The Party Around My Neck

Have you ever fallen in love with something that the one you think the most of absolutely hates?  At our house, it doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.  While Cliff doesn’t dictate what I wear or do, I like him to be able to give me a thumbs up.  He’s that special to me.

I distinctly remember being trapped in my bedroom by my husband until I put my hand on the Bible and swore I would not wear black leggings to a Shifters dance.  I thought I totally rocked with my baggy bright pink sweater, black belt and side ponytail.   He did not.  Over several years we had an ongoing stand-off over a baggy red sweater I had bought at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Yakima, WA  for senior pictures.  To me, it was more than a sweater.  My historical memories were woven into that cloth. I finally decided it wasn’t worth him thinking I looked like the scourge of the earth.  The conflict ended with me waving the red sweater of surrender and saying “I will let you go through my closet and get rid of anything you don’t like.”  I pictured him leaving me with just a gingham frock and a parka, but surprisingly he said “You’d let me do that?  Really? I just don’t like the sweater.”  Whew!

No other incident has surfaced since 1990 until this spring.  I can’t believe I didn’t pick up what was going on.

On our way to Colorado, Cliff was being ornery the whole trip.  Trying to stir me up about the silliest things, he reminded me so much of my Grandpa Moore with his sense of humor.  Grandpa was a master at throwing out little comments to rile up Grandma into a thither.  He’d try to convince Grandma if unexpected visitors showed up that she had invited them for supper and didn’t remember it.  She would be a buzz until she figured it he was just messing with her.  His type of love language was showing up in my husband.  Cliff teased me about whether I was really seeing mountains.  “Those are clouds”.  He tried to convince me the PT ‘Crapper’ as he calls it was not going to make it over a creepy gravel mountain pass we had taken on a whim.  The whole trip he messed with me as I laughed and fired right back, matching him jab for jab.  It was such fun.

Since this was a research trip, we wandered through little shops in a couple of area towns.  At the top our shopping list was information, but a few items caught our eyes, especially if the information flowed freely.  Falling into a perfect blend of the two, we visited with a shopkeeper a spell.  Cliff played the part of wingman perfectly as he asked things that had never entered my mind.  My nose was in the jewelry, but tuned into their convo.  I latched on to pretty blue beaded necklace and was ready to scoot until I saw ‘it”.  This dramatic necklace had multicolored beads spiralling out of it in ways I had never seen.  It had me at its colorful ‘hello’ as I pictured it working with everything I owned.

“That necklace was made by Honduran widows.”  Yes, our new friend recognized that he was about to seal the deal.

“Are you sure you want that one?” Cliff calmly asked.

“Oh yes!  I love it!”  In moments it walked out the door with me and a complimentary back scratcher ‘for the little lady.’

I should have caught on to Cliff’s comments.  “You are such a softie. Wanting to help Honduran widows,” “Really, you didn’t have to buy two things just to get the guy to talk to us.” and “You are serious.  You really like that necklace?”

“Yes, I do.  Don’t you see it is like a party around my neck?  Look, if I clip this cross pendant on it, it is so cute.  Besides it will match anything I wear.”   I chalked it up to more fun bantering.

He would shake his head.  Little comments were made when we stopped to visit friends.  She loved it.  Her husband never committed.  A lady in a store in West Cliff stopped me to visit about it.  My sister-in-law oohed and ahhed as Cliff and my brother rolled their eyes.

When we got home, compliments from friends flowed at church.  That afternoon I wore it to visit my grandmother in the hospital.  Despite macular degeneration, she said, “Kelly, I really like your necklace.”

“Hey, Cliff, did you hear that?”  I hollered over my shoulder to my husband.  Later in the car on our way to our 30 year high school reunion the subject came to light AGAIN.   Did he really not like it this much?

“Well, Grandma liked it.”

“Kelly, she is blind, so it must be pretty loud if she can see it.”

At the reunion, several of the gals had to look at it closely.  “Kel, I’m going to have to figure out how to make one of these.” My jewelry making buddy turned it over in her hands.  Cliff nervously covered for me (or him?) with the guys saying “She bought it only to help out Honduran widows.”  All the guys did a pity nod.  (I kid you not!)

On the way home, I just flat asked him.  And, yes, I was crushed with his answer.

But it is just a necklace.  While he would never say I couldn’t wear it, his opinion is worth more to me than strangers, friends, and even my sweet little grandma.

John 15:13 says this Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.  Cliff is my best friend and it’s just a necklace, that I will pass on to someone who really loves it—-and is probably single.


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