Boy have I Got A Brother for You
Life has so many mysteries, but one of the greatest for me, started at CB Foods in Bergen, New York. It was there I met Cathy and Ed. Cathy, I think is the eternal match maker. It was 1980 and I was going through a divorce, Cathy decided I needed to meet her brother. I can still to this day see her clearly, as she announced: “boy have I got a brother for you.” I did not want to offend her but I really did not need or want a brother. The more I said no I really don’t want to the more she conspired to be sure I met the brother.
It was cold January day in 1981 when I visited Cathy and Ed. There sitting at her kitchen table was a very handsome, blond blue eyed man. Talk about taking my breath away, I almost chocked as he stood up when I entered the room. This could not possibly be “the brother”. His smile and blue eyes told me he was. Cathy promptly introduced us. I sort of smiled and lamely managed a hello. Earl worked on a local farm. I was a city kid but yet we hit it off.
Before I met Earl, I thought my life hand ended. I was down on myself and people in general. The betrayal of my former husband loomed in my mind. Did I honestly have the right to love again? I was terrified to make any type of a commitment at that stage. My dad had told me to “keep my nose clean” during the divorce. That was still my intention.
Cathy sat smugly watching the two of us as we began to talk. How was it possible that this twenty three year old man could find me attractive? He asked me out on a date. Oh, panic is never a pretty thing, and I was beginning to panic. How had I gotten in over my head already? I tried the argument that I was eight years his senior. He told me: “age is only a number.”
Our first date was something I will always remember. He took me out for a pizza. I was in full panic mode. We ordered the pizza and drinks. That would have been great except for my being nervous, after all I had not dated in thirteen year. I was drinking a large glass of Orange Crush when I accidentally knocked the glass over and into Earl’s lap. I wanted to crawl under the table and hide. The waitress came over, gave one of those sigh’s that says: “oh great now we have a big kid that spills pop”. I was mortified to say the very least. Earl stood up with ice cubes and orange pop dripping off of his lap. The waitress began handing him napkins to sort of soak up the pop. I felt like a walking disaster.
We returned that night, before I knew it, I had to leave to return to Buffalo, New York. He lived in Albion, New York a small rural town, not far from the farm that my ex-husband and I owned. I was staying with my dad at that time. I still wasn’t sure how all of this was going to turn out. First of all, I had no idea how I was going to explain Earl to my dad at this juncture. That Valentine’s day Earl gave me a dozen red roses, now I was in a real quandary, how was I going to explain a dozen red roses. So, I did the only unrationalized thing I could do. I gave half to Cathy and half to Ruth. Ruth did press one and gave it to me later. I felt badly because they were so lovely, however in my panic trying not to tell my dad about Earl I told Ruth.
Ruth, at the time was dating my dad so now she was involved in the plot. Ruth hated to fib to dad so she finally convinced me to tell him the truth. Dad, was not easily persuaded not to yell but somehow Ruth managed.
The following weekend Earl and I drove to my dad’s. Truth or Consequences time was more like it. Earl and I walked in and there stood my dad, who was rather industrially sizing up Earl. Earl shook his hand. We entered the dining room and sat down. Dinner was cooking so we talked. Once dinner was over, my dad took me aside and said: “my God he looks like Grizzly Adams.” All I could think was: ‘gee dad you could have said he was nice but Grizzly Adams?” We drove back to Albion in silence. Some introduction to my dad. Finally, Earl chuckled and asked what dad had said. Now I was on the spot, how do you tell a guy you really like that your dad thinks he looks like Grizzly Adams? I began to hunt for words to convey my dad and his sense of humor. Eventually I did tell Earl what dad said, now we just laugh about it.
Earl went back to work on the farm and I went home to dad. Then one day not to long after we visited dad Earl asked me to marry him. I said yes. We went up to Buffalo, New York to see dad. When I told dad, we were going to get married, dad looked me square in the eye and said:
“do you love him?”
I told dad that I did with all my heart. The wedding plans began in earnest. I found a beautiful blue gown. The day of the wedding, I had my hair done and a wreath of flowers in my hair. Earl wore a dark blue suit. Dad and Ruth were our witnesses. It was a beautiful spring day, the sun shone brightly. When I took Earl’s hand to place the ring on his finger his had was so clammy, he was nervous, to say the least.
That was thirty six years ago. Since that time, I discovered what love and happiness are. I now understand what the bible says about marriage: “two shall be as one”. Cathy did have a brother and I needed that brother.