289. Back to the source

 

When I was a kid, I knew that I would want a wife in adulthood. Maybe that’s unusual for a male?

To the young Kevin, at the tender age of 8 or 9, it looked like the best deal. I would see old men walking around slowly, their faces lined, and think: ‘if it comes to that, which it probably will, I’ll be needing a romantic companion to cheer my journey’.

I met mine on 24 September 1980. At the Cricketers pub in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. It was my mate John Devane’s 24th birthday. Maureen turned up in a small crowd. We went for a curry, where I sat opposite my future wife. Never a fast mover, I drove home later thinking how I would enjoy meeting her again. In another 10 weeks or so we did. A few weeks after that, somebody took this photo.

Last week, exactly 40 years after our first mutual sighting, we went back to the pub. The return pilgrimage involved a fish and chip supper, which we had to eat in the car, due to driving rain that eliminated any chance of sitting by the sea that evening. Lauren, our eldest daughter, came along for the ride. She was deeply amused that our anniversary weather was so foul.

Then we found the pub. Glad to escape the relentless rain.

The gaff was almost unrecognisable from the meeting place of four decades ago, when it had a no-frills, homely charm. Something, a vibe, had disappeared, replaced by a more corporate ambience. The Covid regulations – triggering the safety signs and floor markings – hardly helped. But it didn’t matter. We had a drink. Toasted the fateful moment, 40 years on.

My hearing isn’t what it used to be, especially when there is background noise. Lauren and Maureen chatted, moving in and out of earshot.

I mused on why I love my wife, and what a lucky lad I’ve been. No hesitation in saying that the allure of a good-looking, sexy, kind and intelligent woman has been a huge driving force. Four decades on, age has shrunk and diluted the testosterone roar that accompanied our visit to Wales in 1981. But there is still a quiet rumble. And Llandudno memories will warm me to the grave.

There is so much more. Maureen looks after me. Better than I care for myself. That kindness was important in our early days; and is something I have come to rely upon and cherish. It extends, naturally, to everyone in her orbit. From friends, relatives and neighbours to strangers in the supermarket. She loves to help. She cared for her parents and her uncle in their last years, has helped at a Chelmsford day centre for the homeless and collected for the local hospice.

I’ve swum in that kindness. She tends to my aches, listens to my spectrum of grumbles and complaints, and does what she can. Laughs at my attempts at humour, dishes out common sense advice for my conundrums, responds if I ask for something specific. Supports me in my choices, and forgives me in my errors, some of which would have sent less tolerant women fleeing.

Imagine being her child. I’ve witnessed that magic at first-hand, watching her mother our three kids. Seeing comfort, nurture and guidance tumble out of her like water from a spring. She’s a qualified nursery nurse and working nanny, but her skills with young ones are innate, from the heart.

Yet she is modest – a strange and wonderful thing, given the span of her talents. She could easily have been a chef or interior designer. Instead we have been the beneficiaries, fed with deliciously healthy meals and housed in residences that boom with colour and craft. The girl could paint for Essex, or even England.

As the kids have grown up, she has become my co-adventurer again. Holidays across England, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. We have got drunk together too often to recall, taken magic mushrooms together, meditated together. I love walking in the countryside with her and have adored the fun of dancing with her. I should add that she has the kiss of an angel.

I’ll stop there, in case she finally decides to become big-headed.

She was very taken with a phrase that we came across recently. ‘Be calm, be beautiful, be love.’ It sums her up.

As for me, I think I did OK. Very grateful for that.

21 thoughts on “289. Back to the source

  1. Lovely words mate. It sounds like Maureen possesses qualities very few people have. Even though I don’t really know you and your wife, I can sense the love you have for Maureen. Great and very romantic that you went to the pub where you first met. Here’s to the next 40 pal.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hopefully you and Maureen will make another 40 and yes, I’m not feeling it at the mo. Work doesn’t help and domestic chores, babysitting etc but I’m still reading quite a lot. I read a book about Jack the Ripper’s canonical 5, concentrating on the women’s lifes before their death. Very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That one does sound interesting mate. I’ve got a few on the go at present, including a book about Hitler and one by my favorite author, Haruki Murakami. Hopefully the onset of shorter days will trigger a few more blogs.

        Like

      1. I have found myself helping a neighbour who rents the house opposite me. Fortunately I know the owner who lives in Austria very well.

        The couple who rent escaped from Zimbabwe many years back and moved in about 9 years ago. During conversation we discovered our common ground and he explained the loss of one leg due to diabetes. More recently he lost his other leg. I managed to get permission from his Landlord to undertake alterations to the front garden to make life a little easier for him and his wife.
        This did involve concrete and lots of hard work.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. You really picked a good one, Kevin! But I’m sure it was mutual. What a sweet love poem written in narrative style. I can see why her eyes are leaking above (I’m assuming that’s her!). And laughter….I think that’s the one. If we’re still laughing, we’re gonna be okay. Remember Roger Rabbit? The detective asks her why she stays with that skinny little troublesome rabbit? And she says huskily, “He makes me laugh.”
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually she picked me!!! 🙂 🙂 Or so she says Stace. The laughter isn’t always on tap. When it is, I think Maureen’s humour triggers the louder outbursts. But thank you for seeing that it was a prose love poem….hopefully not prosaic.
      Re the laughter, I sometimes stop during the day and find old comedy clips. Then watch until my eyes are streaming with joy. That – and nature walks – are my antidote to the Covid darkness. Hope all’s well (ish) in Burbank.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. As well as can be and better than a lot of places, so…. can’t really complain.
    Comedy clips is a good idea, Kev.
    Glad you guys are doing well too !!! (as is possible, of course)
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m speechless because this is so beautiful Kev. It’s so amazing that you cherish each other so after 40 years, Maureen sound like an amazing woman and your lifelong bond and journey is something that you both seem to cherish so very cool! I hope that me and the Polish bear will continue in the same way too, it has been 10 years for us so far. Hooray for life-long loves and how very rare and amazing they are. When we see that person, we hold onto them with both hands eh. hugs

    Liked by 2 people

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