Last night, Gary and I sat on the porch in the dark, talking and laughing. It was good to hear him laugh; you really can’t miss Gary’s laugh. It’s infectious, and it’s as loud as mine. I don’t remember what got him started talking about his parents, but I love to hear about them. I sadly never met them; they both passed away before I came on the scene, and after hearing so much about them, I painfully regret never talking to them, never having the chance to spend time with them. They seem like honest, hard-working, loving, loyal, and vibrantly colorful people. Gary has told me many times how much his parents would have adored me, since his mother and I are a lot alike, and his father would have liked picking on me and joking with me.
Gary was telling me about a long-haired fellow who got the ill-fated notion into his head one day to make a nasty comment to Gary’s father at Wal-mart while Gary’s mom was standing with him. Gary’s father was very sick at the time and was waiting for this guy and his girlfriend to walk by so he could sit down on a bench on the other side of them and rest. The guy snapped at Gary’s dad, “Keep your eyes in your head, old man”, insinuating that Gary’s dad was eying up his girlfriend instead of just waiting to sit down, but he should have held his loose tongue, for his own sake. He barely had the words out of his mouth before Gary’s mom, who remind you was past 60 years old at this time, took a fistful of that guy’s hair and dragged his head to the ground, commanding him to apologize and every now and then snapping an indignant, “I bet his eyes are in his head NOW!” as she yanked the guy’s head around in punishment.
The guy’s first attempt at an apology did not meet her standards or her liking, so after another yank on his hair, now with both hands, and with his girlfriend tottering about howling, “Turn him loose! Turn him loose!”, the guy finally apologized to Gary’s dad from his upside-down vantage point with tears streaming down his no-longer-sneering face.
Gary showed up just before the apology, observed his mom making the mouthy guy cry, and asked the natural question: “What is going on here?”
His dad looked over at him and said nonchalantly, “I just wanted to go to Wal-mart.” After a pause, he added: “Now you see why I don’t argue with her”, to which Gary’s mom protested lovingly, “I would never do that to you!”
How could I not wish I had met these people? Gary has said he would never have let his mom and I leave the house together, unaccompanied. I smiled and said innocently, “Oh, how sweet, you would want to protect us!” Gary shot me a knowing look and informed me that it would not be me or his mom that he would be protecting.
Eh, we’d have found a way to sneak out and raise some hell, err, I mean, go shopping or sip tea somewhere.