here are a few things in life that i am thankful for. my beautifully perfect upbringing in a mid-size college town in the south. the helpful attention support and love from my folks. the loving respect for my older brother. summers of fort building and autumns filled with endless adventures. friends that still to this day bring light to my heart and elevate me to be the best i can be.
i have stumbled, i have fallen, i have asked if getting back up is really a desire.
i have eaten crow, i have soared on the wings of dreams, i have seen better, walked farther and tried harder and still think it is only the beginning.
i was shallow and vain, self absorbed and it took the distant disregard from the costume designer of a collegiate play for me to question my intention, my through line, and what i really wanted from the quest of my life.
it is funny and simple how it started. a challenge. always a challenge seems to be the beginning. how to get her to look my direction? how to get her to see me? how to to get her attention? how to show her that i am interested?
i was cast in several roles in this particular play one of which was the part of the Astronomical Horse. of which the director had an abstract fantastical concept which fell heavily on the shoulders of the costume designer to pull off. she had the means and ability to explore develop and achieve the desired effect. a newly acquired skill of spot welding paid off in spades as she constructed a frame of rebar and fur with the incorporation of organics, specifically the skull of a bull/cow horns and all.
the specifics and necessity of attention to this particular costume required us (the costume designer and myself) to have several one on one fitting sessions. the details are vague. it was fall in the south, first play of the season, in a space previously unused for theater. a periphery
aluminum building near the cow palace.
i remember seeing her off hours in a local convenience store, and choked voice moist palms nervous i tried to start up a conversation. i don’t know what the hell i said. more than likely something stupid but she might have smiled and i might have made eye contact. i think i asked her out.
but before a date, we had a fitting. we worked outside near the greek theatre. i remember feeling nervous and excited, comfortable and out of my skin. i remember the weight of the head piece sitting on my shoulders. curiously musing as to how in the hell she had made this thing. she had acetylene touch and hot glue, fake furs and a enormous cow skull. she pulled pieces and tools from a beat-up red Karmann Ghia. i marveled at her ingenuity and attention to detail.
she lived in a one bedroom on campus and couldn’t understand why her landlord was giving her grief over painting her bedroom red, blood red. not that light glowing red. that dark deep red that blasts from the elevators in the all too memorable scene from the shining. i think i offered to help. we departed on our date and i backed over a fire hydrant on that first date. no i did not break it off, but i ripped the front fender of my isuzu trooper like a can of sardines. i knew that would not bode well for further dates. but it was forgotten as immediately as it happened. we laughed and drank and danced and talked and time stood still and we smiled and kissed and the air was electric.
through the production we kept our developing relationship quiet. our secret. but by closing she had moved into my shotgun apartment in spanish town. we have lived together ever since. we have been side by side though hell and back. in the north in the south, traversing the east and settling in the west. highs and lows. successes and failures. she has kept me focused. she has kept me alive. she has inspired, elevated, infuriated, stimulated and cared. i desire the best for her. i try to be my best for her. she makes everyday the best day. even when it seems like it’s not. i deserve her because i can’t see life without her, i am selfish like that. we have changed, we have stood our ground, we go nose to nose and end every day together and i would have it no other way. i thank her for her patience and understanding i am grateful for her and what we have achieved because of us.
we have the most fantastic daughter in the world and i am a part of that but it is because of my wife, my love, that makes our greatest accomplishment so satisfying. she swells with the best parts of both of us, she suffers from our shortcomings, she learns from our successes and failures and that is ok. we talk. we communicate the best we can. sometimes it is wonderful, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it just doesn’t work that great which brings doubt, but then we take a breathe we try to find a time and place where we can all come together. patience, consideration observing the bigger things that are out there. we are a part of something magical, all of us. i am so fortunate to be on this ride with these special people and you know it just would not be possible with out my babette.