I am a writer—that is what I do. I am also a father—that is a part of whom I am. In addition, I am a husband, friend, and confidant—those are my choices in life. I enjoy writing. Currently, I am writing a book and I maintain a blog. My parenting duties, at this point in my life, mostly include listening to my children and my stepchildren—five children and stepchildren in all, two grown boys and three grown girls—and being there for them when they need me. On occasion I will do home repairs for the kids or automobile repairs—that is my job and I love doing my job! I also have four beautiful grandbabies, one grandboy and three grandgirls, and one more grandboy on the way. I love spoiling, and loving, my grandbabies. I take walks with my best pal Butkis a nine-year-old-lab. Butkis has cancer and the veterinarians had Butkis slated to go to doggie heaven over a year ago. Butkis and I are simpatico—he and I go everywhere together. He is simply not ready to leave me yet.
This is a snippet of whom I am. But what makes me who I am is deeper, much deeper. This is not going to be about me although it began that way, it is about how I am the person my wife, children, my grandbabies, Butkis, and I love and enjoy.
My wife, Denise, a full-blooded straight from the Sopranos and Godfather movie Italian, is responsible. That’s right! Let me tell you why…
The things that happened throughout my life essentially made me who I am, that we can agree on. I had a very brutal life and for those who know me it is no secret. A life most people would consider devastating and crippling. You could say, when Denise and I met I did not have “a little baggage”, I had a cargo ship full of baggage. She knew about my baggage and she accepted me anyway!
What sets Denise apart from all other women on this planet? It is no secret Denise and I both came from previous marriages. We have always said, “We had to get prepared for each other by going through other relationships otherwise we would have hated the people each of us were before we met.” Neither one of us doubts this statement.
What is different this time around? We have absolutely no secrets from each other! Through trial and error, we have learned the important things in life. We are painfully honest with each other. I admit I can count on one hand the number of legitimate fights (balls to the walls arguments) we have had in the past ten years. Some might say, “If it is so good you wouldn’t argue at all.” No, I disagree, arguing, especially when you factor in Denise is 100% Italian and I am Native American Indian and German, is not only expected, some therapist would confess, it is healthy.
Family and friends say, “We hear you argue all the time, you sound like Frank and Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond (television series).” We smile and answer proudly, “Yep, that’s us!” Frank and Marie bicker with each other, they say exactly what is on their minds, and they hold nothing back. They are extremely honest and blunt with each other. Then side by side, at the stroke of the clock, because Frank and Marie would not think of doing anything apart from each other they escort each other off to bed at night, conscious free I might add, and wake the next morning looking forward to another day of honest bickering. Yes-sir-e that is Denise and I to a T.
With Denise, life has a different meaning, not a new meaning, a different meaning, and that is a good thing. Denise is loud, that is a part of her, and I wear a hearing aid because I am 50% deaf so her loudness does not concern me in the least. Matter of fact, I think it works out well and we laugh when people make jokes about it.
Sometimes Denise does get mad at the most insignificant things, we all do, although she will deny it, with me Denise wears her emotions on her sleeve. I know when she is angry, when she is sad, compassionate, or when she is happy.
Denise has a dense exterior and the indisputable truth is she is the most loving and empathetic person I have ever met—when the occasion calls for it. Remember she is Italian—take my word for it you do not want to cross her. Do not ever refer to her pasta gravy as sauce she just may call Tony and Vito and have them make a house call. Just kidding about Tony and Vito, but she does get pretty upset sometimes especially if you cross her. If you do cross Denise, I guarantee she will not want anything to do with you— ever again—even after she has had time to think about it, and don’t make the mistake of thinking you can confront her, because you will have hell to pay, and you will walk away cowering and still left with one fewer friend.
No really, it’s not that bad. I do write with my fingers so… I had better watch what I say. Ha-ha! On the other hand, make a friend of Denise and she is your friend for life and she will be there no matter the cost.
Actually, in Denise I see all the attributes in a woman I have ever admired in women, that is what attracted me to her in the first place, that and her Cannolis. She encompasses every quality I have ever wished to find in my “ideal” woman. It is hard to believe we have been together for as long as we have been together, 10 years, considering I have never been in a relationship this long, and there is no end in sight (a good feeling of security I have never experienced in all my life). At times, our relationship feels surreal—too good to be true.
Why do I write about Denise and my relationship with her? I devote so much of my time to my book, my blog, and the daily routine of life, that I seldom take the time to consider what is most important, and more substantial, whom is most important in my life. In 1956, professional golfer, Walter Hagen, wrote a phrase in his biography. The phrase became a cliché, “Stop and smell the flowers.” Soon after Hagen printed the cliché it was transformed into, “Stop and smell the roses.” What Hagen was referring to was the importance of priority and how momentous are the things we take for granted. Take time out of the hustle and humdrum of everyday life to recognize and appreciate what and whom is important to you, the things that make your world go round and make a difference, those are what was important to Walter Hagen and what is important to me.
Denise is my rose!