Chapter 10 ~ Doing It Our Way

Chapter 10 ~ He Has To Be Comfortable In Jeans

Grace used her fork as it were an artist’s tool, moving the pieces to her spinach salad around hoping to find the perfect configuration. She moved a walnut next to pecan, then placed a small piece of avocado on top of them.
Jane looked at her, “I thought you loved spinach salad. You haven’t touched your wine. You need to eat something. What’s bothering you?”
Grace looked up at Jane. She gave her a half-hearted smile, shrugged her shoulders, “I guess I’m not hungry. Nothing is bothering me.”
“For eleven ninety-five for a lunch salad I hope you’ll eat it. Come on girl, let’s talk about it. I know you and I know when something is bothering you.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Grace staring at her salad.
“I already know what’s bothering you. James called me. He wanted to know if you’re stable.”
Grace looked up and smiled, “Did he? Tell him no. Tell him I’m dangerous and I’m a work release program from the women’s prison.”
They both laughed. Grace picked up her glass of wine and clinked glasses with Jane.
“Did he tell you the difference between a curve ball and fast ball?” asked Grace.
Jane bent closer to Grace and said softly, “He asked me what you were talking about? He had no clue. Did you pull that question out of thin air?”
“No, Matt gave it to me. James is such a jerk. He’s only interested in his own brilliance. He’d sell his soul for a few bucks and I think he already sold it to Paxton. You know what the worse part of the experience, don’t guess, I’ll tell you. He dared to call me a cheap date when it wasn’t even a date.”
“Eleven ninety-five plus wine isn’t cheap. But, it’s not a date,” laughed Jane.
Grace smiled, “I’m okay now. I’m starving. Thank you for the salad. I fell for him at the barbecue. I actually did. He charmed me. I am so grateful I woke up before it went any further, if you know what I mean.”
“You’ve been out of the game, girl. Alice told me about him at the gym and I gave him a call. I didn’t vet him myself. Will you give me one more chance?”
“No way. We made a deal. No more setups. No more blind dates. You remember our agreement, don’t you?”
“Why sure I do, girlfriend. You know I never back out of an agreement, right?” asked Jane.
Grace shook her head and put a fork full of spinach salad into her mouth. She chewed it and looked at Jane. Jane picked up her glass of wine, took a sip and set it down.
Grace swallowed her food, then said, “Spill it. You can’t hold it in. We’ve been friends too long for you to try to hide something on me. You will not rest until you think I’ve found the right man.”
“Now that you ask,” said Jane.
“Slow down. Before you say another word, I am going to give you my guidelines for any guy. If he doesn’t meet these criteria take your black magic marker and drawn a thick line through his name.”
“This ought to be good,” said Jane. She reached for a piece of hard crusty bread and drew it through the olive oil and spices before taking a bite.
Grace scooped up a walnut and pecan along with a dried cherry and chewed on it. Her deep brown eyes gave off an impish sparkle.
“I know that look, Grace. Oh, I know it. You’re going to make it impossible for me to find the right match. Well, girl, you’re on, spill it,” said Jane with a chuckle.
“Here is my criteria for Jane’s match service dot com. I am five feet six inches tall. He’s got to be at least 5 feet ten inches tall.”
“Easily done,” said Jane.
“He has to be physically fit. I don’t mean a runner type. Let’s put some muscle on this dude’s body. I don’t want a pretty boy.”
“Not a problem,” said Jane.
“He has to be comfortable in worn jeans and scruffy shoes. And, doesn’t mind getting barbecue sauce on his fingers.”
“Making it tougher for me. There goes James,” laughed Jane.
“He likes to watch football and can talk sports and politics,” said Grace.
“We live in Texas, that covers about eighty percent of the male population,” said Jane.
“I’ve got more. He’s into protecting the environment. He takes pollution and global warming seriously,” said Grace.
“That knocks out eighty percent of the eighty percent of males in Texas,” said Jane with a laugh. “Anything else?” she added.
“Oh, just one little thing. This one is the deal breaker. If this doesn’t work, all of the above don’t matter,” said Grace.
“I can’t wait to hear it. Let me see. He’s a millionaire. He has a big ranch and a ski lodge in the mountains. I know, he’s been looking for the right woman all his life,” said Jane.
“No, you’re not even close,” said Grace.
“Well, what is it?” said Jane.
“Matt has to give me two thumbs up or it won’t happen,” said Grace.
Jane stared at her. Then she said, “I’ve got to figure out what Matt wants and then find this guy and make sure he fits into what you want, that it?”
“You got it. Good luck,” laughed Grace.

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Someone Should Start Laughing Now – Poem by Hafez

Someone Should Start Laughing Now

by Hafez

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing ‘Now!

