Today was the first time I've had to go to the grocery store without Gary or without buying the things that he liked. I realized while I was there that I didn't even know what I liked to eat without thinking of his dietary needs and foods he liked first. It was a fairly horrible experience. I cried while I was there. I tried to hide it and outside of appearing a bit distressed I don't think anyone actually noticed. I looked at a lot of things that I would have normally bought, but now that I mostly just have to feed myself and I never feel like cooking anymore I didn't end up buying very much. Pop Tarts. I bought two boxes of Pop Tarts and a bottle of bourban. No, I won't start drinking myself into the bottom of a bottle to forget my pain. I'm not a big drinker and I don't think I ever could be. Mostly I want to have the bourban around for when the aspirin doesn't work. I don't take prescription medicine (I don't really trust drug companies, but that's a whole different conversation), and I'm not one to eat myself into a coma or anything like that. But I can see the value of having a good drink from time to time.
One of the first gifts that Gary gave me - after the multitude of flowers and candy - was bourban. He knew that I like a good bourban but he didn't drink himself. He had gone through AA several years before and I only saw him drink once. That was once when we spent the night at a fancy hotel for an anniversary or something and had brought along some good brandy. He had a bit of that, but that was the only time. He told me once that he knew it must not be much fun for me to drink alone. I told him that it was perfect for me. It kept me from drinking too much, I never had to worry about driving, and being with him was always a good time to me.
My husband was the funniest and most intelligent man I've ever known. He knew so much! I'm smart enough - got good grades, always have risen to some kind of supervisory or training position in my jobs, but he was so much more intelligent than me. And listening to him talk about anything was when I was happiest. I could sit with him or lay in bed and listen to him talk for hours about anything at all.
Gary had a reputation of always telling a joke. Anyone that knew him would tell you that he always had the latest joke. He told sexy jokes, politically incorrect jokes, clean jokes, really dirty jokes, smart jokes and dumb jokes. He knew them all. But he was always willing to listen to someone else tell him a joke and he loved to laugh with them.
Gary also told stories. He would make up a story sometimes but most of them were the kind of story that's been repeated a multitude of times and changes a bit with each telling. He knew lots of fables and fairytales - both modern and ancient. He would sometimes start a story when I was actually on my way to do something, but I almost always let him finish. I can think of two times when I had to cut him off, and then he forgot what he was telling me. I would do that differently if I could.
Gary was a wiz when it came to games. He LOVED games. All kinds of games. He was an excellent bridge player and had taught others to play the game. I told him that I would learn finally this year when we got settled. He thought that would be a fine idea. He played card games of all kinds and I really don't recall him losing. Maybe he did, but if he did he didn't take it to heart. He would just play again. He played lots of games on the Wii, with Zelda being his all time favorite. He had LOTS of different Zelda games and played them all. Every afternoon he looked forward to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I can still hear his voice speaking loudly, "WHEEL OF FORTUNE!" with the audience when the show came on. Or more often than not saying it just a little behind the audience in a mocking tone. It made me laugh.
Gary loved my meatloaf. Which was good because it is really good meatloaf. And he loved any pasta dish. We had taken to eating much lighter over the last couple of years and this usually included a salad, a veggie and pasta mix of some sort, and my husband liked a piece of meat with that. I don't care one way or the other, but he's an original Nebraska farm boy and he liked his meat. Granted, most of the time that meant a chicken breast, but that counts as meat. And we both have fallen for the flat iron steak. A flat iron is a wonderfully juicy, tender steak that (if cooked properly) can be cut with a fork. We buy ours when we go to Omaha which we've been doing on a regular basis since moving 3 1/2 hrs. north of there about six months ago. Many times I've loaded a shopping cart up with just the things that I purposely buy in Omaha, and these steaks are always in the cart.
We moved to this house just the second week of Feb. We had been leasing a house here in the Iowa Lakes area while we looked to buy. We thought we would buy the house we were leasing but it wasn't meant to be, so we found this beautiful house that I live in now. This house has everything in it that we wanted in a house, with the major exception that I am alone. Well, not entirely alone. My son and his girlfriend live with me. They aren't in any great hurry to move out and that suits me. I take care of them and they take care of me. Especially now. They come and go as they please but they check with me. And they eat what they want to eat mostly. But now that Gary is gone we're trying to eat the same things. The truth is that we like different foods. They're 23 years old. I'm not. Gary and I liked a lot of the same things, the kids, not so much. But we're trying to come to some agreement on it all.
So today was a challenge and while I didn't pull it off without a hitch I know that I did the best that I could. I have Pop Tarts. And bourban. Gary would be proud.