A Widower Walks into a Bar

People eat at restaurants all by their lonesome for a variety of reasons: People watching, grabbing a quick bite between point A and point B, maybe they needed to get that all-you-can-eat shrimp at Red Lobster before it’s gone and everyone else is busy. Career waitresses often have the ability to figure these people out.

One particular evening a single gentleman was sitting on the cocktail deck, parallel to the bar of the quaint Wisconsin supper club I sling food and beverage at. He ordered a Whiskey Old Fashioned, nothing obviously telling as to why he was a single table of one. While approaching to take his order roughly 4, no more than 5 minutes after dropping his beverage, it was gone. We shared a good laugh: there must’ve been a hole in the glass and I’d be sure to bring him another without a leak next time. Once he was on his 3rd he shared with me his reasoning for being there alone.

It was his wedding anniversary, except his wife passed away in March of this year and my place of employment was his lady’s favorite place. He cracked another joke, he liked it there too, but it was the only place she ever suggested.

Based on personal assessment, to him, it was the right place to be. Flushed with emotion, I thanked him for coming out to celebrate his marriage with us.

I realized now, there will be instances when you meet other human beings who have experienced sorrow in ways you’re unable to comprehend, and just being present can give immense comfort. I listened to every word he shared as if there’d be a quiz later. It was his first anniversary without his wife, and I imagine that in itself is a very unique kind of heartache. These are the kind of moments that force reflection on your own life.

Just 15 minutes before we were strangers and suddenly his words of an experience he endured shaped my own thoughts, putting a number of things into perspective. Tomorrow will come, but not for all of us. The big picture we all strive to look at can dramatically transform into a nightmare without warning. Anything is possible, good or bad. When it happens, how will we cope and manage day-to-day life? I’ll tell ya what, I want to do it like the man at my table.

After careful thought, I ordered him the complimentary (homemade, super tasty) cupcake we gift out for celebrations and telling the whole story to a friend at work who made a stellar point: How do you even know he likes cupcakes? Not that this is much concern for the average Joe coming in for their birthday, I was trying to bring this man who lost his wife any form of happiness.

The overall goal was for him to get home and realize he made the right decision, to come to his late wife’s most favorite restaurant on their wedding anniversary, without her.

How easy would it have been for this man to stay home feeling sad? He deserved any dessert he wanted. I handed over a dessert menu and instructed him to pick out any dessert he wanted, on me. I wish I could find the words to describe the look in his eyes but I can’t. It was a look of the purest appreciation I’ve ever seen.

The owner of the restaurant I work for likes to say, we aren’t in the food business, we’re in the people business serving food, and that night it couldn’t have rung truer. I dropped off his choice of Creme Brulee and he asked if he could give me a hug, which turned out to be the most real hug I’ve ever shared with a near-stranger. I hope to see him again, and I hope he’s well and at peace. Me? I’ll just be over here mulling over the memory, reminding myself that life can change in an instant, and not taking tomorrow for granted.

15 Things I’ve Learned After 2 Years Of Marriage

Two years ago today I married my husband; he also married me – it was a mutual decision.

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Our wedding was amazing & while I sincerely hope that every bride feels that way about their wedding day,  I think mine was probably better.

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We had a chocolate fountain & the best company a couple could ask for. I wanted to renew our vows after 6 months so we could throw another party.

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Two years isn’t long in the grand scheme of things [ie: forever] but certainly long enough to learn a few things about having a spouse.

15 Things I’ve Learned After 2 Years Of Wedded Bliss [Mostly]

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  1. If you aren’t going to divorce them, it’s probably not worth screaming about. Know when to get over it & let it go.
  2. The amount of give and take is not always 50/50 & that’s okay; it’ll all even out if you’re doing it right.
  3. Your spouse knows you better than you know yourself…even if you don’t think so. Give them some credit.
  4. If you don’t cook delicious food & your spouse does… clean up.
  5. Love is a verb, not a noun.
  6. Express gratitude… even if you think it’s something small & unimportant – they like it.
  7. Happy Wife, Happy Life : Happy Husband, Happy Wife.
  8. Never use the divorce word, ever… unless you plan to actually do it, like yesterday.
  9. If you want something from your spouse… ask for it or stop complaining.
  10. The definition of sexy changes… like, when my husband fixed the screen door last weekend, that was sexy.
  11. Chuck the whole never go to bed angry thing out the window. Sometimes it’s late – and sleep is a much better option… you’re married – you can talk about it tomorrow…and the next day…and the next day if needed.
  12. Your spouse is as perfect as you are – which is not perfect at all. Accept it. Disappointment is inescapable.
  13. Apologize first… if you didn’t – appreciate when the other does.
  14. Your spouse’s reaction, suggestion & responses are open to interpretation, assume they have the best of intentions & not the worst.
  15. Love changes as time passes. I don’t love my husband more or less – but I love him differently than I did last year.

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory. –Friedrich Nietzsche

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Partners in crime, Bicker Buddies, Soul Mates

A Year’s Worth of Properly Ridiculous

One year ago I signed up for WordPress & published my first post 6 days later.

In this span of time, I’ve managed to convince 683 people to keep an eye on it. I watched that number go up and down quite a bit – depending on what was being ranted, raved or praised. I’ve monitored the traffic behind it all, almost to a fault.

I’ve watched my writing progress & change. I’ve explored different styles; wrote my very first fiction & followed with a few more.  I attempted to make sense of crazy trials, news stories, missing planes, made my fear of Ebola known & told a whole-lotta people to STFU.

I struggled through my ridiculous anxiety, and learned how to curb it. Later in the year, listened to an audio book that rocked my socks off & told everyone to just go out and follow your own arrow. I Attempted to explain resting bitch face … In turn, I was kinda bitchy about smoking & littering.

I’ve documented my son growing up, his continuing crush on the Tooth Fairy … & when he tried to plunge the toilet with a towel. Yeah, It Happened. I’m so happy it’s written down & saved for his future girlfriends.

Since I’m obviously a professional, I shared the wealth of knowledge and told you how to raise your kids also.

I made my love for football well known. Wrote a few open letters to Jared Allen & Brett Favre. Stuck up for Adrian Peterson & Ray Rice, called out ignorant football fans & directly told the entire NFL to get it together.

I turned thirty and intentionally have not changed my About Me page to reflect that; Properly Ridiculous will forever be, pushing 30. It’s been a good year & next will be better.

Thank you, 683 people who validate my lack of a filter.

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