Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.
Writer’s note: the above headline has an old saying about missing a boat meaning that I have overlooked or misunderstood the old saying entirely. Just explaining. Thanks, Kenneth.
Here you are. 35 years later when you two fell in love and began such a heated, passionate dating cycle that ended-up with a equally-passionate engagement. Then “the” day that you both dreamed of. “The” day that you grew so impatient that you thought that the universe had somehow slowed-down the element of time to just aggravate you.
Then, you two blessed folks, beaming with pride with light enough to light-up the State of Mississippi. You listen to the minister. You answer his questions with a resounding I do! Then . . .your real life begins. Honey and roses? Nope. But now you wish. Even have dreams of how you two met, what you said, where you went and what you have been experiencing was your entire 35-year relationship frame by frame.
Too bad that life doesn’t work that way. But now, more than ever, you wish it would. Just once.
Here is where it can get irritating and frustrating. You, being the couple, on the verge of splitting-up a 35-year relationship that has at times been lived in storybook style, and then there are those times, like all married couples, that are down-right hurtful, angry and and frustrating. Welcome to the club! Even Princess Kate Middleton and Prince William have had royal spats behind castle doors. Oh, you didn’t know.
Divorce is not a grand respecter of people. Divorce is heartless and does not run on disposable batteries. Divorce to me, can run forever on nuclear power. It most, because I do not see any cute bunnies with sunglasses beating a bass drum anywhere.
But divorce, all things being equal, is more common than you might think. I can recall that when I grew up in the late 1950’s, divorce was more taboo than in 2022. Even in the 50’s, when a man or woman was accused of adultery, it was hush, hush in the neighborhood. But whispers filled the air. The woman was instantly accused of being a shady woman and the man was celebrated for being a “Virility Machine.”
Today, we still have conventional marriages, but depending on the wealth and properties of the wedded couple, the divorce in this case can be nasty. And that same once-celebrated couple can be found on the front pages of all the cheap tabloid papers sold at most cashiers’ check-out areas. Me? If I were to go into a divorce, God forbid, my wife and I would be just another number in some dusty records book in that same dusty records room in a Judge of Probate’s Office.
Quite frankly, I do not pretend to be an expert on marriage and divorce, because the rules are changing even as we speak. I know of a lot of minds, both average and popular, that come away very dizzy at this statistic. But divorce has never vowed to be nice. Or fair. Just hungry enough to take whatever is not nailed down and sentimental memories might as well ride in the backseat of a city bus. (A nod to the late Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph, “The Honeymooners.”)
Speaking of the “Cramden’s,” Gleason aka, “Ralph Kramden,” and Audrey Meadows aka, “Alice,” one who has been the first to watch their show would swear that the two are either going to file for divorce or fight like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. I did say ‘going to’ file for divorce. Many times, I have thought the same thing and I have seen every rerun of this TV classic.
But that is show business, which does have its share of divorce off the screen. I hate to name name’s, but ask Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But with this famous couple, if they do get a divorce, neither one will be labeled a loser. Fianancially speaking. With both collective salaries, they share a billion or so bucks and divide that by two and see if you could live on the answer to this financial quiz.
But on the common front, I have seen divorce come close to home. I had a fellow coworker in a newspaper near the one that I worked for, was an excellent phtographer. He was an artist behind the viewfinder. But somehow, his wife was lured, allegedy, by another man who did things that my friend did and wham bam, hello attorney’s. My friend came away with the short end of the stick and he didn’t even have the stick. But what amazes me is that my friend did not do one thing to cause the split-up. He worked. Came home and gave the wife his check. Not that he walked on water, but I have listened to him talk about this tragic event and with tears running down his cheeks. That to me, meant divorce.
No wonder that in some divorce cases, when the couple who are now living single lives, they cannot escape those now-hidden good memories that cannot be washed away and when the couple hears the late, great Tammy Wynette’s solid gold hit, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” they go to pieces. No. That one is by the late great Patsy Cline.
I have said a lot of things about divorce without saying one thing constructive enough to hang your hat on. But if I were asked to step in and present a solution for most divorces, this would be it . . .
Instead of first dating, going steady, then marrying and devoting years of work paying for a mortage, car, doctor’s, dentist, and therapists’ bills, children’s school, K-12, college and post-graduate time, plus the groceries, utilities, vacations, etc. . .
Both of the couple sit down and write down what they expect to be given to them if and when they decide to divorce. In short, do it in reverse. And if this couple arrives at a place where they have fallen in love, then the “Divorce Beast,” will have to seek food elsewhere.
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© 2022 Kenneth Avery