Friday, January 7, 2011

When Friendly Phrases Fail

My Mother's boyfriend of 7+ years, Ray encountered my Father for the first time at a family event. Ray is the quintessential gentleman.  He is always kind and polite and is the sort of person that one cannot help but really really like.

My Father and Mother had a particularly contentious divorce.  So much so, in fact, that they had hardly spoken in over 20 years by this point.  The stories are legion and legend and include words such as theft, vandalism, court, jail and more.  I try to stay out of it.

When Ray bumped into Dad at my brother's wedding, he was probably a little nervous because he isn't the contentious sort and prefers to remain on good terms with everyone.  That, and he could have seen little sense in being anything but friendly and polite.  So Ray said what first comes to mind when you meet someone that you've know about for a long time yet never encountered "Well, now I've heard alot about you!"

To which my Father, who does have a great sense of humor, replied with a smile "I'll bet you have!"  Then they both had a great awkward chuckle.  Poor Ray was both mortified and tickled pink by his poor choice of words.

No matter that 36 years after their parting ways, Mom and Dad still rarely speak, Ray is a point on which they both agree.  He is a good and kind man.

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