Two Couples

Richard & AnnetteIke & Mamie

Two couples; both married on July 1st. The couple on the left in 1983, the couple on the right in 1916. Both married in the bride’s mother’s living room. The couple on the right, in Denver CO. The couple on the left honeymooned in…that’s right, Denver CO. Supernatural baloney? Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney? Perhaps not.

23 years ago today

Young Couple23 years ago, on a day just like today, in the hot, muggy St. Louis weather, we were married. And since Annette was 22 years old on that day, she has officially been married longer than she’s not been married. Strictly by calendar years, my turn comes next year. I bought an iPod Nano for an Anniversary gift. Since we’ve been working out every day now, we thought we could use one. By the way, this photo is not from the year we were married, but about 1989 or so while we were in Pensacola. Upon gazing at the photo, Emily made the comment “I don’t know those people.”

Today, everybody headed out to Cousin Amy’s house to welcome home her son Eric. He’s been in Iraq and will have to return there soon. Eric is in an Air Force Special Unit, but don’t ask me what he does. As close as I can tell he “goes and gets people and brings them back.” As I sat and watched him rough-house with his small cousins, I couldn’t help but think of a blog post I’d written two years ago. Soldiers put their lives on the line daily. They do this with the unspoken hope that the little ones we see at play today won’t have to. Yet, it is not up to them whether this happens or not. But they go. They go anyway.

Miss Sunshine

I wanted to write something for Annette for her birthday, which was yesterday. We are both very fortunate in that neither of us gets hung up on having much attention paid on our birthdays. Having said that, I’d like to share some stuff I wrote about her many a year ago. This first one is called “Miss Sunshine.” When I met her, she lived in an apartment with an elderly woman upstairs. Mrs. Mellinger was her name, and she was an authentic ragtime piano player. Mrs. Mellinger’s pet name for Annette was Miss Sunshine. This song paints a picture of two elderly people meeting across the fence in the yard. A while after I wrote it, Annette put some very nice chords and melody to it.

Hey, hey Miss Sunshine
How are your cats today?
Hope you’all are feelin’ fine
Hope everything’s goin’ your way

You say you’ve got just one cat now
That’s a sad thing to hear
Tell me if you could, tell me how
And what else has happened this year?

You say you held him as he died
You kissed him and gave him away
The rest of the day you cried and cried
Now listen to what I’m gonna say

You’re the bravest
You’re the brightest
You’re the prettiest woman on the block

You’re my favorite
Hear me beg for it
I think I got a key to fit that lock

The next one is the last verse of a song I wrote before we were married, but it pretty much summed up our meeting.

I met a lady just as fine as she could be
Proud as a lion, she roared that she was in love with me
I had no choice but to heed her will
I followed her around all the way until

We had to stop and make a deal
That she would be nice if I would be real
And before too long we both began to feel
That the love we had found was damned close to ideal

OK, so now you know why I kept my day job. One last thought to any of you who think I smart, cool, whatever. I’m nothing without her. I am a bum that you never heard of. Happy birthday Annette from your very own Frankie.

Substitute Blogger

In case you’re checking this blog and see this comment, I just wanted to tell you that Rich and I have a lot going on these days. Emily has just graduated from high school, and we’ve been pretty busy with events up till the big day which was Thursday.

Rob & Susan: I just found out you didn’t get your card because for some reason it got stuck to the mail going to our church and ended up there instead. Kind of weird since I didn’t send an announcement to church.

