Every time “bigness” comes up in a photography challenge, I default to the biggest thing I ever photographed and which has ever since pretty much defined “big” for me.
The Grand Canyon. I know. Not exactly an obscure subject, but it is … well … so very vast. I felt my camera was utterly inadequate to the task of showing how huge and magnificent this canyon is. Known lovingly and locally as “The Big Hole,” you’d need a fleet of cameras — preferably video — to capture it. I am not sure anything but standing and seeing with your own eyes could do it justice.
Here are my best efforts.
Miss Mendon was born on the drawing board at the Worcester Dining Car Company in 1950 in Worcester, Massachusetts. After 64 years of traveling, she found a home in Mendon in the Blackstone Valley.
Miss Mendon began life as Miss Newport — Worcester Dining Car number #823. She has been repainted, re-tiled, given a bigger dining room and a modern kitchen. She’s had a long life and seen hard times, but despite everything, she has survived with grace and character.
This could be a very torrid post, but as Serendipity is G-rated, won’t go there. Instead, I’ll tell you a story. You are free to fill in any missing details using your own rich imagination.
I was 18 when I married the first time. I was in my senior year of college, working at the radio station and beginning to get the hang of writing for people other than myself. Jeff ran the college radio station. He was the Station Manager. Garry, my once and future husband, was Jeff’s second-in-command — the Program Director. The two were coincidentally also best friends. Along with most of the people I count as friends all these long years later, we were having a great time doing weird and creative stuff … a permanent party, or so it seemed.
It wasn’t just the usual college hi-jinx. Aside from the stuff we did at the station, we were creative party givers. Our Fall of Sauron Day parties became the stuff of legend –scripted, costumed, with special effects. We were young and healthy and could party all night, yet still rise up and go the work the following morning — looking barely the worse for wear. Ah, youth.
I married Jeff in August 1965. I spent the next year finishing my B.A. and having my spine remodeled, so it was a few years before I got on with life. My son was born in May 1969. We named him Owen Garry, Garry being his godfather. Fast forward through a non-acrimonious divorce. I later realized if you just give up everything and walk away, it’s easy to be amicable. It’s also something you will probably regret — eventually.
Off to Israel I went with The Kid. Not too long thereafter, I married in Israel. The less said about this mistake, the better. In 1983, a state visit from the ex and (now) current husband (they rode together), showing up right in time for war in Lebanon. It ruined our plans to visit Mt. Hermon and the Galilee, but created great anecdotes which Garry and I tell after dinner around the fire. I have one (fuzzy) picture of me, sandwiched between Jeff and Garry, all arm-in-arm, the Dead Sea behind us. The picture was taken by husband number 2 (the one I don’t want to talk about).
I’m back! Garry and I are an item. Having been apart for so long brought us closer together than we’d imagined possible. The previous decade hadn’t dealt kindly with either of us and we saw one another with new eyes. I think we’d always been a little in love, but there were an endless number of reasons why it wasn’t the right time to do something about it. Now, shortly after my Israeli divorce from husband number 2 was finished, Garry and I got married.
And here’s how it really happened.
I’d been away for two weeks in California on business. I had come back early because I got sick, came down with the flu. Just as well, because an earthquake — the one that stopped the World Series — occurred the following day and if I’d stayed, I’d have been crushed under the collapsed highway.
Garry was glad to see me … until I coughed. Then he wasn’t so glad. If you want to know the definition of “mixed emotions,” it’s a man overwhelmed with joy to see the woman he loves — but knowing the first kiss will include influenza. The definition of true love? He kissed me anyway. And got the flu.
So after we both stopped coughing, Garry took me out to dinner. He was nervous. He was driving and we went around Leverett Circle at least half a dozen times. He kept missing the turn off. Meanwhile, he was explaining how he’d had a conversation with his pal about real estate, and how prices were down, and how maybe we should buy something. And live together. Like maybe … forever? Was forever okay with me?
So having listened for a pretty long time, I said: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. You want to buy a house? Move in and live together? Forever? As in married?”
“All of that,” he said, and drove around the loop one more time.
“I don’t know about you,” I said, “But I definitely need a drink.”
The following morning, I asked Garry if I could tell my friends. He said “Tell them what?”
“That we’re getting married,” I said.
“You said we should buy a house and live together forever.”
“Is that a proposal?”
“It is where I come from,” I assured him. Wouldn’t you think that was a proposal? I had to remind him about buying a ring, too but eventually, he got into the groove, realized all he had to do was tell me what he wanted and show up in a tux and he’d be a married guy. Piece of cake.
We got married 6 months later having known each other a mere 26 years.
I declined to have my first ex-husband as best man at my third wedding. We did, however, have the “real” reception at his house. There was the official one at the church, but the fun event, with all the friends, music, wine and sharing … that one was over at the old house where I used to live with Jeff.
Garry and I will celebrate our 24th anniversary next September. When you find the right one, time flies.
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