Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Bones of My Priors, an Interpretive Talk

You sign on to make potato soup and next thing you know, you're the unwitting star of "This is Your Life."

Despite that I'm practically drowning in work this week, I'd promised my Mom I'd make my usual trek to the Northern Neck to help her prepare for her annual women's club St. Patrick's Day luncheon. And by "help," I mean do all the potato peeling and dicing, onion and celery chopping, cooking and stirring required for 60 servings of potato and cheese soup.

Mom devoted her energies to making three loaves of Irish soda bread with raisins and caraway seed, only one of which I helped her with, though I did make a pound cake. This collaboration of ours has been going on for over a decade now, with my share of the workload steadily increasing.

I'm fine with that. It's a busy, messy, hot day with lots of conversation, all for a good cause.

But when Mom requested my help this year, she wanted more than a day of my life. She wanted me to stay overnight so I could help her schlep four crock pots full of soup, three loaves of bread, paper products, party favors and two floral arrangements to the Women's Club the next morning.

Of course I said yes.

But then it turned out that Mr. Wright was going to be in Irvington, so I suggested to Mom and Dad that he join us for dinner, an idea they loved. When he arrived with a bottle of Simonet Blanc de Blanc, they liked him even better.

It wasn't an elaborate meal for two reasons: I'd volunteered to make it and the last thing I felt like doing after a full day of cooking and baking was cook some more. Making a Cobb salad and baking a pan of cornbread was about all I could muster.

But the bubbles and the relaxed mood backfired on me once we finished eating. Out of the blue, my Dad begins lamenting to Mr. Wright, "It's a shame she didn't meet you sooner" and goes on to dissect my entire love life before he arrived on the scene.


I'm talking about him going all the way back to my first boyfriend and then discoursing on every man in my life since, although not in chronological order. He'd bring someone up and then start explaining why he knew that man wasn't right for me.

Every now and then, my Mom would chime in, explaining that she never really liked so-and-so, but my Dad was definitely driving the conversational bus (with the aid of more bubbly, of course).

The funny part was, I learned (or was reminded) of all kinds of things from my past that had long ago been misfiled or forgotten entirely.  Meanwhile, Mr. Wright got to hear about my bad choices in excruciating detail, from the one with a motorcycle to the one with multiple tattoos (before ink was cool). The long and the short-term. The ones I married, the ones I agreed to marry and then backed out on and the ones I lived with.

One, Dad claimed, simply wasn't up to the task of handling my large and talkative family. Another, to my surprise, had taken Dad aside and asked permission to marry me. That was news to me. And when Mom shared who her favorite had been, I didn't have the heart to tell her how lousy he was in bed.

Just when I was thinking that the topic was waning, one of my parents would mention another "prior," as my Dad dubbed them the very first time he met Mr. Wright, and the reminiscing galloped off again in another direction.

Truly, I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if Dad had motioned toward the door and said one of their names and they'd come walking in the room to surprise me.

Fortunately, though, "This is Your Life" only lasted an hour or so before they'd passed judgement on every man I'd ever been involved with. Or ran out of steam, I'm not sure which.

That was when Dad turned his microscope on Mr. Wright, curious about what he'd been doing for the past decade since that's the period my Dad takes the most issue with.

And let me tell you, when you invite your significant other to dinner with the people who spawned you, the last thing you want is to put him on the spot about why he didn't find you when your life fell apart and you first became available.

Even if it turns out he has been available since 2009 and would have been only too happy to have started this relationship sooner if he'd only known.

"She's always been the smart one," Dad informs Mr. Wright, shaking his head. "And she settles for all these duds. How did it take her so long to find you?"

This from the man who just happened to be on a triple date with another woman when he met my Mom and was instantly smitten. Happily ever after is easier - and comes sooner - for some people.

Turns out a few of us have to kiss a lot of frogs first. But as a cyclist once told me, the reward for being a slow starter is a strong finish.

All I can say is, about damn time. And, Dad, better late than never.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely!

    I would of loved to have a fly on THAT wall.

    Parental approval is a sweet thing.... especially at this late decade. Lucky girl.