Come And Grow Old With Me


Sometimes I don’t think the General and I are on the same page. Truth be told, I’m not always sure we’re even reading the same book. Mine was a simple question: “Did you ever order the green tablecloth?”

When you stop to think about it, there was no right or wrong answer to the question. It was either “Yes” or it was “No”. I was good with it either way. The General’s response caught me off guard. She said: “I don’t guess it has been the same priority for me that it’s been for you?” What does that mean?

Actually, I suggested in early December 2015 (okay, so I purposefully included the year to gain your sympathy), that we needed a green tablecloth. The General agreed and said she’d order one. It was simply by happenstance that I thought of it yesterday, so I asked if it had been ordered. Okay, to be perfectly candid, I may have asked once before, but even then she offered to make the order. I had no idea that she wasn’t equally enthusiastic about having a green tablecloth.

Yesterday she said, “I don’t think we need a tablecloth on that table all of the time. That would look too formal”. Okay, so I exercised restraint. I didn’t mention that we could dress the green tablecloth down by using the Fiesta Ware. Why we have it is a mystery to me. Actually, that is not a true statement. We have it because the General likes it. Of course, if I’m not careful, she may toss the Fiesta Ware if she reads this blog. I’m not suggesting she will toss dishes at me. We’ve been married forever and she’s never thrown a dish at me yet. Consequently, I have no concern in that regard.

Civility and patience, isn’t that the formula for longevity in marriage? While I personally would never have purchased Fiesta Ware, it was a gigantic step-up from the Melmac dinner plates with the blue roses that I purchased at Gibson’s before we were married. That seems like a lifetime ago. I thought they were pretty at the time. What does that say about my mental health? Please don’t answer the question, it was meant to be rhetorical. Actually, the Melmac dishes disappeared long before the Fiesta Ware arrived.

We are dish poor at our house. If the General denies that, she’s being less than candid. The General has every cabinet filled with dishes. Maybe it was a ploy to change the subject, but the General added: “Do you realized that the place mats we use, we’ve been using since Craig was in the 2nd grade?” That’s when I realized that the General is as confused as I am. She was in error.

The “everyday” placemats she’s referring to are white. When Craig was a kid, we had the same type of placements, but they were blue. Actually, I liked the blue better than the white. I wish we still had them. I suggested if new placements were needed that we (she) order them. Only time will tell if that’s a priority for her. I occasionally look for placemat when I go shopping. I haven’t yet seen any I like better than the ones we have.

Of course, this blog is all tongue-in-cheek; however, as is usually (I mean always) the case, it is 100% factual. I know, you’re thinking we’re both a little weird. Okay, so you’re half right.

Following our discussion regarding the tablecloth and placemats, I thought about the line from Robert Browning’s poem, “Come and grow with me, the best is yet to be”. Was Browning psychotic at the time (I AM JOKING) or did he genuinely believe the affirmation of his words?

Out of curiosity, I did a Google search on Robert Browning to see how old he and his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning were when they died. I also wondered if they ever disagreed on the need for a tablecloth or the use of placemats.

Actually, I discovered more than I wanted to know. Robert Browning was 34 years old when he married Elizabeth Barrett, a successful writer who was 6 years his elder. She was a semi-invalid living with her father. The marriage was initially secret because her domineering father disapproved of marriage for any of his children. Who knows, maybe he and Mrs. Barrett quarreled about the presence or lack thereof of a tablecloth. He strictly forbid the marriage and disowned her when he found out she and Robert Browning had married. They subsequently moved to Pisa, Italy, for her health. She died 15 years later at the age of 55. They had one child who was 12 when his mother died.  Browning and his son then moved to Florence, Italy.

The poem “Rabbi Ben Ezra” begins with the line:

“Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

Perhaps the concept is: “Though youth will fade, what replaces it is the wisdom and insight of age, which recognizes that pain is a part of life, but which learns to appreciate joy more because of the pain.”

Rabbi Ben Ezra was first published in 1864. The date of publication was 3 years following Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s death. Consequently, it was not a pledge that they would grow old together. Bummer, I liked it better when I thought it was.

Okay, so here’s the deal, it is up to all of us to make the most of the day (the one in which we’re living). The only time we have is now and the only place we have is here. Living in the past steals he opportunity and joy of the present. Living in the future, negates the privilege of the now. One day at a time is the best way to embrace life. In fact, we have Biblical instruction to do so. Collectively we are told: “Dear Friends, Life is a gift, Life is short, Life is a vapor. Live a good life – Be thankful for each day. Enjoy the blessing of each new day, living each day thankfully and gratefully, not living in the past or taking life for granted”.

All My Best!













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