Sincerely Sire Newsletter-July 2003

      And She Loves Her Joe

It's over. Our daughters have now both graduated from college and moved out, so, I guess I’m finished. Not in the sense of finished, mind you, as in, done for, kaput, all washed up, but finished in the sense that I am finished paying for my daughters — or, so I’d like to believe anyway. I have heard rumors to the contrary. Ugly gossip about parents paying for their “kids” until the cows come home. But I choose to disregard such reports and live in my fantasy world for as long as I can keep my wallet in my pocket and my head buried in the TV.

So, mainly, my life is about Roe now. Just Roe and Joe — Joe and Roe. No more distractions. No excuses. Just the two of us — where the rubber meets the road. Be on the lookout for broken glass, potholes, and sudden curves. This is where we really get to know each other. This is a time of change. Like it or not.

This isn’t about the soccer game the girls have to get to anymore, the school play, the teacher-parent conference or the college tuition. This is about us - - - “Till death do you part.” That’s what the judge said in that little courthouse back in Nebraska in 1974. “Do you take this woman . . .” Do you take this man . . .”

Woman? Man? We were kids, and a couple of pretty wild ones at that. Has this been the real deal? Are we going to pull this thing off or not?

Recently, I have found myself pondering just that. Who is this woman I’ve been passing the toothpaste to for almost thirty years? What is the paste that keeps us together? If it were just the kids, I guess we’d be bidding each other adieu right about now, but we’re not. We’re still jousting, probing, analyzing, arguing, evolving, crying, laughing, learning and loving each other — more. More than ever before. It bewilders me. It makes no sense, which is the reason I wonder sometimes why she stays.

Why does she stick with me? Me of all people, a slightly overweight, kind of short, 53-year-old, graying at the temples, make that the whole head, kind of a guy. Why wouldn’t she want a change after all these years? She’s always changing everything else around here. Why not me?

Why wouldn’t she want to be with a taller man. A younger man. A stylish kind of a guy. Someone who liked to go shopping. Someone who’s favorite outfit was something besides shorts and a T-shirt. Someone who enjoyed the aroma of scented candles and perfume. Someone who liked yoga, meditation and health foods. Someone more interesting. Someone who didn’t have a ritual of about fifteen different irritating things he did every night just before going to bed. Someone who didn’t leave the lights on. Someone who didn’t watch so much basketball and football and boxing. Someone who didn’t whine and worry so much about his health and yet refuse to go to the doctor. Someone who’d never been hurt. Someone who could fix things. Why wouldn’t she want someone like that? Why does she still want to be with me? I am bewildered. It makes no sense . . .

Maybe it’s the coffee. I don’t drink the stuff, but I go downstairs and make it for Roe every morning. I think she likes it when I do that. Maybe it’s because I put just the right amount of cream in the cup and microwave it until it’s steaming hot before I pour in the coffee, and then heat the whole thing up a few extra seconds to get it just perfect. So it cools to just the right temperature by the time I get it to her bedside table. Just the way she likes it. That could be it. Yes, that must be it. I do make one fine cuppa joe.

Editors Note: - After reading and approving the above column for publication, as Roe always does, she said that the last word should have been Java, not joe. A “cuppa Java.” She said she had no idea that “joe” was slang for coffee and no one else would either. Well, I didn’t want to change it to Java because, well, you can understand why, right? But just in case you didn’t know that “joe” was slang for coffee, now you do. I actually heard it used on the TV series Twin Peaks many years ago. But, just to make sure, I took it a step further and looked it up on Yahoo by typing in “joe and slang and coffee.” And there it was. One theory about how “joe” came to mean coffee is: “During WW II their was a navy captain with the first name Joseph. He was distressed to see that his crew was getting hammered on rum while aboard ship. He made alcohol off limits and encouraged the crew to get their kicks from coffee. Thus the ship hands began asking for a cup of “Joe.”

I also read that Bogart used it in one of his movies when: “. . . he walked into a greasy spoon, cigarette dangling from his lower lip, trench coat turned up and drenched down, slapped a dime on the counter and growled, ‘Gimme a cup of joe, Joe. Make it strong and make it black.’”

And that’s the history of “Joe.”

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