Aren’t human beings supposed to be predictable, regular and measured? Well … not the one called Jody Kerr. In this lifetime, my dearest Jodiette hatched a few plans and smiled her biggest smile when they came together beautifully. Let me give you a few examples:
It was after Christmas and the world was cold. Jody announced that we were going on a trip over the long weekend. Actually a winter camping trip. (Huh?) “That’s right, Bruce, get out your woolies and your long underwear. We’re heading to a park near Sarnia” (an hour west of London). As I scrounged through my underwear drawer, bewildered, I heard Jody in the kitchen, pulling out pots and pans.
“But it’s too cold!”
“Nonsense. Get packed.”
The next morning, we drove north from Union, through St. Thomas, and angled towards the 402, a westward freeway that would deposit us in Sarnia. Before the 402, however, was the 401, another east-west road (east to Toronto, west to Windsor). At the last second, Jody points to the right and yells “I want to go there,” that is the eastbound ramp leading to TO. I obligingly jerked the wheel and a-curving we did go.
“What about winter camping?”
“Still on. Just elsewhere.”
Gracefully dodging the bulks of semi-trailers, I took us east … past Ingersoll, Woodstock and Kitchener. As I approached the exit ramp to Guelph – Guess what? – “I want to go there!” Okay, winter camping in Guelph, I guess.
As we’re motoring north towards the city, we come to a traffic light. I’m waiting in the left lane on the red when Jody says “I don’t want to go here. Turn around.” A silent “What?” in response. But I’m a dutiful husband, so I turned left, turned around, and back to the 401 we went.
“Go here.” As in back onto the easterly lanes of the freeway. And on to the suburbs of Toronto, whose skyscrapers had me thinking about the unlikely likelihood of sleeping in the snow.
Grinning continually, Jody directed me downtown, where we eventually pulled up in front of the Delta Chelsea Hotel. Oh my God. Something’s a-brewin’ in my lovely wife’s head.
In the hotel room, I had eyes for only the fancy bottle of red wine sitting on the coffee table. I poured Jody a glass, totally oblivious to the bottle’s label, and to a few small signs that were posted about the room. What a silly boy am I. Good wine, though.
After breakie the next day, Jody and I decided to walk the eight blocks or so to the St. Lawrence Market, an old Toronto tradition of food and craft vendors in a cozy brick building. But the wind. And the cold! We were boogieing down Yonge St, hunkering down inside our clothes, when we came upon the Pantages Theatre. I had to stop and look through the glass door to see the opulence inside. “Oh, I want to go in there some day!” But I was too cold to notice Jody’s reaction.
After munchies here and munchies there at the market, Jody announced that we needed to go back to the hotel room. A silent “Why?” in return. So off we went, risking fingers and toes in the holy pursuit of warmth and wine. No sooner were we well established on the love seat when Jody shared that we had an appointment at 2:00 pm, and it was important to dress for the occasion. She reached into her suitcase and pulled out … my suit! “Put this on.”
Visions of a fancy meal flooded me, and I protested – out loud this time – “I’m not hungry, you know. There’s no way I’m going to some hoity-toity restaurant!” Jody smiled and held out my dress shirt. In a half hour, we were both dolled up and ready for the wilds of Yonge St. again. So cold. Head down, I really wasn’t noticing my environment.
And then …
“Stop, Bruce! We’re here.”
I looked to my left, and there it was – the Pantages Theatre. The doorman in his long red coat was grinning at us both. Shock and incomprehensibility from yours truly. The gentleman held the door open and Jody and I entered a world of golds and reds, arm-in-arm. After depositing coats, we strolled Titanic-like down the double staircase. Jody so happy. Me so dumbfounded. We kissed.
Jody gave our tickets to the usher, and we followed her into the theatre … down and down and down the aisle till we ended up six rows from the front, in the middle. I love my wife.
At intermission, Jody leaned over and asked “Well, what do you think?” As our eyes met, there was only one answer … “It’s wonderful!” So was holding my darling’s hand.
Another year, another Christmas. Or leading up to one. Jody told me in November that she was taking me on a surprise trip. On a Saturday morning, we were having breakfast at the Lakeview Restaurant in Port Stanley, and I was plying her with clever questions. At one point, I got it. I knew where we were going.
“You’re taking me to Disney World, aren’t you?”
(Wifely face sinking)
“Well, that’s good. I really want to see Mickey.”
And so I prepared myself, emotionally and physically, for the big Florida show. Did I have enough t-shirts? Of course, I love t-shirts. But Mickey ears … now there was a deficit.
On December 23, it was another trip to Toronto, this time to stay at the Holiday Inn Airport, before catching the early morning shuttle. As we zoomed down the 401, I reminded Jody of the importance of me getting Mickey ears before we took off.
“We’ve got to go to the Disney store in Yorkdale.”
“Oh, Bruce. It’ll be a madhouse in there today. Why don’t you wait until Florida and buy them there?”
“No, no, no. I need them now.”
Magically, I found a parking space and later returned to it with a new type of hat for my head. I was so enamoured with my ears that I wore them in the hotel lounge that evening. The next morning, I was bringing my suitcase down to the lobby (with appropriate Mickeyness), when I saw Jody and the desk clerk standing at the checkout counter, laughing. Clearly, he was caught up in the joy of approaching Disney.
In the shuttle, my ears sat proudly on my head, much to the amusement of several passengers. And then the arrival. I wheeled my suitcase through the opening doors and started looking for the airline counter. Jody, however, had other plans.
“Let’s sit down.”
“Sit down? You don’t sit down at the airport. You line up.”
“C’mon, Bruce. Humour me.”
So I sat … light yellow coat, big ears, and furrowed brow. Jody stood in front of me, with her right hand behind her back.
“Where are we going, Bruce?”
“No, Bruce, we’re going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.”
And there was my semi-lovely wife, whipping out the camera and immortalizing my pain on film. Oh, the sorrow. Minutes later, however, I was gobbling up the brochure description of the Riu Tequila Hotel in Mexico. Gosh, it looked sort of nice.
The vacation was stunning. Pristine white sand beach. Awesome evening entertainment. All sorts of yummables. And my Jodiette by my side all the time, loving me. I was a happy man. Still am.
Way back when, in the days before marriage, Jody and I had the thought that we might just be able to afford a down payment for a small home. There was a new subdivision in Lethbridge, Alberta, and we decided to wander over to a Sunday open house.
We walked in. I checked out the living room, cram-packed with weekend browsers. Looked good. Unknown to me, Jody had gone upstairs to see the master bedroom. It was a strange design up there. In the middle of one wall was a large rectangular hole, which looked down on the living room.
My musings came to a screeching halt when I heard …
“Brucio, Brucio. Wherefore are thou, Brucio?”
Gazing upwards, there was my precious pre-wife, arms wide.
Naturally, I followed suit. Down on one knee and hands to the sky of Jody.
“Jodiette, Jodiette. Sweet, sweet Jodiette.”
So we became Jodiette and Brucio
And evermore shall be
I love you, my dear girl