Thursday, May 17, 2012

No. 749 – If 6 Was 9

Performer: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Songwriter: Jimi Hendrix
Original Release: Axis: Bold as Love
Year: 1967
Definitive Version: None

When Debbie and I announced to Dad and Laura in June 1995 before they went to Torch Lake for the summer that we were going to take our relationship to the next level and move in together, that was when the real ostracization from Dad’s side of the family began. It didn’t happen right away with everyone, but by Scott’s wedding in April 1996, it was more or less complete.

My biggest disappointment was my grandfather—everyone else I didn’t really care about. At the actual confrontation, Dad said with some foreboding that I would have to tell my grandfather, the family patriarch, as though he were going to rain down fire and brimstone from on high. Living together wasn’t the issue, of course. It was that it was me and Debbie.

So I told him. I explained how Debbie and I started doing things as friends and concluded that we had much in common and began to have genuine feelings for one another, so we began to actually date. The results were even better than we hoped, and now we were moving in together. His response in a nutshell: I’m happy for you, and I have no problem with this.

That was a weight off my shoulders. If my grandfather has my back, then I’m ultimately good with the family. And really that’s all I wanted anyway. Again, I wasn’t looking for immediate results; just give me the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’ll work out, and maybe it won’t, but I’m not doing this just to tick anyone off.

Anyway, Debbie and I had my grandfather over for dinner at our new place at the end of summer. He was our first invited guest after we had moved in together, and I knew that since Meemaw died he always was looking for dinner company, thus the invite. Debbie made chicken cordon bleu, a specialty that takes a lot of preparation, and we had a nice visit.

Then maybe a month or two later, I got the letter in the mail: He no longer approved of our relationship and he wanted to talk to me in person about it. Wonderful. I met him on his turf: The Clarmont, which is a glorious old-school steakhouse near German Village.

He was vague about why he had changed his mind when I asked, saying only that he had been made aware of things he didn’t know before and that now he could not in good conscience condone our relationship. In fact, although he didn’t say so, his goal clearly was to try and persuade me to see the same light he had been shone.

God only knows what Dad, Laura or both had told him, but I got an inkling when he began to talk about his concern that Debbie was worming her into my life to get at the family estate.

This was, frankly, an insult, and I told him as much. First, I wasn’t expecting to get anything anyway, and second, before Debbie and I even thought of dating, she had been sporadically going out with another lawyer at Dad’s office—the owner of the building Dad’s practice was in. He WAS a millionaire, AND he was interested in Debbie. But Debbie wasn’t interested in return.

Wouldn’t you think that if she were digging for gold, she would have stopped after she hit her big strike instead of continuing to dig likely in vain? This 6 wasn’t going to turn out to be a 9. But he couldn’t see the logic, or he didn’t want to try. It didn’t make much difference either way.

So our lunch ended as it begun—with each of us at polar ends and no common ground to be found. What common ground could there be if he wasn’t about to change his mind? I wasn’t going to dump Debbie. At least I had an excellent steak sandwich in my belly.

So is it any wonder that I had lyrics from this song, ‘I’m the one’s that’s gonna die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.’ running through my head in a constant earworm during this time?

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