The lens from which one looks at life in widowhood is different. I laugh and smile and find the humor wherever I can.
The truth is most widows move forward skittishly. Everything is scary. People are frightening without your other half near. Most people I know knew The Norwegian. I generally keep my circle knitted close for safety and strength and rarely, except in business, do I meet new people who do not know “what happened to me.”
Last night, oldest chicken and I joined our tailgating friends at the ASU-Illinois game. As I never met a party or a college football game I did not like, I packed my cooler with potato salad, an icy Pinot Grigio and some cold Coronas for my offspring. Our tailgating goes like this. We start with cocktail hour. When the sirens and the band mark the arrival of the Sun Devils, we know it’s time to eat. We eat, drink some more and enter the stadium. It’s a well choreographed dance and we like it that way.
At two minutes to half, the ladies leave their seats and meet at the front gate to cocktail in the lot or at a campus libation station. Last night, it was the lot. We must leave, you see, ASU stadium is dry. One of the country’s biggest party schools and the stadium is a no cocktail zone. Bummer. At the appointed time I leave oldest chicken with our new friends Rickey and Hugo who occupy the seats next to us.
I spy my two best girls and they’ve brought friends they also met in the stands–Steve and Kristy from Calgary. Dang, I should have brought my new friends Rickey and Hugo. We bring our new pals back to the car and set up our folding chairs, wine, skinny margaritas and what’s left of the beer. For our guests; heavens no, not for me. Let go of your pearls dear, beer did not touch my lips.
With our new Canadian friends, we establish how far Calgary is from Grand Forks, original home of The Norwegian. They invite us to the Calgary Rodeo and we enter into a lively discussion as to whether a girl can ride a lamb wearing heels and pearls as generally I do not try new things without heels and pearls as a safety net. I assure our guests that virtually anything can be accomplished in heels and pearls and if my recollection is correct, a lamb is not an overlarge animal so one probably could just stand up and let the little thing squirrel away if one ran into distress, non? By the way, it’s called mutton busting and I’m seriously considering it. It’s in July if you’d like to join us. There’s a direct flight.
Cocktail hour number two ends and back I go to my seat next to oldest chicken, new friends Hugo and Rickey and a bit of a buzz, which tends to make me chatty. Oldest chicken advises I lower the volume. I lower it but it is short-lived when I find Rickey is from New Orleans and shares my distaste for LSU; he being an Ole Miss grad and all. Littlest chicken is at Alabama–it’s a mother’s duty. LSU simply must be soundly run down by the Crimson Tide so my baby can have a national championship on her record. Since she’s going to marry AJ McCarron and all. We will have to do something about that tattoo. Yikes. My little Cotillion girl should not be subjected to that thing for a lifetime. Fortunately, AJ has a face that more than makes up for it and he appears to love his mother, hopefully not more than he will eventually worship youngest chicken!
Rickey and Hugo play in a volleyball league and think I should come play. I laugh aloud that they might mistake me for athletic but they promise it will be fun. I am considering it. I am worried about the attire–and yes, I know there is no place for pearls and heels but there are some darling little white sneakers that might work, perhaps with a frilly edged socklet. What I’m pondering this morning is how does one play volleyball without donning a t-shirt? It was fun to chat with people my own age who didn’t look at me with some level of pity or secretly wonder if I’m okay.
There was a bit of a chill coming from my left, the seat occupied by oldest chicken. I have been warned by both oldest and youngest chickens that a man need never darken my door. I hear you and I’m on board little ones. But as the Rickey-Hugo conversation became more animated I felt the frost–the same chill The Norwegian exhibited if my attentions wandered too long. So I did what any self respecting mother would do and we left. ASU was pummeling Illinois and it’s monsoon season in Arizona so everyone was a bit ripe after sitting in a concrete bowl for three and half quarters. Swamp ass had indeed crept into everyones shorts. A skirt may have been a better choice.
I got a glimpse into the future–where perhaps my definer will not always be widow first. Where I may ride a lamb and play volleyball with new friends. Where I will meet people who did not know The Norwegian, who do not pity me and who do not know that once upon a time I lived the fairy tale. I’ll be just me. And maybe, just maybe, I will don sneakers and a v-neck fitted tee with a high thread count, but never, no never, will I play in the deep end without my pearls.