We liked what we read when award-winning poet Terri Kirby Erickson got in touch with us from Lewisville, North Carolina. It’s not a poem, but this baby boomer’s story about the love in her life is sheer poetry.
“What do you think of this idea?” my husband Leonard began, before asking me if I’d like to take an overnight trip to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, for our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. Before I could communicate my rabid enthusiasm, he added, “And let’s have dinner at Caprice Bistro,” which is a lovely French restaurant in downtown Wilmington that he told me he’d wanted to go to for some time, unbeknownst to me.
Our relationship is rife with these “unbeknownst” moments. Remember those old Tarzan movies that were so popular when we were kids? You could count Tarzan’s words to Jane on one hand (not factoring in grunts and gestures). Well, my husband talks less than that, and he seldom shares much more with me, on a personal level, than what he had for lunch and the location of his weekly golf game.
Not that Leonard isn’t capable of romantic gestures. For our first wedding anniversary, he bought tickets to the opera and gave me a dozen red roses (separated into different vases) so I would find them all over the house when I woke up. Another year, he took an old photograph my mother let him borrow, a picture of my brother and me as children (my brother had passed away in 1980), enlarged and framed it, and gave it to me for my birthday. I have to say, that was one of the best gifts I ever received from anyone.
And to tell you the truth, the older I get, the more I find the simple things that he does to make my life easier and better as romantic as all get-out, like cleaning the kitchen every night after I cook dinner, putting gas in my car so I won’t have to do it, and leaving the newspaper on the table for me in the mornings, even when he doesn’t have time to read it.
But what woman says “no” to a trip to the beach and dinner in a French restaurant? Certainly not me! And we had a fantastic time, including a dessert that was the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, even in Paris where, speaking of romantic gestures, he took me for my 44th birthday. (Our daughter was with us so it wasn’t exactly a “honeymoon” sort of trip, but strolling down the Champs-Élysées is pretty much the pinnacle of birthday pleasures!)
So having a husband who doesn’t say a whole lot (out loud, anyway!) isn’t the worst thing in the world, by far. I might not have love letters to pour over, no flowery words to ponder. Sometimes I tease him and say, “What was that you said about my beauty?” And he always answers, “You have a mess of it!” But there is no doubt in my mind that my husband loves me, not because he tells me so every second, but because he shows me. To Leonard, love is a verb, and I am the lucky recipient of its action!