by Larry Brody
Maybe it’s the summer weather, but as I look around I see love everywhere.
Huck and Rosie nibbling each other’s lips.
Belle the Wary and Ditsy Dixie curling up together to share a stuffed pad.
Larry B and Gwen the Beautiful, holding each other and marveling at all we’ve through together.
And, now, Uncle Ernie’s widow, Edda, and Her New Man.
This latest coupling came as quite a shock.
Jimmy Blue and I were at Paradise Pharmacy, where he was picking up a tote bag full of prescription meds. Half of the meds were for the various conditions aging brings on in almost everyone. The other half were for the conditions caused by the meds. As we turned from the counter there she was, the wife of Jimmy Blue’s late and still highly lamented best friend.
She was coming in to pick up her own stack of prescription. And she was beaming.
“Yo, Jimmy Blue!” Edda said with a big smile.
The two of them hugged. Then, still smiling, Edda gave me her cheek. “‘Afternoon, Larry B.”
“You’re looking great,” I said to Edda because it was true. “Best I’ve ever seen.”
Even though she’s close to 70, Edda blushed. “I’ve been having quite a time,” she said.
“Something wrong?” Jimmy Blue had his Concerned Old Pal face on.
Edda shook her head. “Not at all.” More blushing. Edda was embarrassed about something. I was amazed.
“Out with it, Edda,” I said. “If you don’t tell us what’s going on I’ll get Gwen to call you and call you and call you some more until you ‘fess up.”
“I—I think I’m in love.”
“Love?!” The sound that came out of Jimmy Blue was the sound a kid makes when he’s taken by surprise at the lunch table and milk goes flying out of not only his mouth but his nose.
Edda moved back into one of the aisles so no one else would hear. “I met somebody at church. Well, I didn’t really just meet him, I’ve known him most of my life. But never paid attention. You know how that is. He’s a widower, and the both of us were so lonely….”
She trailed off as though stopping to remember. Smiled again. “It’s so strange, feeling like this now. Makes me think of what it was like when Ernie and I were kids. All those moments we were having for the first time. Those, ‘I never felt like this before,’ ‘I’ve never done this before’ times that make everything seem like magic.'”
“You’re feeling things you never felt with Uncle Ernie?” Jimmy Blue said. “You’re doing things you never did with him?”
“Not really, no. Neither me or my man. I always thought that falling in love again would be a big letdown. All ‘same-old, same-old.’
“But even though if either of us said, ‘I’ve never loved like this before’ we’d be lying, when we’re together, everything feels new anyway. ‘Cause the love is new. There’s no letdown at all.
“There you are. Been looking all through the store for you, Edda.”
It was Calcy the Preacher. “Good to see you, boys,” he said to us, and gave Edda his arm. Edda tossed back her head like a 16-year-old, and they headed up the aisle.
“The preacher! She’s with the preacher! And Uncle Earl ain’t even been dead a year!” This time Jimmy Blue’s voice was a strangled hiss.
We watched Edda and Calcy move around the aisle and out of sight. Which was a much bigger move than it sounds because Edda’s no teeny girl, but a very grown woman with a butt wider than Lou Ferrigno’s shoulders, and Calcy’s a man who if he was driving one of those King Kong trucks with the six foot wheels would still end up scraping the chassis along the ground.
“That’s one big loving couple,” I said. “I understand how you feel, Jimmy Blue. But maybe they’re perfect for each other.”
“Hope so,” Jimmy Blue said grudgingly. “I’d hate to think it’s all just because Edda’s blinded by something new.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” I said. “I think she’s overcome with a kind of wonderful magic. What else can you call it when the old becomes new again?”
“I’m thinking ‘randiness’ might be a good word,” said Jimmy Blue. And the best and most loving friend of the late lamented Uncle Earl shook his head…and laughed so hard that the sound filled the store.