Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pink Hats 28: Like Arrowsmith


"If Barack Obama had yo' hair colah, the two uh you could be twins."

"Ted, I've got three inches and twenty pounds on him, not to mention the other, rather obvious differences between us. You think my hair color matters that much?" Bob asked, grinning.

"No, I mean you both have or soon will have beautiful wives and two daughters, and that's a fin
e comparison to make, wouldn't you agree?" asked Ted, dropping his ethnicity for emphasis.

"I would, indeed, though as much as I admire him, I wouldn't trade jobs for love nor money. Difficult as mine is now and then, I'd rather be in hell with
a fractured spine than have his. Though I suspect he'd say the same."

"Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes I think he'd like to be a healer, but some of his 'patients' are recalcitrant-prone."

"Mine only have tantrums."

"So do his," Ted said, with a wink and a nod, "
especially the ones in Congress."

"You know what a tantrum is, don't you?"

"After four kids, not including yours, and nine grandkids, I'd say I have a fair idea.
"

"It's what he must feel like having when he wishes he could lay a few of them across his knee and apply the hand of cooperation to the seat of partisanship. And that's why I wouldn't want his job. You can make kids stand in the corner, but senators and congressmen?"

"Besides that," said Jessie, handing each of them mugs of steaming peppermint hot chocolate from a tray Halley was holding, "the only 'White House' I want to live in is the one we're buying. Any political aspirations will have to wait until all our children are grown and I'm tired of having you underfoot."
She leaned over and kissed him sweetly. "Don't count on that happening anytime in your lifetime -- or mine, understand?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am, I do," Bob said, solemnly. He turned toward Ted, "I'm practicing saying that, both 'yes, ma'am,' and 'I do.'" Ted roared with laughter.

They were relaxing in the Green Granite Inn's lounge at Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway after a day of skiing punctuated by Bob's first snowboarding lesson. He and Jessie had taken turns with Halley and Ted, babysitting and occasionally pulling the girls round the lift area in a miniature sleigh Jessie and Halley purchased on a recent shopping outing. It was the same day Jessie also found a navy blue wool sweater woven with a reindeer across the back for one of Bob's presents. "He loves reindeer," she confided to Halley.

The Holiday was a week away and the Inn had been transformed with
wreaths on every door, pine bows, poinsettias, a traditional solitary New England candle in each window and a huge Balsam Fir, wrapped entirely in star-blue lights brushing the ceiling, near an equally huge stone fireplace. After all that had gone on in the past few weeks, the couples decided a day and a night away was certainly what any doctor with a healthy dose of common sense would order. Jen and Chuck, fast becoming an item after meeting two weeks earlier at Bull Feeney's, offered to take care of Sam.

"So, did you decide on the giraffe, Bob?" asked Halley.


"Shh, make sure the twins are still asleep, first."


"They aren't going to understand you, not yet at least," she responded, drawi
ng the blankets back from each of the unconscious pair in their carriers, "Yes, they are, now did you?"

"Come Christmas morning, Sam is definitely going to have a surprise waiting next to the tree, and the girls? Well, I know it will be a few years before they can really appreciate it, but one look and I couldn't resist." He was referring to a five foot tall stuffed giraffe he and Jessie had seen at Tree Top Toys in the Old Port. Far too big for anything but occupying space at the moment, it grabbed his attention when they walked in and he couldn't leave without it.

"They say having children is a chance to re-experience our own childhood, do you believe that, Bob?" asked Ted.

"I don't think it's our own so much as it is seeing the world as an adult through the eyes of our children, but in either case, it's something I've missed, I know that much. And, I'll tell you this, I'm deeply grateful life doesn't hold grudges when we don't get everything right the first time."

Jessie reached up and stroked his hair. "I got an email from my dad this week and he said something I think you'll appreciate. He said relationships like ours do far more than simply give us second chances. They give us the ones we've never had. You could say -- and I'm definitely saying it -- this is our first, at long last, and I'm going to make sure neither of us misses a single minute of it."

"Like Arrowsmith? You don't want to miss a thing?"

"Just like Arrowsmith."


(Photos copyright 2011 by the author)
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