My husband has been watching every TV show regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for what seems like the last two weeks, but he is not happy about it. Every day, at varying intervals, he appears downstairs, wanting to talk about the "latest theory", concerned because he thinks they should know what really happened. To my sons, this is a non-event, before their time. I, like many older Americans, as well as people in other countries of a certain age, remember exactly where I was and who told me.
So, even though my sons and husband have heard this before, I tell the story of being ten years old, riding home on a school bus. The bus driver had short red hair, smoked unfiltered cigarettes and listened to the radio while driving. She tolerated nothing. You had to whisper on that bus, forget about laughing. One look from her in the rear view mirror silenced sneezes, stealthy candy unwrapping, unzipping your coat...in other words I felt safe on that bus. Which is saying a lot, since I rarely felt safe anywhere, except my grandmother's. But not on that day, the day JFK died. We all heard it over the radio. The bus driver pulled over, added something from a silver flask into her black coffee, then told us all to pray for the President.
My husband was twenty-four years old on that day, already married to his first wife, with a baby on the way. He had been rushed to the hospital the day before for stomach pains, had what was at the time experimental surgery, where they removed his stomach, then fashioned a small part of his upper intestines, to serve as an ineffective replacement. So, he woke up from anesthesia, days after, slowly learning he needed to eat very differently, his stomach was gone, and the President was dead.
Morning, well almost mid-day, my husband starts his breakfast ritual. Lately he had been complaining the eggs were freezing solid in both refrigerators. After several days of this making him in a very bad mood, I suggested moving the location of the eggs, never knowing how he will react to change. He considered this, then said, "You're smarter than I thought. Why didn't I think of that?" I answer him, "I went to college, majored in art and art history. They teach those things, you know...very practical." Silence, then he says, using a string of swear words involving one or two fucks and Jesus, "The white spatula is missing. Did you do something with it?"
In the midst of reading, I get up and go into the kitchen. I look in all of the usual places, plus a few new ones that he has been very creative about, like in the refrigerator, in the oven. I tell him the missing spatula will be The Mystery of the Week, to stop watching the shows about JFK, and to choose from the five other spatulas we have. By this time, both sons have emerged, in search of food, so my husband asks them, "Did you guys do something with the white spatula? It's not anywhere." Our sons rather groggily say no, almost in unison. "Just use one of the other ones", I suggest, "or you'll be eating breakast after 3 o'clock." He looks at the clock, then his watch which he wears although it no longer really works.
"But I want the white one. It is long and thin and just the right shape, not like this short, fat one", he complains, holding a perfectly good spatula, for all to see. Both of my sons have gotten their food and are about to head back to their lair, when I say, "Long and thin and just the right shape...wahoooo, just like me, your gold-digging trophy wife." Our younger son shakes his head in disbelief, saying, "You're both nuts." Now I'm dancing, "No, honey, this is what happens when you are married to the right person."