. Now let me repeat – I am calling his phone from our home phone. “Jim, I’m calling you from home, you have your phone in your hand!”. He says, “Did you find it?” “No, YOU apparently found it, you’re using it!”. He says, “I know! Where did you find it?” At this point I said, “Let’s just talk about it when you get home”. By now I’m thoroughly confused and seriously wondering about senility or possibly dementia? Turns out he thought maybe I found it in my car and brought it home over my lunch hour. Bette Davis said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”
Yep, you can either get irritated or enjoy the ride. I think I’m going to look around and see if I can find his mom’s old hearing aids. I know they’re around here somewhere. What? Did you say something?