We were going to spend the day together, and of course we had to go to her place so she could change clothes, etc. Not far from her house, she said, "Let's stop for breakfast."
"Good. Park anywhere around here. I like this place." She pointed to a small restaurant which my memory tells me was called "The Mug and Muffin," certainly a name to inspire confidence regarding the likelihood of a good breakfast.
I held the restaurant door open, she stepped in, I stepped in behind her, and she stopped in her tracks.
She reached for my hand and began pulling me forward. "There's my Mom," she said and nodded across the room toward a table of four women, middle-aged or approaching it. "Come on, I'll introduce you."
As we reached the table, Mom was finishing a sentence. Marylou led me to Mom's side, but before she could speak Mom looked up, took me in with a glance, and said, "Hi, Marylou. Isn't that the dress you wore to work yesterday?"
It was all I could do not to laugh, and I knew then that she and I would get along just fine, thank you very much. That was a bit of a relief. I've always made it a point to get along with the mom. You just can't have a better ally or a worse enemy.
(As an aside, I've also made it a point to remain friends with former girlfriends. Partings have always been friendly. One former girlfriend, Dee Dee - about whom there will be some discussion later - and I split more than twenty-five years ago, and she married a year or so after. Not only do she and I still exchange Christmas cards, but her mother and I do as well. I still see Dee Dee for lunch on the rare occasions when I am in the Boston area, and a few years ago we visited with her mother.)
Several more isolated Marylou incidents come to mind:
- I had picked Marylou up after work and we were driving on the Boston Expressway. Ford had a station wagon model named the Country Squire and had just introduced the Pinto. I had read that someone suggested it be called the Country Squirt.
I mentioned the Pinto, which Marylou knew about, and asked, "Do you know what someone suggested it be called?"
"The Country Squirt."
"How did you know that?"
"Not only am I pretty . . . ."
- In bed on a Saturday morning at my apartment, I grabbed one of Marylou's feet and began playing "This Little Piggy." When I finished she said, "That's not how it goes."
"Yes it is. How else would it go?"
"I don't remember, but that's not it."
Later on, at her house, she finished changing clothes, grabbed my hand and said, "Come on. I want to talk to my mother."
Downstairs we went, and we found Mom sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. We sat down with her and Marylou demanded, "How does 'This Little Piggy' go?"
Mom looked at me and her eyes twinkled. She knew something was up and it was going to be fun. She recited "This Little Piggy" and waited.
"That's not how you did it with me when I was little."
"Of course it is, dear. Why would I lie?"
- We decided to drive to Quebec City for a holiday weekend. There we had a wonderful time, but Monday morning it was time to leave and rain was coming down in sheets.
Perhaps an hour and a half into the return drive, still in Canada, I realized that we were not on the road I had intended to be on. I played it back in my mind and decided that a half hour earlier I had veered left at a fork in the road and should have veered right. I told Marylou about it and kept driving.
"Aren't you going to look at a map?"
"No. The map's in the trunk and it's pouring rain. We're heading south, which is good, and I'll just keep taking major roads west and south as we come to them." I no longer remember the highway number I wanted to be on, but told it to her and suggested she watch for it.
Wriggle. Wriggle wriggle.
"I think you should look at the map."
"I'm not gonna get out in this rain if I can help it. We'll be OK."
More wriggling. Much accusatory silence.
West. South. West. Bingo!
WRIGGLE! "I was hoping you wouldn't find it."