And, with that, after four months in Indiana for a fabulous teaching gig at the Earlham School of Religion and five weeks of not seeing Precious, MayBelle walked up the brick steps to the green door with the brass fox knocker and into the arms, and paws, of her beloved. Now she will get some rest, and give thanks, and begin to unpack her car, which should keep her busy until around Wednesday of next week. Thanks to everyone who made her Indiana adventure possible, with a special tip of her hat to Mary-Milam Granberry and Sheri Malman: the happy boxes made all the difference. More to come…
MayBelle spent a good deal of the weekend in tears. It started on Friday, when she opened the card and gift from her husband, Precious, in honor of their tenth wedding anniversary. It’s not really unusual for MayBelle to tear up when she thinks about Precious, because it still surprises her when she finds him next to her in bed in the morning. On occasion, the first words out of her mouth are “What are you doing here?” That’s how convinced MayBelle was that she’d never get married; remnants of her single life still creep in now and again.
The tears continued later that day, when MayBelle walked into their room at the fabulous Stone Fort Inn in Chattanooga to find flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries, and champagne, waiting for her.
Saturday was a tear-free day, unless you count the minor meltdown MayBelle had when she saw a man on a street corner who appeared to be homeless. Sometimes MayBelle does not handle reality all that well.
And there were a few more sniffles on Sunday morning, when MayBelle entered the dining room of the inn and Van Morrison was playing on the sound system. One chorus of “Have I Told You Lately,” and MayBelle was a goner.
“It’s like they knew you were coming,” said Precious, smiling because he knows what a fan MayBelle is. In fact, with all due respect to her fellow Episcopalians, MayBelle likens the time she heard Van Morrison at the Ryman to a religious experience. Really, it was that amazing.
And when, on the ride home to Nashville on Sunday, MayBelle was overcome with a feeling of sadness she couldn’t quite place, it wasn’t until her stepdaughter called to wish Precious a Happy Father’s Day that MayBelle realized it had been eleven years since she’d had the pleasure of calling her own father, the first love of her life. Eleven years since she’d heard him thank her for whatever gift she had sent, certainly a token too small to honor all he did for MayBelle over the years. (MayBelle is reminded here of Billy Collins’ poem poem “The Lanyard,” which celebrates the idea that a lanyard made at camp might be enough of a thank-you to his mother for giving him life. Read it, please, if you haven’t already.)
So the Sunday tears were a little sadder, a tad saltier, than the ones MayBelle shed earlier in the weekend. But they represented a lot of love, just like the joy-filled tears, and for that MayBelle is one grateful middle-aged goober indeed.