Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tall Tales and Little Fish



My husband was a born storyteller. He honed the skill at an early age by listening to his dad who had a reputation for telling long-winded stories that often left his listeners laughing. Like father, like son. It was also a rare occasion that anyone could pull one over on Don when it came to telling the difference between a tall tale and a truth filled story. Then I entered his life and I believe one of the main reasons Don fell in love with me was because, when we first met, I was able to hook him into a fairytale about my career choice that I dragged on for 3 or 4 weeks before I finally told him the truth.

To this day I don’t know what made me tell Don that I raised tropical fish in my basement and shipped them mail order for a living---probably I didn’t want to tell this stranger I’d just met at a bowling alley/bar where I actually worked for fear he’d turn out to be a stalker or just plain not my idea of a date-able guy. But I kept in character and answered his many questions a lot easier than anyone who values Truth should have been able to accomplish. I didn’t even own a goldfish at the time! I had been researching the idea of setting up a fresh water tank so I had some useful facts and fancy fish names stuffed in the corners of my brain. The rest I just made up on the fly.

Week after week he’d come by when he knew the women’s league I was bowling on would be finishing up and he’d talk me into having a drink with him and his friend. I had a crush on his friend so it wasn't a hard sell. Always, Don was full of fish questions: How did I get customers? How did I ship my fish across the country so they wouldn’t die in route? Would I help him set up a tank? What was my favorite species of fish? “Oh, I couldn’t choose a favorite,” I told him “but the Crowntail Bettas and Black Moors sell the best.” When I finally decided the joke had gone on long enough and I told him he had fallen for a fairytale hook, line and sinker, he got a sheepish look on his face that, at the time, I couldn’t interpret. And the rest of the night he was uncharacteristically quiet so I thought that was the end of it. No more stopping by the bowling alley for this guy.

I found out later on that his friend, who was at the table when I made my confession, had told their fellow co-workers in the diemakers department that a girl had pulled one over on the King of Storytelling. In GM factory talk you can read that as: The king of bullshit just got out bullshitted big time! The following week Don showed up at the bowling alley, again, and he decided as a punishment for my big fish tale we had to go out on a date the following afternoon. Guess what we did on that date. He dragged me to a dime store where I helped him pick out two goldfish and all the supplies that went with the happy couple. The rest, as they say, is history.

This story came out of my memory vault today because I was trying to come up with a theme to write about for one of my infamous (and usually tongue-in-cheek) “Sunday Sermons.”  I had goggled ‘inspirational topics’ but I couldn’t get in the mood for serious thought that might come off sounding preachy if I didn’t write it right. Then I goggled ‘Toastmasters Club topics’ and---bingo---there, I found a suggestion to pull something out of your past that changed your life and work your speech around that memory. One thought led to another and I got to wondering if I had told Don the truth that first night we met---that I worked in the floral industry---would my life have turned out differently? He might not have been intrigued enough without my “unusual career” to keep coming back. He certainly wouldn’t have been kidded unmercifully by his co-workers for being bested by a woman. The King of Bullshit lost his crown! We've gotta meet this girl!

If this blog entry were the bones to a speech I’d written for a Toastmaster’s Club the finished product might hold an audience’s attention, but as a Sunday morning inspirational piece, it falls flat. Instead of teaching the value of being a person of high morals, it holds up an example of where telling a whooper of a lie led to love. Sunday mornings should be a time to reflect on the intrinsic values that hold civilizations together, shouldn’t they? A lie, fib, practical joke---whatever you want to call what I did---is not one of those intrinsic values, so I hope no with a young, impressionable mind is reading this. It's bad enough that the Angels who look out for soul mates are up there laughing at my hand-wringing dilemma on whether or not I should seek out a confessional booth this fine Sunday morning or to sing their praises for letting a tall tale and little fish bring two people together so many years ago. ©

11 comments:

  1. good one! i am not nearly that creative!

    smiles, bee
    xoxooxxo

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  2. I honestly think the Angels are laughing their wings off--then and now. It really wasn't a lie--in that it hurt anyone and really? You are probably right. Don was more interested in you because of your "story" and the fact that his GM buddies knew he had been taken, kept him intrigued. Way to Go, I would say!!

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    1. I think you're 100% right.

      Someday I'll have to tell the story that followed that got his work buddies back for needling him to meet me. He pulled a whooper.

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  3. Ah ha ha ha! Now I really DO want to be a face to face friend! Whoo hoo!

    Be daring! Come to Maui for a week or two!!! Maybe I'm not a mad slasher zombie widow .....

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    1. As soon as they build that bridge I'll be there. But maybe I'M the mad slasher zombie widow....would you chance that? LOL

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  4. Now, that's a charming tale, lies and all. The King of Bullshit lost his crown, but the King of Hearts found it.

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    1. Thank you. He didn't lose the crown for long. If you want to read about a time he told a whooper of a story see 'The Colorado Barstood Rancher' in the right right hand column under 'My Fondest memories.'

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  5. So funny! I wonder if you could have pulled this if Don had been the object of our crush. So easy to be flippant when we could care less about the outcome, and look what happened! Charming. Charming. Charming!

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  6. Interesting question! I've been trying to remember if I've ever done stuff like that other times and I probably have on a smaller scale. And even as recently as last year when I wrote my fake obituary book where I claimed that Don and I had been deep undercover spies our entire adult lives. And the year before when I told a stranger I'd broken my arm while taking part in roller derby.

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  7. Maybe the moral here is not to take ourselves too seriously and the value being taught is the value of whimsey and laughter. If sermons were usually this fun, I might still be going to church. :-) -Jean

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    1. I think you're on to something there. We all get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we tend to forget to add a little whimsey and laughter into our days...at least I do. I used to be such a silly-willy.

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