Rich has just been too busy to write these days, and I miss not seeing something new. Also, we’ve been pre-occupied because we have a contract on a house and will be closing on it on June 24th! Our new address will be 6410 Center Court, St. Louis, MO 63116. We drive by it all the time to look at it and hope the neighbors don’t notice our car up and down the street a lot. I told Marty that we must really be adults now because Emily is going off to college and a lender is actually going to give us a loan to buy a house. Sorry for the long comment. If I knew how to post on Rich’s Blog, I would be there. I’ll get him to show me, and will take over for him. I’m sure that after a few days of reading my stuff, it will inspire him to jump back in. Got to go, I hear him coming! – Annette

Sometimes, I get depressed

Yes, it’s true, I sometimes suffer from depression. Overall it’s really very mild; it just sort of sweeps in unannounced from time to time. I believe it’s mostly, if not completely, psychological/emotional. Ironically, I seem to sabotage myself with it when things are going quite smoothly in my life. Over the years, Annette has figured out just the right combination of leaving me alone and “snap out of it” to keep the episodes short lived. For my part, I usually say and do the exact opposite of what I want. She ask, “What’s wrong?” I’ll answer, “Nothing.” She knows what that means.

I know I couldn’t live without her. I don’t know how anyone lives without someone to lean on. I know men and women are different, and can be leaned on for very different things, but everybody needs somebody to lean on. I’m glad I’ve got mine.

Comments back up

As I suspected, the Comments server is back up now. Just in time for my sister to get the trivia question right. Gilligan’s first name was Willy. Jonas Grumby was the Skipper’s name, and how about the Professor’s name? It was Roy Hinkley. By the way, the Gilligan-first-name-question is only meant for us trivia addicts; it was never mentioned in the series.

I told Annette today that I didn’t know what to write about anymore. She said, batting her eyes, “write about me!” It just so happens that I was singing some of my old songs today. This second verse is all her and written shortly after we met.
I met a lady, just as fine as she could be
Proud as a lion she roared that she was in love with me

I had no choice but to heed her will
I followed her around all the way until

We had to stop and make a deal
That she would be nice if I would be real
And before too long we both began to feel
That the love we had found was damned close to ideal

Our meeting is the stuff of myth now, no one really knows how it happened. For me, the story starts in 1980 when I was spending the night in the hospital due to a partially collapsed lung. It was nothing serious, they just wanted to keep an eye on it overnight. But that night, as it grew late I was very lonely. I had just broken up with my girlfriend, so I couldn’t call her. There was a picture of Jesus on the wall, a print that I had grown up with at church. I prayed to Jesus to be with me. Then I stood up to gaze out the window and a very positive thought overcame me. That thought was this: someday, I’ll be happily married; and the girl I will marry is out there tonight. I just haven’t met her yet. But she’s alive and happy and probably doing something fun right now and someday she’ll be my wife. Or, as the Hollies sang, “Some day my name and hers are going to be the same.”

A couple of years later, I was playing in a Rock Band and we practiced in the basement of St. Johns Episcopal on Arsenal. A friend of ours’ Dad was the Pastor there. This friend had a girl-friend who had a close friend named Annette Pingel. One night they all came down to hear us practice. I think that was the first time we met.

A couple of months later, a whole group of us were meeting up at the Ritz Theatre to see a movie. I didn’t know she would be there, nor she me. We got to talking though and discovered that we were both enrolled at the Conservatory and School for the Arts (CASA) out in University City. She was studying Piano and I Classical Guitar. After the movie everyone went over to my apartment for more fun and merriment. It was that night that made up my mind to ask her out. Of course, I didn’t.

At my next Guitar lesson at CASA, I told my instructor, “There’s this girl I want to get together with and she’s a piano student here. Can you help me out? Like with a duet or something that we ‘have’ to work on?” He thought it was great and said that actually, it’s required to work on a duet. Well…I mean, if it’s required! Then by all means, a duet it will be.

We started working on it every Friday night at school. Soon, we were going out afterwards. By the time the recital rolled around, we were engaged to be married. Total time “going out” together before we were married was six months.

One more instance that always sticks in my mind is one day we were at her apartment to practice. We were paging through some Pop-Rock fake books and having a great time. I mentioned that we had better get down to work on the recital material and then excused myself to use the restroom. While I was in her bathroom I heard her start “paging through” a J.S. Bach book. She was paging through it as easily as she had paged through the Pop-Rock book. I smiled. I thought to myself, “I gotta keep her.”