Friday, August 7, 2015

Me, My Wife, And A Treasure Chest

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on August 7, 2015.

(And the headline was wrong - only 38 years of marriage)

GOUVEIA: 42 years of marriage is a thing to be treasured

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Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015 10:33 pm
My wife and I are the couple that proves the validity of the old saying that “opposites attract.” The fact we have now been together for over 42 years is testament to our love, her patience and my complete inability to even contemplate an existence that did not include her by my side.
But if you ask me if I understand her, the answer would be a resounding “No.” Not at all. Not even close. I don’t have a clue. And after 38 years of marriage, I’m convinced that is a key component to our survival.
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t know what she likes and doesn’t like — somewhat. It is nearly impossible (even for a stereotypically dense husband such as myself) to spend this much time with a partner and not become vaguely familiar with their likes and dislikes.
But our brains just work on different wavelengths. That doesn’t mean either of us is smarter or better than the other — just different. Of course, I am different in a normal way. Her way of being different is on another level, entirely.
For example, she is a room-temperature eater. She waits for her hot meals to cool. She can’t eat her ice cream until it is soupy. It’s just her way.
She has an artistic mind. Very little is symmetrical in her world. Different is normal, and normal is wrong. Must be why she loves me.
But there are some things that just go beyond my limited ability to comprehend. A recent example would be my efforts to understand why there is currently a treasure chest in my dining room.
That’s right, I said a treasure chest. And I don’t mean a McDonald’s Happy Meal-size treasure chest here. I’m talking about a real, full-size, wooden, shiver-me-timbers type treasure chest. One that looks like Long John Silver could have once buried it on a deserted island.
It is made of some type of wood, has some broken leather straps on the side, and I could probably fit inside it with a few alterations (a chilling fact that did not escape my attention when I first saw it).
It showed up on my steps a week or two ago with no explanation. I asked my Beloved why it was there, and in response she asked me to please help her carry it into the dining room. The fact I did so with little questioning probably says more about me than it does her.
When I finally inquired why it was here, she looked at me strangely, and said she bought it for our church fair (she is the fair chairwoman this year, a fact I first learned when it was mentioned by someone else at a meeting).
I naively asked what she was going to do with it at the fair, and she again looked at me like I was child and said, “It’s a decoration.” I told her I had not been aware the annual holiday fair this year had a pirate theme, and she gave me a glare that suggested I quit while I was ahead.
Then I asked why, if this prize was headed for the church, was it in my dining room? Patiently, as though English were not my first language, she told me the floors in the church were being redone, and it would go there later. She wanted it in the dining room because the basement would be too far for her to carry to the car, should the need arise.
I asked if she had dug this up somewhere, and she told me she got it at a yard sale. I immediately pictured a gleeful family wearing eye patches celebrating that someone had actually paid them money and hauled away this old trunk they had not wanted to spend the effort breaking up for the trash.
And it is still there, being guarded by the dining room furniture and some of my grandchildren’s stuffed animals. I can’t wait until Santa Claus swoops down on his pirate ship and picks it up at church fair time.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go warm up some ice cream ...
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, husband, father and grandfather. He can be emailed at aninsidelook@aol.comand followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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