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For the love of ……

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Today finds me in mellow and reflective mood with an inclination to ponder romantic love and relationships.

“neither be cynical about love for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass” Desiderata

At my age it would be very easy to be cynical about love.
I have witnessed the relationship implosions that affected several of my friends, and also had my own first well-intentioned marriage disintegrate after a decade of decline into a sump of disappointment, despair and litigation.

Replaced thankfully by thirty years of what continues to be for me
“as good as it gets”.  Peaceful coexistence. No lofty peaks of romantic delusion followed by deep troughs of recriminatory argument.
No expectations second time around of everlasting bliss and a marital road paved with scented rose petals.

Our stage of longevity was set by the impeccable and flawless quality of my marriage proposal, followed by her judicious response.

We had previously shared a platonic working relationship before it came time for me to geographically relocate 2000 km away, so one day shortly before my departure I casually queried;

Q.   “Is there any chance you might like to join me sometime?”
A.    “Ahh………………………………………..Oh, anything’s possible”

(In retrospect that verbal pause was probably the longest of her entire life)

Four months later she arrived on my new doorstep to discuss the terms and conditions.  Contrary to what now seems to be popular opinion, forcible application of chloroform was never required, although I would have considered almost any chemical agent or mechanical device to prevent her walking away from my life at that time.

Somehow we have managed to “get by” with our simple but often nebulously negotiated partnership, bolstered by a few shared but unspoken principles of life, and survived the test of working and living together 24 hours every day for almost three decades.

Whenever cracks appeared in our house of civil matrimony we clogged them up with mortar of compromise before they had a chance to develop into anything more destructive.

Mrs GOF probably used up a much greater supply of her mortar
than I ever did.  Like many women of my generation she spent a disproportionate amount of time keeping the matrimonial house in a state of good repair, yet she has never found the need to complain.

Our partnership now has the comfortable feel of an old couch which has been moulded to our body shapes, yet our future together is not something I should automatically take for granted.

If she ever feels the need to fly away and attend to some neglected corner of her garden of girlhood dreams, or to more fully explore and develop the many dormant talents of her middle age, she will do so with my support and encouragement because………

this life is not a dress rehearsal.


And, as for young love…….when I see lovers holding hands or stealing kisses in the shadows it still makes me smile and feel all warm inside, for these small acts of affection are so full of the promise that this little seed of love will be unique, and that it might blossom into the most perfect fulfilling love story of their generation.

I still hold for them, despite all my life experience, the hope that their dreams will come true.

And just for Mrs GOF, the words of Charles Aznavour’s
“She”  (Tous Les Visages deL’Amour)

“The one I care for through the rough and ready years”

Ah yes, this is definitely for Mrs GOF.

She may be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
Maybe my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day

She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a Heaven or a Hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seems
Inside her shell….

She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She maybe the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows in the past
That I remember ’till the day I die

She maybe the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I care for through the rough and ready years

Me, I’ll take the laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

39 responses »

  1. “Whenever cracks appeared in our house of civil matrimony we clogged them up with mortar of compromise before they had a chance to develop into anything more destructive.”
    GOF, this is probably the nicest line I’ve read in a long time. Your relationship with Mrs GOF is a thing of real beauty. I have no doubt there have been bad times as well as good, but you two really are what I hope me and our Maud turn in to. A loving from which Globet was produced, sorry Globet…, but really who could ask for more. Grumpy you may be, GOF, but I see what lies beneath 🙂

    • Thank you Pete, you are very kind.

      There certainly have been tough times as we resolved the inevitable power struggles and delineation of responsibilities that necessarily have to occur in any relationship. We have also known difficult economic times as people who try to scratch a living from the land often encounter….perhaps this is what brought us closer together……all that blood, sweat, and on occasions, tears.

      I wish for you both an even greater happiness than ours. I get the impression that you have made a very sound beginning.

  2. I knew you were an old softy. Guess Mrs. GOF brings out the best in you.

  3. Very nicely said, GOF!
    You are a lucky man and Mrs. GOF is a lucky woman!

  4. “The terms and conditions”….did you come with a warranty GOF?

    All jokes aside…
    It is so easy to be cynical – it’s one of my worst habits….am so very glad that you and Mrs GOF have such a wonderful relationship. 🙂

    • Thank you …….Flawed merchandise doesn’t come with a warranty CC.

      People don’t come much more cynical than me, but I never want to become blinded to beauty or goodness or hope for the future.

  5. Thank you for sharing this poem.

    This was a blessing to read. I am reminded of my parents’ marriage, and I wish for my perspective to be like this throughout the years of my own marriage.

    • Thank you Erin,

      I wish for you all the happiness that this poem implies.

      If you have not heard it sung before,I would recommend spending a few minutes on Youtube……Charles Aznivour himself singing “She” with all the passion it deserves, and with a beautiful French accent.

  6. Lovely sentiments, GOF. Thanks for a nice start to the day.

    • Thanks Snowy…….my day has started well too…..I just got a kiss on the cheek from Mrs GOF for posting the story ………but your written appreciation is all that I need from you. 😉

  7. Who knew you were such a romantic? No wonder she’s stuck with you through post digging, pig trapping, and getting lost in the Outback.

