Family Life, Senior Life

Episode 63 – Is That a Purse, Mr. Denny?

“Would you like some eggs?” Denny asks me from the kitchen.

“Sure. And if you could grill a bit of tomato on the side, that would be great. And put the eggs on a bed of spinach. You probably won’t have time to do hashbrowns, though.”

“No, I won’t.”

Denny is off to work this morning.

“Did you know that spinach is one of the most balanced vegetables as far as proteins to carbs ratio?” I ask him. “It has almost a one to one protein to carb ratio.”

Denny doesn’t believe me. I know because I see him immediately get the bag of spinach back out of the refrigerator where he just put it and read the label.

“Four carbs and three protein. I wouldn’t have believed it.”

I’m smiling at Denny who is illuminated by the overhead spotlights in the kitchen. His white skin has a pinkish hue with blue undertones. He hasn’t dressed for work yet.

Earlier he was showing me his muscles again.

“I think my shape is changing,” he tells me.

“It is. It’s more like this now…” I demonstrate an hourglass shape as opposed to a pear shape.

Denny’s eyes are glowing, “And pretty soon this will be gone too.” He indicates the love handles he has had all of our married life.

This week I have noticed that he has slimmed down a bit.

“Three months at the gym, and I can see a difference. See, no more flabby arms,” he flexes his muscles.

“I never thought they were flabby.”

“And I can squat now,” he demonstrates.

“I didn’t used to be able to do that,” he tells me. “It was hard for me in Indonesia.”

I can picture that. The expression on his face is telling. Outhouses in the Indonesia generally consisted of a hole in the floor. Sometimes you had to make do without even that much accommodation. Squatting skills were essential.

My mind wanders to a memory of venturing out of a bus in Indonesia after a very long and uncomfortable commute. It was ten o’clock at night and the bus couldn’t get up a mountainside due to slippery, muddy roads. We were to have arrived at our destination at five.

Being rainy season, there was a literal convoy of buses stranded on the mountainside waiting for the temperature to drop and the roads to dry sufficiently to continue driving without sliding down a cliff. I had felt the bus gliding sideways before we stopped, a few of hours ago. It appeared that the other passengers didn’t share my anxiety. Maybe none of them owned or drove a car.

Conspicuously, I was the only white woman on the bus.

The driver pointed to the front of the bus when I asked about a bathroom. Of course I knew there was no bathroom. The headlights of our bus were glowing against the back of another bus. I made a snap judgment. It was a safe, lit area.

When I told an Indonesian co-worker about the incident she promptly advised me to carry an umbrella for such occasions. It could be set up as a sort of room divider. Brilliant!

Thankfully, this day I was wearying a long, loose skirt.

Self-care is very socially leveling. The ruler of a country will deal with some of the same basic needs and issues as a homeless person.

Right now Denny’s watch alarm makes a little beeping sound. I’m brought back from a muddy mountainside to a bright Monday morning.

“It’s time for me to leave for work. My watch tells me when it’s time to leave,” he holds his watch up for me to see. “I have enough time to get my things together and pack the car. Then it tells me when it’s time to start driving so that I arrive five minutes early.”

“What if you have a delay, because of seventeen stop lights?”

The other day I counted seventeen stop lights to my job.

“Oh, I account for that. I’m never late. That’s what they like about me. They say, ‘Denny is never late.’ For my job that’s very important.”

“I hate it when teachers keep their classes waiting. My Junior High principal used to do that regularly. He was our Guidance teacher. The only thing I remember learning from the class was how to properly set a table.”

Denny laughs. He just put his banjo, his ukulele, and a bag of smaller instruments by the door.

Yesterday I purchased a new carrying bag for him. It is woven and colorful. Denny requested a colorful bag, something fun, for the kids.

I got the idea to get him a new bag when he admitted to me that the children had asked him if the other bag I got him was a “purse.”

“I tell them it’s a carrying bag and my wife gave it to me.”

Yes I did. And at the time I thought it looked like a satchel but the kids think it is a purse.

Denny is at the door now, dressed and ready to leave. I start to sing a song he wanted me to teach him this morning, “Little Robin Redbreast.”

“I have to go now.”

“You can go, even if I’m singing.”

Denny kisses me goodbye. Then he makes a preliminary stop in the bathroom. Mornings are punctuated by frequent pit stops. Denny tells me it’s his blood pressure medication.

Earlier Denny told me that he thinks he is feeling the best physically that he has in our whole married life, “I’ve got my blood pressure under control. No more headaches. And I’m feeling physically fit and energized.”

I’m happy for him. He is looking good.

I wave goodbye to Denny as he picks up all his instruments and opens the door. He calls good-bye and the door closes behind him. I hear the key in the lock. Mr. Denny is off to teach music.

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