It’s my husband’s birthday.
I won’t tell you how old he is, but let me say with some glee: Older Than Me!
In celebration of his birthday, let me pay tribute to the good and bad side of one of this strongest traits.
My husband is stubborn.
Probably the stubbornest person I have ever met. Maybe the stubbornest person who ever lived.
He will never give up. He will never give up an opinion or a grudge. (He still hates his first-grade teacher.)
He won’t give up a broken tool. He will fix it. Or perhaps, put it in the cellar to fix “one day.” We have a very crowded cellar.
He won’t throw away left-overs. I ate the Easter ham for the next nine days. He ate the Easter ham for a month. (He is still alive, but that is only because he is too stubborn to admit he was poisoned.)
When we buy a new car, it does not mean that he will part with the old car. He still has his (non-running) 1979 Porsche.
He has: rakes with no tines, shoes with no soles, pens with no ink, watches that last kept time in 1981. When he lost weight, he wore his old clothes for so long that one day as he walked from the kitchen to the den, his pants fell down to his ankles. Thank goodness he was not at the Post Office.
But here’s the positive side of pig-headedness:
He really does sometimes fix stuff that I would have thrown away. He has repaired vacuum cleaners and jewelry and computers.
And he will keep plugging away at something that he does not know how to do until he can do it.
Before he finally retired (and he keeps saying he will go back to work), he was an amazing salesman. Because he never gave up until he got the sale. Yes, he was one of those obnoxious salespeople that will just keep on until they wear you down. There’s good money in that, by the way. And his customers actually liked him, because he got their business through sheer stubbornness and determination – not lies.
And also because the other thing he will not give up on is: People.
I don’t have a lot of friends. He has a ton of friends, and he keeps them.
He is still friends with this little girl:
He is also still very good friends with the girl he dated a few times in high school, more than fifty years ago. Am I jealous of his relationship with this old sweetheart? Only jealous that he can keep friends for so long. I am not exactly friends with my old boyfriends.
When he had surgery several years ago, he received cards and flowers from his customers. And although he has been retired for a few years now, these same customers call every now and then to shoot the breeze.
Years ago, a girlfriend of mine had a problem and called to discuss it. With my husband.
And although it is annoying (which is the diplomatic way to phrase it) to be married to a guy who saves broken staplers, he also saved something else this year that makes me love him still.
He saved the life of an old friend. He didn’t do this alone; his friend’s sister was the most important factor in saving this guy’s life. But my husband was critical too. This guy is a funny, smart and sweet person, who over the course of many years, developed a serious drinking problem. And one day last summer, my husband received a phone call from his friend’s sister. His friend was in the hospital, dying of liver disease. “End-Stage,” the hospital called it, and were not bothering to even treat him. His sister – as stubborn as my husband – would not give up on him. She had a specialist come in and convince the hospital staff – loudly – that her brother did not have to die. And so the hospital reluctantly began to treat him. And the hospital was not the only source of resistance. My husband’s friend had given up too.
So my husband went to the hospital. And he told his friend, “I am keeping you as a friend. I need you in my life, and I refuse to let you go.”
He was the only visitor (other than the sister) that his friend had.
But sometimes one friend who won’t give up on you is enough.
Just recently my husband stopped by his friend’s house. He was remodeling the dining room.
Happy Birthday to my pig-headed hero.