 

Today’s Quote by Victor Hugo

Today’s Quote

Go out in the world and work like money doesn’t matter, sing as if no one is listening, love as if you have never been hurt, and dance as if no one is watching. ~ Victor Hugo

 

Chapter 5 – Doing It Our Way

Chapter 5 – I Don’t Know What I’m Going To Do With You

Grace didn’t dare wait on the porch for the man of the house. That’s what Matt considered himself. The thought made her chuckle to herself. She stood by the living room window staring up the street, the opposite direction from Ellen’s house. She checked her iPhone, it was two oh five. Matt promised to be home by two. Then she remembered, Mike, he was never on time. He was even late for their wedding. He made some excuse to Father Pailo he was held up by a long train. It was a bitter sweet memory for her.
A quick movement at the end of the street interrupted Grace’s thought. There he comes, she thought. Matt was in the lead and three other skateboarders followed him. He signaled to his friends to catch up and parallel him on the street. The four boys skateboarded down the street in one line spanning the road’s width. Matt carried the basketball and tossed it to Tommy who tossed it to Jimmy who tossed it to Todd. And, so it went, the ball traveling back and forth between skateboarders until Matt peeled off into his driveway waving goodbye to his friends.
He jumped off the skateboard and watched it glide into the open garage stopping when it hit the rear garage wall. He bounded across the lawn and took the three steps onto the porch with a single bound. He opened the door, “Hi, Mom. You catch the way we came down the street passing the ball? Really cool, right?”
“Yes, it was really, cool, but I think it’s a bit dangerous. What if cars were coming?”said Grace.
“We were careful, Mom. Besides, there weren’t any cars. I had it all under control,” said Matt heading to the kitchen to grab a snack.
Grace followed Matt. She watched the way he walked, just like Mike. I’m watching a small version of Mike, a image of Mike came into her mind. Oh, I wish I didn’t have to go today.
Matt walked straight to the refrigerator, opened the door, and stared, “What’s good in here, Mom? I’m starving.”
“We’re going to Jane’s for the barbecue, remember. We leave in forty-five minutes. There are oranges and grapes on the table. Leave time to shower, and change your clothes.”
Matt took an orange and picked off four grapes, “Do I have to, Mom? I’m clean, look at me.”
“Yes, you have to and before you put the grapes in your mouth, wash your hands. You must have a billion germs on your hands,” said Grace.
“No, I don’t, Mom. I only have two thousand, three hundred, twenty-one. I counted them,” said Matt heading to the sink, turning the faucet on and placing his hands in the running water.
“Soap. Soap, Matt.”
“Got it,” Matt said and turned toward Grace and gave her the same impish smile his dad did so many times.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with you,” said Grace.
“Do what Dad always said when you said the same thing to him,” said Matt.
“And, what was that, Matthew.”
“Remember, Mom. When you said, I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, Dad would always says, love me. It always made you smile,” said Matt wiping his hands on his t-shirt. He turned and headed toward his room, tossing the orange up close to the ceiling and catching it behind his back.
Grace stood across the kitchen area and followed Matt as he walked to his room, her eyes moistening, and she gently shook her head.

Today’s Quote by Mihai Eminescu

Today’s Quote

I understand that a man can have everything having nothing and nothing having everything. ~ Mihai Eminescu

Patience – A Poem by Tagore

Patience by Rabindranath Tagore

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. 
I will keep still and wait like the night with starry vigil 
and its head bent low with patience. 

The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, 
and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky. 

Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my birds’ nests, 
and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.

