A personal note:
The story below came to me while in church. It’s not new. I posed it on another site about a year ago. Just the same I hope you enjoy it.
“For Better or Worse!”
Look I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been a particularly religious man. I read once in one of my dad’s old books, something by Harold Robbins, “Religion is for women, God is for men.” I’m good with that. So the little lady, that’s Joyce, finds God in church; she keeps her purity by teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, serving on the Worship Committee, and making fixings for the cover dish dinners. I’m good with all that too. Maybe I can find God sitting on a tree stump in the middle of the woods while the dog scares up a rabbit, or by watching the sunrise on a hillside after a night of harvesting corn or soy beans. I mean God speaks to people in different ways. So I don’t get to church every Sunday; I’m still way ahead of the C. & E. types, and when the kids were little I never missed a Sunday.
So what’s that got to do with adultery? A lot I tell you, but; let’s get the bullshit out of the way first.
My wife Joyce is thirty-eight. I’m forty, well almost forty-one. It’s the usual story, small town, high school sweethearts, me off to college, graduate, come back as a high school shop teacher, carpentry, full-time teaching and part-time farming, building one custom house every summer for one of the up and comers in town. Joyce was hired right out of high school, secretary at a local law firm. No this isn’t about some grimy lawyer.
We got married, squeezed out three puppies, two boys and girl, we joined her church, and started in on the happily ever after. Joyce was a virgin on our wedding night; at least she said she was, I believed her. I might as well have been; you ask me two or three quickies in the dark on the back seat of a car hardly count.
Joyce is an attractive woman, until recently I thought she was pretty bright, five foot six, regular breasts, nice legs, no flab or spider veins; she’s not beautiful, pretty I’d say. She’s put on a few pounds the past few years, has a tummy; but what with three kids, her own home cooking, and time, that can happen, never bothered me, not till lately. Mostly brown hair, not sure, Clairol covers the grey. Her hair styles vary; sometimes she lets it grow, other times she has it hacked off. She has brown eyes, high cheek bones, really succulent red lips, and overlarge pearly white teeth, the teeth get a regular treatment to keep them white. By and large she’s a mix of too much of this, too little of that, and a good helping of the other.
Me, I’m a young Robert Redford, ha ha, I wish. No I’m five foot eleven, brown eyes, brown hair going to grey, no Clairol, and I guess I’m a little overweight. Names Harry McDermott, yeah for some reason they call me ‘Dirty Harry’. I’m not fat, but the thirty-four inch waist is gone, closer to thirty-eight I’d say, wea overalls mostly so can’t say for sure. I’m muscular, but look at what I do. I’ve never been in a fist fight, never been robbed or beaten up or anything. I have stepped in and broken up a couple fights at school though. I did belong to the National Guard; never got called up, but would’ve gone if called. Joyce and I both wear glasses. She switches off between contacts and the horn-rimmed. Me I stay with the old fashioned wire rimmed, and forget it, no bifocals, not yet anyway.
Now, how did I find out, who the cad was, how it took shape, and what have I done about it?
Like I intimated earlier Joyce loves our church. She loves to sing, and that’s meant regular choir practices, usually Wednesday nights, and maybe a half hour before church on Sunday mornings. Figure four or five cover dishes, and maybe two or three ham and oysters a year that put her in the church kitchen on a pretty regular basis. Add on Sunday school, an occasional seminar, and a trip or two or three to one or two of the memorials and nearby historic sites and that gets her out a little too. Then throw in the Worship Committee; that means changing the sanctuary paraments and altar flowers, an occasional cake or pie for a shut in or a visit to the hospital once in a blue moon, and then there’s trips with the pastor to one of the nursing homes or the nearby hospice. And no it wasn’t the pastor.
For sure Joyce gets out, but she keeps things on the kitchen calendar; neither me nor the kids get any surprises. Add to that the fact that Joyce is as reliable as an alarm clock; she’s up first in the morning packing lunches, lining up school satchels, and coats and such so we all get off on time. She’s home before the kids, and dinner’s usually ready by the time I get home. She’s really officious; nothing, I mean nothing interferes with her scheduled plans. Ah yes; easy to see, that was her undoing!
Oops, forgot! There’s more to Joyce than just church and an organized household. She’s the family ‘storm trooper’! We’ve got two boys, Chad and Harry junior, they both have cars, well pick-up trucks and there’s a jeep. Our daughter’s still too young, her names Claire, only fifteen so she doesn’t drive, but she snatches rides from her friends. Joyce likes to keep track of where the kids are and what they’re doing so everybody has an I-phone. Everybody has to be available. Any kid not available is in for it. I have to be available too. Here’s the rub; for us to be available Joyce has to be available also. She has to be ready and on hand at a moment’s notice.
So everybody’s itinerary is on the kitchen wall. We all have our cellular phones. We all, except Claire, have wheels, and we’re all, or we better be, close at hand. I guess by now the handwriting’s pretty much on the wall. Good ole Joyce, my ever-loving, every-loyal, always faithful wife and soul mate was destined to be hoist on her own petard.
So when did I get suspicious?
I first got my first smell of something one night when we were getting ready for bed. Joyce had done all her chores, solved all the family problems, and was up in the bedroom with me when I got the first whiff of trouble, and that’s exactly what it was, a whiff of something. I’m not a perfume kind of guy; oh sure there’s an occasional splash of Old Spice, but mostly it’s just good ole soap and water. That doesn’t mean I don’t know what ‘men of the world’ smell like. Joyce has her bosses, and the community’s rife with ‘manly odors.’
There’s a guy who’s in and out of the high school where I work who carries the unmistakable smell of lavender. Lavender? On a man? I had to ask him what the stuff was. He said it was Gaudier or Gautier or something. He told me it cost like $70.00 a bottle. I guess it came in quart sizes for that price; definitely not Old Spice! I didn’t recognize the name, but I sure recognized the smell; it was a kind of mix of mints and lavender. Gosh, lavender is for girls, and a mint is something you eat after a big meal. It just wasn’t a smell I’d soon forget. What was Joyce doing in the bedroom smelling like a male prostitute? I didn’t say anything; never seriously thought about it at the time.
I said I wasn’t a church going kind of guy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go at all. So I’m in church one morning, early service of course, and Joyce is up in front singing her ever loving heart out when I noticed a new guy in the choir. Who was he I wondered?
After early church while Joyce was getting ready for her Sunday school class I slipped in the choir room. There it was, the unmistakable smell of lavender, and that’s right, you guessed it, it was all over this new guy. I kept thinking of the line in the old Eagle’s song; “she’s got a lot of pretty pretty boys she called friends.” I love the Eagles.
I walked over and introduced myself, “Hi I’m Harry McDermott, Joyce’s husband. I didn’t catch...”
Joyce was right up my ass, “Harry this is Kevin Melrose; he and his wife are new members, just transferred in from,” she looked at this guy Kevin, “Richmond isn’t it?”
Kevin smiled at my wife, then at me, “Yes, Richmond. My company transferred me out here a few months ago. We visited here and really liked the church.”
I shook his outstretched hand, smiled back and said, “That’s nice. Where’s your wife?”
He kept smiling, “Oh she’ll be along for the late service. Kids you know.”
I kept smiling too, “Kids yeah right,” I turned back to Joyce, “See you after church.”
She leaned up and kissed me on the cheek. Where did that come from I wondered. This was Mrs. ‘no affection in public at all costs’ Joyce McDermott. I watched her smile at Kevin, but never gave it a thought, at least not right then.
.... There is more of this story ...