“It gets easier,” someone said recently in referring to long marriages and looking my way for confirmation.
“Certainly it’s less hard,” I should have said, but with me it’s always “l’esprit d’escalier.” Okay, okay, out with the innuendo. When Mary said the other morning that she’d stayed up to watch “Forrest Gump,” for the gumpteenth time, I said, “I may not be very intelligent, but I know what rigor mortis is,” having got my butt kicked the day before on the tennis court.
And though physically disabling, it was mentally just what the doctor ordered. I little cared during those two hours whether I won or lost; it was just nice to hit the ball, and, a few days later, fun to ride around the back nine of the South Fork Country Club’s golf course, watching Zach Grossman, the club champ, and his partner, Steve Luerrsen, one of the head pro Tim Garvin’s assistants, duel Garvin and another of his assistants, David Einstein, in a 10-hole match play fund-raiser for East Hampton food pantries that raised more than $115,000 for them. Russell J. Calemmo, the East Hampton Food Pantry’s vice chairman, said later that he’d been overwhelmed by the donation — more than double what the food pantry was used to raising annually.
It was the first sporting contest I’ve attended since February, if memory serves, a reminder of what I used to do in order to feel useful. With no games to go to in the past three-plus months I’ve been reduced to expanding my mind as Mary’s has been weighing in against entropy (“Did you notice how clean the kitchen is?”), though, refreshingly, O’en’s hairs float up off the couch in the shafts of early morning light, testimony to the resilience — to the doggedness no less — of life.
As I say, I’ve been reading a lot of books, a number of them seminal ones about nature, by Henry Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Peter Wohlleben, while the catkins from our shaggy oaks rain down, and also books about early American history — freedom from arbitrary power being the battle cry then, as it is now.
I’m not sure where this impulsion to improve came from, but it’s there. As our weatherman says, you want to know before you go.