This morning my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) and I were clueing each other in on our respective schedules for the day. I had a dental appointment, which means I was picking up our dear friend Ruth, because we always go to the dentist together. Ruth doesn’t drive, we go to the same dentist, and I love Ruth dearly, so it’s a great excuse to see each other and catch up on our respective families and lives.
Did I mention that Ruth has a birthday in a few weeks? No? Okay, she’s turning 98 in a couple of weeks. A-mazing. She has a better memory than I do, and it doesn’t hurt that she looks about 75. No joke. Oh yes, and she just signed another two-year lease on her apartment. She lives independently. She is my hero and my personal role model. If I’m doing as well at 78 as she is at 98, I’ll be quite satisfied.
So, one more little detail. Ruth’s daughter and I were best friends in our youth, and in the early ‘70s we married brothers. This means that Ruth’s grandsons and my kids are first cousins. Diagram it, it’s true. So Ruth is family because we love her, but we also have a familial claim on her.
I lied—here’s one last bit of trivia… You could not say the name “Ruth B.” in front of my dad without him stopping you and interjecting, “She’s such a doll!” Okay, I’m done. I’m just saying….
So I was going to the dentist, then to take Ruth on whatever errands she needed to do, then to lunch. I always look forward to our outings.
CoTU was planning to drop off some items at his parents’ place, pick up some 9-volt batteries, and make a perfunctory stop at Home Depot. If he’s not there every couple of days, they call us to make sure he’s all right. Kidding. A little.
In the middle of his rundown, I subconsciously reached up to adjust my necklace. CoTU stopped abruptly, and said, “What???”
I said, “Nothing, I’m listening—go on.”
“No,” he said, “are you trying to show me your necklace? Was I supposed to notice something?”
I shook my head. “Honestly, I was innocently fiddling with it to make sure it was centered. What would you think you were supposed to notice?”
“Well,” he ventured, “I don’t remember seeing that before. I thought maybe it was new.”
“Hmmm. This is the necklace I took with us to Abby’s wedding in Chicago a few weeks ago. I wore it for three solid days. I wore it on our tenth anniversary a few weeks ago. I wore it when we went out for dinner last week. I’ve had it since before I met you. It’s probably the piece of jewelry I wear most often, sweetheart.”
He fidgeted and shuffled and looked at his watch. “You know,” he said, “it’s not even nine o’clock and I’m already in trouble.”
“Look at the bright side,” I reasoned. “At least we weren’t up at six—you probably saved yourself a good three hours in the doghouse.”
But I tossed him a Milk-Bone before I left.