Valentine’s Day 2015
My Unsung Hero
Dear Husband will undoubtedly have a difficult time posting this essay because it sings of him, my unsung hero.
To spare his embarrassment I will not wax poetic about him (that feat has been done elsewhere) and I will not belabor a point that can be and should be brief. I will state my heart case in a list. Dear Husband knows how much I love to make lists.
The Honey-Does List:
1. He reminds me not to be distracted by barking dogs and whining cats of the human variety.
2. He tells me that everything will work out fine. Sometimes I focus too much on the details and cannot see the forest for the trees. If there are too many trees, he cuts some down for me so that my vision is much clearer to wherever and whatever I need to see.
3. He calms fears that were not of his making. He knows quite well when I am having a “feet-don’t-fail-me-now” moment. He then steps aside so that I can either run to or away from the object that has become the focused objective.
4. He makes me laugh. He has always made me laugh. One morning when I was in a dither about the world, things over which I have no control but care about intensely, Dear Husband brought up the wonderful cars of the 1970s, the Gremlin, the Vega, and their prime competitor, the Pinto.
I groaned, “In orange, royal blue, or green.”
He started laughing: “There is probably something on youtube--”
5. Dear Husband points me toward the future by helping me to see that the past is passed and it can only be useful for that treasure trove of follies and turmoil from which I draw fictional pictures. He loves my brain but he knows that I am not always enamoured of it.
6. The only time when My Unsung Hero gets upset with me is when I lose my laser-like focus. Even when that focus is too much on the details, he knows that eventually I will widen the POV, even telescopically, with his help if need be. But during those times when I’ve lost my focus, I’ve stumbled and sometimes fallen.
It is hard on Dear Husband to watch it happen.
Not long after we were wed, I was working overtime one rain-swept Friday evening in February 1986. That day was Valentine’s Day. The rain was coming down in buckets, warm, windy buckets of water that were part of what is known as The Pineapple Express in the West Coast (of America) in general and in California in particular.
That day was also Day 1 of a 9-day storm that would produce historic flooding in northern California and western Nevada. The flooding had started (ominously) that very weekend in California. I kept walking to the front window of our apartment to stare out at the torrential rain. My socks kept getting wet. After about 4 changes of socks, I informed Dear Husband that the front room of this first-floor space was taking on water.
My work on that rainy Friday night did not involve a flood (although it soon would) but rather a remedial, operation and maintenance inspection report for a flood control dam. The report was important enough that I had to stay in the office until about 7 p.m. Dear Husband went home and returned to the Federal Building whence I pursued my exit through revolving glass doors.
A sudden gust of wind caught me as my body left the centrifugal force of the spinning doors and I went flying into the wet night in a rather graceful, almost aerial downward trajectory.
I had just enough time to catch, not my balance, but the look of abject horror and wide-opened mouth on the face of my groom.
I picked myself up before he had time to turn off the engine and come to assist me. I think he knew even then that I would have refused his help, that I will refuse anyone’s help because I insist on getting back up on my feet by myself.
My Unsung Hero prefers that I not lose that laser-like focus to begin with. So would I! Peripheral vision can sometimes get in my way. Although the physics of those doors and that blasted gust of wind were the culprits that night. My intense focus while exiting that building only added to the gravity of the fall!
7. His paying job, his professional job involves allocation of precious water to various folks who tend to bicker over things they cannot control. So I have trained him well to deal with competing interests! His unpaid job includes allocation of precious tenderness and protection and funds for females who like pretty things.
8. “The unsung hero” title is one he may have to disown in time to acknowledge The Sung Hero, but he will always keep a part of him hidden -- to be unsung for a heroic role in the future.
In the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode, “Yo-ho-ho and A Bottle of Rum Affair,” Illya Kuryakin finds himself entrapped with rats, rodent and human, in the hold of a bucket-of-rust freighter. He calmly opens Channel D and enunciates a request, realizing that his initial action plan has crumbled and he must take matters into his own hands to complete the mission.
Illya will soon be captured but he has the presence of mind to intone:
“Hear this . . . The risk is considerable . . . I therefore hereby officially apply for an H-1 classification: Hero Class 1 when my file is closed.”
Happy Valentine’s Day to every H-1, Hero Class-1 who goes unsung (but not unclassified!).
Happy Valentine’s Day to My Unsung Hero --
And to all the Unsung Heroes and Heroines of the world!!