Love Is Silly, Frivolous, and Grand

Before Thanksgiving, my husband asked me to provide ideas for upcoming gift-giving occasions: my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. I answered as I have for several years: “I don’t need anything. We’re trying to downsize anyway. Let’s put our money into our home or travel.” He usually agreed, but in 2011, he felt the need to give and pressed me for a list.

When he had asked several times, I sighed and listed my excess: “I already have too many rings; after I retired, I stopped wearing earrings daily so I have more than I need. I never wear bracelets because they’re impractical; they catch on things as I work or clatter against surfaces when I write. Necklaces seem a bit ridiculous with casual wear so, I guess, the only think I lack is a tiara.”

I thought he’d recognize the joke. After all, he’s a very clever man whose opinions and insights I still enjoy. But I forgot that in his efforts to make me happy, he can be quite literal, lacking in all poetical skills.

For example, in our current home, we have a fine brick and mortar mailbox column with matching planters on each side. The sprinkler system doesn’t serve those planters because if it did, it would also water the asphalt neighborhood street, a practice too wasteful to be seriously considered. The proximity of those planters to the street and sidewalk is also detrimental to plant life because dogs being walked on leashes find them seductive. Apparently, there are few places on earth more appealing than a raised planter bed. As a consequence, dog urine splashed my gardenias to death.

I was sorry to see them go and shared my sorrow with my spouse. He commiserated and asked me what I would next plant in those beds. Frustrated by the number of different plants I’d tried in those beds, I answered sarcastically. I vowed to buy metallic gold spray paint so that those dead gardenia branches bleaching in the sun could shine day or night. My husband had nothing to say in reply. I thought he surely could recognize insincerity. But I was wrong. Two days later, he returned home with a bag holding two cans of metallic gold paint.

Photo credit: Connye Griffin

I was as surprised by those cans as I was by the tiara. I’d forgotten all about that silly speech, but he’d been trying to figure out where he could buy an authentic tiara. He was so proud when he told me he’d finally thought to look in a vintage clothing store. What else could I be but unabashedly sincere in thanking him.

He remembered and communicated to me once more that he would literally corral the stars for me if he could. And I remembered why I supported him when he wanted to start his own business or learn to play the drums. We understand that making grand, life-changing dreams–and even frivolous ones–come true is part of what keeps marriages alive through the decades.

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Connye Griffin
My life has both purpose and meaning because I weave words together to inform, inspire, and illustrate. As a former teacher with thirty-seven years of experience and now as a freelance writer and editor, I have coached others to communicate their messages effectively and listened closely to help others record their memories. I have written, edited, and coached all my days, and these have made for very good days.