    Still, I hope you do bring her flowers or chocolates or some other material display of your love. And something girlish: I just got off the phone with a friend whose husband bought her a cordless drill for their 30th anniversary. She said she was ready to use the drill on his head when he fell asleep in front of the TV tonight.

    • Thanks HG……I hope some thoughtfulness is coming to me with older age, because I certainly lacked a lot if it during my younger years.

      She has certainly never been bombarded with flowers or chocolates from me…….that is an area in which I should improve, for she has never let me forget the birthday 28 years ago when I presented her with a garden digging fork. 🙂

      Oh….I did more recently buy her an electric powered concrete mixer…..that surely must count as a substantial “material display of my love”. 🙂

      • You’re lucky she didn’t decide to make you a pair of concrete shoes and drive you down to the river. 😉

        • I’m sure it probably went through her mind HG…..but we’d just had our business and a lot of other possessions blown to kingdom come by Cyclone Larry at the time, so I guess there were more important things to think about.

  8. Damn it GOF! You just made me cry…

    Laughter and tears, and the best of the good years… I know how you feel. Brad described me as a pair of comfortable old jeans the other day… made me feel all mushy inside 😉

    I doubt these last 30 years were too hard on Mrs GOF… you big softy. Congrats to both of you.

    • Thank you Tina…..I have to admit to a little eyeball leakage myself as I read Aznavour’s song lyrics…..they just seemed to have been written specially for her…..especially the bit “She who is always so happy in a crowd” for she is that sort of vivacious outgoing person who is married to a reclusive introvert.

      It’s nice to know that you and Brad understand how I feel.

  9. Lovely. Not that I can speak for all women, GOF, but we generally love it when men notice the work we do around the house to, physically and metaphorically, keep it together. And when men buy us choloroform. LOL, so romantic! 😉

    Just joking, of course. You are obviously a wonderful husband and both a lovely couple.

    • Thank you Emmy,

      It has taken a long time…..but I am eventually “getting it”….ie understanding more fully the partner’s perspective of the relationship. It did however cause Mrs GOF to wonder whether I was losing my marbles the first time she unexpectedly got a kiss and a “thank you” for doing the laundry. 🙂

  10. What a lovely post GOF. – I really liked the Mortar of compromise expression.

  11. Very very nice. 🙂
    Hubby and I still kiss and smooch and make googly-eyes at each other, occasionally getting caught and eliciting comments like, Ewwww! or Get a room!
    You can’t go wrong with flowers, chocolate or jewelry.

    • Thanks kimkiminy, and I hope neither of you ever lose the affection you have for each other.

      I’ve got to do some serious improvement in the “flowers, chocolate and jewelry” department.
      One thing I have learned today is that gifts of garden implements and concrete mixers are not working in my best interests. 🙂

  12. You’re both such unique and loveable characters in your own right, I’m so happy you found each other (and not just for the glaringly obvious reason) and built your little world together. I’m sickeningly proud of both of you.

    And this right here, is the reason I’m overriding my common sense and going on a goddamned date tonight. Hope you’re bloody well happy.

  13. You old romantic GOF! If Mr V and I do even half as well together as you and Mrs GOF sound to have done, I’ll be happy with that…

  14. You made me tear up GOD DAMN YOU!

    this life is not a dress rehearsal – Amen to that.

  15. Lovely work, GOF, and I am ashamed to say I have never listened to the words of Charles before. Very nice.

    I sometimes ponder how Liz and I have evolved together over the years. Even the “grey nomading” then stopping for her Mum all seemed “right” at the same time.

    I especially like

    If she ever feels the need to fly away and attend to some neglected corner of her garden of girlhood dreams, or to more fully explore and develop the many dormant talents of her middle age, she will do so with my support and encouragement because………
    this life is not a dress rehearsal.

    That’s respect in a nutshell.

    Oops. Gotta go.

    Liz’s new knee needs a massage. 😉

    • Thanks Peter,

      I only just got around to reading the words too, although for many years I have loved the song.

      Re the paragraph you picked out……it is a possibility we have discussed for quite a long time, but more recently brought into sharper focus for us by by close friends of ours who actually had to deal with this situation.

      I have developed this “formulated response” should Mrs GOF ever wish to do the same.
      After all, she has supported MY dreams for 30 years.

      Best wishes to Liz ……make that massage a really good one.

      • I’m pleased to see others who respect their partner rather than feel their wife is one of their possessions.

        A friend once told me of going to a dinner at a Southern European’s house. The little boy said “Dad I’m still hungry.” and the husband grabbed his wife’s plate and slid some of the food onto the child’s plate.

        I think I could hold my tongue long enough to get through the door.

        • Yes Pete… I have learned a lot during this lifetime…….(too much of it as a result of making stupid mistakes) ….a great pity that we were not better prepared for relationships by a decent “life” curriculum when we were going to school.

          It is with some relief that I note young people today are better prepared than was our generation.

  16. Thanks GOF. You’ve just shattered my illusion of you being my safe harbour of debauchery and despotism. My membership card will soon be duly returned… nah, seriously mate, well said and all points noted. You’re a rough diamond my friend.

    • Thanks Ninja…….debauchery and despotism never quite work for me, and it’s probably too late for me to retry at least one of them to see if anythings changed. 🙂


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