Monday, September 7, 2015

To Change, Not Forget

A few weeks ago I had an epiphany. Okay, it wasn’t the caliber of a biblical enlightenment, but it did open my eyes.

My laptop started acting up, which was a big deal considering as a writer my computer is key to my emotional stability. If my computer is on the fritz, then so am I.

Luckily, I had The Picky Eater’s laptop, which was a newer, faster version compared to mine. I saved all of my work to an external hard drive, so it was just a matter of unplugging it from one computer and attaching it to the other. I was back in business.

The Picky Eater and I shared the office from the day I moved into the apartment. I worked from a small antique secretary desk that my mom did her homework on during her middle school days. He used a huge L-shaped desk he bought secondhand from an accounting office for $35. The desk was is great shape, and was old enough that the L section dropped down a few inches so a large electrical typewriter would fit on top. He loved that desk.

Each morning I would start work in the office still in my pajamas. The Picky Eater worked overnight as a courier, so he would sleep until around noontime…if I was lucky. To make sure he stayed asleep, I would wait to get dressed for the day, thus lessening the risk of waking him up.

You see, when the Picky Eater woke up, he would come into the office, give me a hello kiss, sit down at his desk, and turn on the small TV sitting on top. Bless his heart, he would try to be quite, turning the volume down so low I wondered how he could hear it. The problem wasn’t the TV. It was the conversation. No matter how focused I was on my work, with my fingers flying as quickly as possible across the keyboard, he would always talk to me. Half the time I was concentrating so intently I didn’t hear him. Or he would ask me a question, which I wouldn’t answer until I finished typing a thought. At first that would frustrate him, but once he figured out the reason, he would be patient for my answer.

As you might guess, once he woke up, I didn’t get a lot of work done.

Now, sitting at his desk and using his computer were both comforting and bittersweet. Since he passed away last year, I used his desk primarily to pay bills and write notes. When I started teaching writing workshops, I would sit there to prepare for my classes. Otherwise, the bulk of my time in the office was spent at my desk.

My tiny desk…with my papers balanced precariously on top of the file cabinet next to it…with my notes crowded around the computer, making it hard to move the mouse…with its view of the wall and the curtains blocking the window.
Verses The Picky Eater’s desk, with it’s wide-open space and my favorite view looking out the window, through a couple of buildings and over the Quincy Street Station, to the rolling, tree-covered hills that will soon change from various shades of deep green to the colorful display of autumn.

Why was I continuing to use this tiny desk when there was a huge one available with a much better view?


Why hadn’t it occurred to me to make the switch sooner? I can only guess it was because, in my heart, it was still The Picky Eater’s desk. And it always will be, but now it’s mine, too.

The desk is now home to my writing books and papers…

My favorite coffee cup and water glass…

His note of encouragement to me and my favorite photo of him…

The Augusta National Golf Club (home of The Masters) coasters he got as a present from his son, and the picture of Jonathan and Jennifer Hart (Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers from the TV show Hart to Hart) that he bought because they reminded him of us (in love, yes! In wealth, not so much)…

His championship bowling trophy and Jack Nicklaus persimmon-wood driver sit along side…

Now the bill-paying and note-writing take place on the smaller desk, and my work at the big one.

I think The Picky Eater would be happy with the change.

I know I’m happy looking at the lovely, calming view. 


  1. The little steps, they are really the biggest ones.....

  2. I think it's a beautiful melding of the both of you ...

  3. Yes, Melynda, baby steps...Thank you, Susan. I enjoy sitting down at "our" desk every day.

  4. Your description of picky eaters time with you in the office is so similar to me and my husband that I had to read it out to him. Beautiful post, as hard as I'm sure this was, it looks brilliant, with lots of lovely memories :)

  5. Thanks Emma. Don't we love those husbands who mean well but sometimes just don't get it. ;-)

  6. A lovely tribute, Linda--and you're inspiring me to do something about my awful desk. Today. Thank you.