i don’t know about lucky numbers, but if i have one it’s 18. lisa was 18 when i met her. that’s luck enough and it goes on repeatedly, that number, from there but i’m not going to give away all the family secrets right now. just saying that 18 shows up everywhere in my life except on a lotto ticket. go figure.
lisa says i’m magic. i’m not. but she is, and there’s been nothing but magic in our lives from the day we met.
as we got to know each other it’s been hard sometimes to keep straight what are my stories, what are her’s, and what are our’s… and what did i just make up? for instance, since she can verify, and i’m certain; we both dug for the devil when we were children. i thought he lived in a hole in the ground and would dig in the hard packed dirt between the scrub oaks where i lived in arkansas. she dug on lisa gay lane in her back yard until the day she found something red and ran off thinking she’d got a hold of the devil’s cape. she also had a back yard full of pink rubber balls that rolled there from the house next door which was the home of a guy who worked at a plant that made, well, pink rubber balls.
memory is funny. for years i told everyone that i weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces when i was born. i could remember telling kids that in third grade. but that was lisa’s story, and her birth weight. my mother laughed when i told her i weighed 9 pounds plus. but how i created a memory or telling kids when i was little that number… weird. memory, a funny funny thing.
but my favorite thing i want to save, that i know is true; i have pictures and lots of evidence to support this claim: both lisa and i had grandparents and a deaf aunt who lived together. in both cases, it was our grandmother’s sister. in both cases they had developed their own way of communicating.
lisa had aunt hallie.
i got to meet lisa’s aunt. she gave us a quilt when we were married. and she started singing to God right before she died. it’s recorded on cassettes somewhere.
lisa never met aunt ethel. or my maw maw. but she met paw paw before he died. they all came from a different world; a different time. that’s my paw paw on his mom’s lap. that’s his big brother jim standing by him, and his sister elizabeth on the lap of his dad, my great grandpa who was killed by his brother in law in a rock fight in the hills of arkansas.
my cousin lives in mississippi. i need to go see her again. she has this picture and is the only one left who knows all the stuff i don’t remember.
that’s my dad with his parents. they called dad ‘jockey’ most of his life. because his uncle les put him on a horse when he could barely walk and he always liked to ride. and he was kinda small and sickly a lot of his young life. they called paw paw ‘uncle scrub’ because in those days it didn’t mean douchey guy yelling out the window at girls as he drives by; scrub was like ‘runt’ smallish and scrappy, and paw paw was smaller than his brother jim who was a bar brawler and big guy. though, paw paw yelled out windows and everything else, when he could, to get attention from girls. to the day he died.
genetics are strong. some of that must have carried into me so that i was bold enough to make sure i got lisa’s attention. i talked her into coming to lunch at my apartment over a garage on white street. i can still hear the gravel under my feet as i run out to catch her in the parking lot. she came here and ate a burger and stayed all day and into the night. i got her to pose for this picture.
on april 18th, 1976. she was 18. we’d be married by the end of the following year. 18 is a very good number.