Today’s Quote – January 10, 2018

Today’s Quote

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. ~ Thomas Merton

Chapter 1 – Doing It Our Way

Chapter 1

The two friends stood in line at Starbucks. Five people were in front of them, a couple in their thirties, a male college aged student, a male about 35 dressed in slacks and tie who looked like he was on his way to work. And, a woman about 25 with a young baby in a papoose. It was 9 a.m. on Saturday.
“Grace, there’s only one table left, do you mind getting my coffee, you know what I like, I’ll reimburse you. I’m going to grab the last table before anyone in front of us beats us to it,” said Jane Ferri.
“Good idea. I’ve got it, don’t worry about it. The usual, right?” Asked Grace Conti.
Jane smiled and gave Grace a soft pat on her shoulder. Jane quickly walked to a high table for two with stools in the far corner of Starbucks. She sat with her back to the wall, and looked up at the line. She saw the couple pay and take their drinks, turn and look at her. They were not happy. Well, too bad, Grace and I need to talk, she thought.
Grace made it to the front of the line, “Hi Tim.”
“Hi, Grace. The usual?” Said Tim, the Starbucks barista.
“The usual for me and a grande chai latte for my friend,” said Grace nodding toward Jane.
“Okay, that will be a grande skinny vanilla latte for you and a grande chi latte for your friend. How’s Matt doing?” Said Tim ringing in the order.
“He’s a nice kid. He’s doing okay. Thanks for asking,” said Grace. She smiled at Tim. He returned the smile. Grace took her receipt and walked over to await her order.
Five minutes later, Grace thanked the barista for the order, picked up the drinks, and walked to table Jane earlier grabbed. She placed the drinks on the table and climbed onto the stool. “I’m glad you got the table. This place is packed,” she said.
Jane pointed out the window, “It’s Saturday, there’s a big football game in town and the farmer’s market is going on up the street. It’s the perfect combination to fill Starbucks at 9. How’s everything going with you? We haven’t seen each other in three weeks. You don’t answer my texts. I was afraid I did something wrong.”
Grace held her drink with both hands, took a sip, set it down, and looked at Jane, “You’re my best friend. I’m sorry. I should have answered your texts. The last three weeks have been tough for me. I know you understand.”
Jane studied Grace’s face for a moment. Grace’s eyes were watering. Grace reached for a napkin and dabbed at the corner of her eyes, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. I can’t help it, sometimes. It was three years on the 8th. It feels like yesterday. I can’t get past it. I’ll be okay in few days.”
Jane reached over and briefly touched Grace’s hand, “I’m sorry. I forgot. Has it been three years?”
Grace gave Jane a half-hearted smile, “Three years. Three long, long years. I still feel like I’m walking in a fog.”
“How’s Matt doing?” Asked Jane.
“I wish I were as strong as Matt. He’s only in 7th grade and he goes about his life like nothing happened. He’s involved in school. He has lots of good friends. He keeps a large photo of Mike on his wall. It’s one of Mike in Afghanistan. He doesn’t know I’m watching, but he touches the photo each time he walks in and out of his room. He wants to be just like Mike. He wants to play football, basketball and track. And, he wants to go to one of the military academies, just like Mike. Why? Because Mike did. I can’t help him with sports. I mean, I know what a football is. I know what a basketball is. I can watch a game on TV and know what’s going on, but I can’t tell him how to play. I was interested in gymnastics and ballet,” said Grace.
“Where’s Matt now?” Asked Jane.
“He’s at his friend Tommy’s house with some friends. Tommy is a year older than Matt and lives four houses down and the boys play basketball in Tommy’s backyard. I told him I’d be home at 11 and I wanted him home by 11:15. He’s really good at listening to me. I talked with Ellen, Tommy’s mother, she said she’d keep an eye on him. It’s not easy being mom and dad to boy who thinks he has to be the man of the house,” said Grace sipping her latte.
Jane took a deep breath, she sipped on her Chai tea, and set it down, “I know Ellen, she’s nice, her husband Dan he’s a bit weird, but okay if you don’t mind their ultra liberal politics.”
“I don’t pay too much attention to politics. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, we live in a free country. So, why should I care?” Said Grace.
“I guess so. Although, Ellen’s a lot nicer than Dan. When Dan starts talking politics he rants against the government. He hates the military. He sees a conspiracy around every corner,” said Jane.
“It keeps him busy,” said Grace managing a small laugh.
Jane said, “We’re good friends, right?”
Grace looked at Jane, “Yes? Usually, when you say, we’re good friends, you have something to tell me you think I don’t want to hear. Am I right?”
Jane nodded, “If I am out of line, say so and I’ll stop. Fair enough?”
“I know what you’re going to say. I don’t want to talk about it. How many times have we gone down this road? I think a dozen times and the answer is still going to be the same, no. Grace’s words held the chill of an Article blast in the middle of January.”
“I’m your friend, Grace, not your enemy. Please, Grace, listen to me. You’re thirty-four years old. I wish I had your looks and figure. You need to be dating. It’s been three years since Mike was killed in Afghanistan. You’ve got to let it go and get on with your life. Matt needs an adult male figure in his life. You need a man in your life. I don’t think you’ve dated once in the last three years, have you?” Asked Jane.
“If you don’t count the times you tried to set me up with dinner at your house, I haven’t dated. I don’t feel like dating. I had one love in my life, and that was Mike. I’ll never find another like him,” said Grace fighting back a wave of emotions.
Jane listened and saw the pain etched on Grace’s face like fine lines carved with an artist’s sculpting blade.
Jane said, “There is no other Mike. Maybe there may be someone different from Mike who’ll be a good husband and father in a different way. You’ll never know until you try. You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. I saw Tim look at you when you were ordering our drinks. He likes you.”
“He’s five years younger than me, at least. I’m doing okay. Is the sermon over? Let’s talk about something else. Want to go to the farmer’s market with me?” said Grace trying to move the conversation in a different direction.
Jane absentmindedly ran her hand through her hair and reset her ponytail. “Grace, you haven’t worn makeup in three years. Not even a touch of lipstick. Nearly every time I see you, you’re wearing your workout clothes. I know you don’t spend all day at the gym. Do you wear them to work?”
“No,” said Grace curtly.
“What if I plan a barbecue next Saturday afternoon? I”ll invite Ellen and Dan and Tommy. I’ll invite a few other friends as well. It will be casual. I want you to bring Matt, he’ll have Tommy to play with. And, yes, there will be an eligible bachelor there. Please, try it one more time. I promise, if you come and nothing happens, I won’t bring it up again,” Jane said.
“You mean it? You won’t bring it up again? Promise?”
“Yes, Grace. I mean it,” said Jane.
“Okay, we’ll go. Matt and I will be there. But, I already know, I’m not interested.”

Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell To Baseball”

Baseball great Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) a fatal disease. On July 4, 1939, he made a farewell speech at Yankee Stadium and expressed his gratitude for being able to play baseball. An example for all of us.

Lou Gehrig Speech – Farewell to Baseball 

Delivered on 4 July 1939, New York

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

Sure I’m lucky.

Quote for Today – January 6, 2018

Today’s Quote

The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe. ~ Albert Einstein