The other day, my niece texts me… “Do you have shovels I could borrow…” I replied, “Sure. I’ll check what we have. But I’m certain we have a snow shovel you could use.”
responding, I go out to our garage. I open our door to the garage and there to
my right near my cross-country skis are not one, not two, not three…but five snow
shovels. As I look across the garage, I see another one hanging on the wall. I
go back inside and text her, “I’m bringing more than one snow shovel.” I know her daughters are going to want to
help. One of the shovels is light enough for a small child.
next couple of days, after I dropped off the shovels at her home, I begin to realize
how overkill six snow shovels are. I
mean, we do live in the mid-Atlantic state area. As I chuckle to myself. It’s not New Brunswick Canada or upper Vermont
or Maine. We live in New Jersey. So, ‘how in the world did we end up with six
shovels?’ I wondered.
realize my now deceased husband was in charge of buying snow shovels. He and I
split up the needs of the house to be done and gotten. When you were in a near
thirty-nine year relationship, you kind of know a little bit about one another.
years we had relatives, coaches and friends guessing what role we played in our
own marriage, of what was Norman and Jody-Lynn. Well, as my niece found out
over the past two months is that we shared responsibilities. He picked up where
I left off. And visa versa. It had
gotten to the point, I’d say something he was thinking about a floor or two
away in our home, simultaneously as he was thinking in his mind. I’d say, “Honey!
You know…” And he’d respond, “I was just
thinking that. Did I say anything out loud just now?” I responded, “No, I heard your thought.” Yep.
I did, and it would freak HIM OUT.
the time he was stunned by my response.
But it was as if I’d heard him. It was a whisper to my soul simultaneously
from his. Or so it had seemed. As much as we were different and disagreed on
many issues, we remained a team, a partnership, a corporation, if you will.
to looking at the snow shovels. That was clearly Norm’s doing. When it came to
winter jackets and raincoats, he was in charge. He’d say, “It’s the stitching.
You need the best. You go to the best clothing outfitters. And the stuff will
last forever.” If he saw poor stitching in clothing after it arrived in the
mail, he’d say, “See, this is going to breakdown fast. A couple wears you’re
done. I know it.” He’d call up the
company and ask to return the item before it was worn. He knew what he was
talking about. For one side of his family had been furriers, generations ago.
plus years ago at midnight. As a matter of fact, it was July 3rd,
1998, a Saturday night. He gets out of bed and says, “I’m going to a 24-hour
Home Depot.” I reply out of a sound sleep, ‘What for? And where?” He replies, “Its in Orange. Need anything?” I respond, “Uh. Yeah. A tamper and a five foot
long metal, twenty pound metal thing that looks like a big nail. I forgot what
it’s called. I just had a long week.” He gets a pad and writes it down.
pursues, “A tampon? What’s a tampon? Tamper? And a five foot long nail?”
I reply, “It’s
not a nail. But just describe it to them and they’ll know what I mean. Trust me
they will. The tamper, not a tampon is to smooth out the ground after digging
and building something. Trust me they’ll direct you. Just don’t say tampon.” And off Norm went.
morning I awoke Norm telling me he indeed bought the big five foot long nail
like looking metal thing, known as a spud-pryer and a tamper for me. And the
snow shovels… well, he would buy the latest and the greatest hand tools. Things
that wouldn’t die out or rot for one hundred years. You bought a car in cash,
and it better make it to at least 160,000 miles in your possession. If it didn’t
it was a lemon. I agree on that thought. Still do. And after 160,000 miles you
give it to someone else who can bring it to 180,000 or 200,000 miles in usage.
was notorious for making certain items were up to peak performance including
shovels. I’d hear him say, “Jody, you got to check this out. Come here. Look at
the handle. See. Great idea. I’m getting
one.” I’d respond, “If you think so
Honey.” I’d shrug. I’d shrug because I knew he researched it. And I also shrugged
because we were opposites. I would make something work. When it came to hand
tools such as axes, hammers, shovels, rakes. I didn’t care to get detailed. I wanted
to get the job done.
In the end, with
all Norm’s innocence that he had, I told him so. He did not rebut me that day a
year ago. His soul was filled with innocence, mine was not. I know too much. It
did indeed shock me, that he was leaving this earth before me. For what I’ve
witnessed and I have known have stolen parts of my innocence, as I hold onto
that small piece left inside of me. As well, Norm tried to last long enough to
get the job done. However, try as he might, he couldn’t get to the finish line
with me. The beauty is, as scary as life appears and has always appeared to me…
I have no choice but to stick it out, keep pluggin’ through, till I get the job
done. And that I will do. For it is my oath to my Maker.---Jody-Lynn Reicher