Parting is such sweet … Oh, forget it!

By Lori Clinch

Although I’m not one to brag, I believe there is not much about me that makes my husband crazy. Surely it isn’t because he’s not one to voice his opinion on such matters and he tends to let the little things go.

I’m quite certain my Pat does not love my “catch-all” drawer, isn’t crazy about the paper trails on my desk and isn’t fond of the way I keep my bathroom sink littered with cosmetics, but if these things bother him, Pat doesn’t mention it and it makes for a good relationship between us.

(If you are a man who is about to tie the knot, you might want to write that down and put it under the subtitle “Happy wife, happy life.” Just a word to the wise.)

Yet, what does make Pat a little agitated, miffed and somewhat perturbed is my good-byes. Not when I’m parting ways with him, mind you. Those usually consist of a quick peck combined with a mildly sarcastic, “Have a fun day,” as he walks out the door and into the elements.

It’s when I am leaving any sort of social gathering that tends to get Pat’s goat.  And when he has any of our four sons to back him up, I get a real roasting as I climb into the car.

“What on Earth were you talking about for so long?” our Charlie asked after mass just last Sunday.

“Yeah,” chimed in our Lawrence to take things up a notch. “You held those people up for 10 full minutes.”

“They were asking me questions,” I said in my defense. “It was not the other way around.”

“Whatever,” Pat added in an uncharacteristic manner. “You were talking the whole time.”

“How would you know?” I asked. “Their backs were to you the whole time!”

“We could tell by their body language,” added Charlie.

“Yeah!” said Lawrence. “That and the way that every time they started to walk off, you grabbed them by the sleeve and pulled them back.”

Not being one to let such matters slide, I retaliated with this: “When I die, I want people to say at my funeral, ‘She always took the time to say hello.’ After all, who wants to be remembered as the gal who was the first one to get to the car after church?”

I suppose I’m just fortunate that Pat doesn’t pull up to the door and lay on the horn.

It gives me great comfort to know I am not the only one who enjoys a good visit and participates in a good-bye tour as she parts company. Take the other evening, as an example. We were walking into a restaurant when Ron, an old classmate of my husband, offered up a “hello” as he was leaving.

Being a man, Ron’s visit with Pat was brief. There was the “How are ya? How are the kids?” And a heartfelt, “Nice weather we’ve been having!”

Also being of the male gender, Pat responded with quick answers, “Good, great,” and a hearty, “Boy, I’ll say!”

That would have been the end of the conversation if only it weren’t for one thing — the classmate’s missus was working the crowd like she was running for Congress.

“How can she talk so much?” Ron asked as he took in the situation. Just then his precious wife walked away from one table of friends only to stop at another. “It’s not like we have nothing else to do!”

Not having his boys to back him up, my Pat said nothing. As Ron’s wife stopped at two or three more tables to chew the fat, Ron made a couple more comments that consisted of, “She just saw those people yesterday!” and “Those are our neighbors! She can’t talk to them over the fence?!”

“I’m going to get the car,” Ron said as he walked out the door in frustration.

“That’s a great idea,” I called out to him sarcastically. “Pull up to the door and lay on the horn.”

Ron’s wife walked by shortly thereafter and offered us up a kind and heartfelt adieu. Ron might have had steam coming out of his ears by then, but I tell you this, when the day comes for her to part this life, she will be remembered ever so kindly.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to loriclinch2010@gmail.com.