People always say that holidays are the worst after you loose someone. No doubt that is true which is why I am grateful to my daughter for thinking ahead soon after Jimmie's death. She quickly made plans for me to spend Halloween in Mississippi, Thanksgiving in Tennessee, and Christmas coming up I am due to be in Texas. I think it was wonderfully sweet of her.
But there was one big holiday that was not on the calendars this year and no one but me could have remembered. Sunday, December 2nd marked the 40th anniversary of the day I met Jimmie.
Jimmie always loved to tell the story of how we met, preferably to large crowds because it always got a laugh. You see, the first time Jimmie saw me I was running to my car in an attempt to AVOID meeting HIM. Long story short, my sister and brother-in-law had been trying to play matchmaker but I refused to cooperate. I had passed on meeting Jimmie repeatedly, completely ignoring their urging.
But then, I listened to my 3-year-old nephew, Barry. Suddenly, he had to comb his hair just like Jimmie. He had to wear clothes just like Jimmie. He talked constantly about Jimmie, so I began to think there must be something special about this guy. Finally, I agreed to the introduction . . . yet kept postponing the meeting.
Then one Saturday morning as I was sitting in my sister's kitchen sipping coffee with her, her husband called. He and Jimmie were on their way to a construction job and wanted to stop by for Jimmie to meet me. I grabbed my purse and bolted out the door faster than a streaking cat. But my sneaky brother-in-law had called from a pay phone half-a-block away, so they had seen my flight from the house and pulled into the driveway just as I reached my car. Jimmie thought it was absolutely hilarious that I was trying to escape, and it wasn't long before I thought that it was absolutely wonderful that he caught me. The rest, they say, is history.
Earlier this year when the cancer treatments began to fail, one after another, I still hoped that Jimmie might be with us for one more holiday, one more Christmas for him to grumble "Bah! Humbug!" in his best Ebeneezer Scrooge. But mostly I hoped that we might mark this December 2nd together. Nothing big, just a smile and some shared remembrances. Sadly, that was not to be. But I will always be grateful for the incredible blessing of having Jimmie in my life.