We were listening to our favorite radio station when a Bobby Vinton oldie came on, his mournful tones of “blue on blue” echoed through our little car. We were returning home from a funeral, another friend had joined the service of the Lord.
“It’s a problem the older we get.” My wife whispered between Vinton’s musical interludes.
“What is?” My concentration was on the merging traffic and I scarcely heard the radio much less my companion.
She leaned against the door and faced me. “Friends dropping like flies. It seemed like only a few years ago we were complaining cause all of these same friend’s kids were getting married, then the kids started having babies. I thought we would never get done buying gifts.”
“Well, at least we didn’t buy a gift for Martha.” I was immediately sorry for my crude joke.
“You sent money to the American Cancer Society though, in place of flowers.”
I tried to hide my embarrassment. “And, I think we are contributing to a fund at church in her name.”
Vinton sang, “heart ache on heart ache.”
“That song always makes me blue,” she said. “I don’t know if I ever liked it.”
“Yeah, I hope Dan wasn’t listening to the same station.” Dan was Martha’s husband. We shook his hand and embraced him when we left the gravesite. He looked lost, forlorn, and tired.
Vinton droned one, “Blue on Blue…”
“Let’s do something for Dan.” My wife straightened up in the car seat.
“I don’t know, something to cheer him up, like a barbecue or maybe a chicken pick’n. I’ll email some folks and we will have a party, just for Dan.”
I thought a minute. “Let’s wait a week or two on that, we wouldn’t want him to think we were celebrating the loss of Martha.” I had a habit of sticking my foot into my mouth and this was no exception.
“We wouldn’t do anything before January anyway; too much going on during the holiday season, and Dan will have relatives galore around until after Christmas.” She was thumbing through her calendar.
The radio announcer back announced the Vinton song and simultaneously started another musical selection. Our car was silent except for the radio. I slowly made the turn into our neighborhood.
My wife put her pen in the corner of her mouth. “You know, post Christmas will be devastating for Dan.”
“I have an idea.” I tapped the steering wheel.
“Be nice. Why don’t we do a New Year’s oyster shuck’n?”
She smiled. “Cool, I’ll call Beth, she has the biggest back yard.”
“And, I’ll talk to the guys over the oyster house and see if we can oysters in January, may have to come from Virginia. I’d run up to Virginia Beach if that was the case.”
“You just wanna go play at Virginia Beach.” She laughed and made a note on her calendar.
“Uh, maybe forty years ago, but my best play these days is a slow round of golf.”
“Hey, there’s an idea. Invite Dan to play golf, and discuss having a New Year’s party.”
An obscure band was blaring on the radio.
“Okay, the weather is still decent. I think he’d go, at least he used to enjoy it.”
The radio announcer was talking over the music. He was joking about the Vinton song and the name of the second group, the Blue Oyster.
“Well, that seals it.” I nodded toward the radio.
“Name of the group is Blue Oyster.”
She shook her head. “Sheesh.”
I pulled the car into our driveway. “I think more than anything we just need to talk to Dan, let him know that we care and are here if he needs anything. Two of his kids will be heading back to Louisville, soon.”
“Yeah, we want no blue moon over Kentucky for him.” She giggled
“Oh, very punny.” I put the car into park. “I bet he would go to prayer breakfast with me.”
“Martha always loved the Christian family of our church, there’s no doubt in my mind that Dan will be well taken care of; and my guess is that Martha knew that too.
Post note: Cancer claimed our friend Martha four years ago. Last week, in church, Dan announced his engagement to a wonderful Christian woman, who five years ago lost her husband to the same disease. “As my wife said. What do you get 60 year olds for a wedding gift?”
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