how do I love thee? hm…good question

Pardon the interruption from Black History Month for a significant date, our anniversary, which is today the 9th. of February. I asked Pretty last week if she remembered we had an anniversary coming up. Oh yes, she said. What day is it then? I asked. Time passed as the wheels turned. I could see them turning. Is it the 12th.? she finally asked. No, I replied with outright disgust. It’s the 9th. Pretty said oh she knew it was either the 9th. or the 12th. but thought she always got it wrong so she went with the one she didn’t really think was right. Didn’t I say I saw the wheels turning? For 21 anniversaries, Pretty has never remembered the right date. I always remember because I have it written on my calendar, and I don’t consider that cheating. I consider it brilliant.

Return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear to meet Pretty who magically changed from being a close friend and confidante (before the spontaneous trip to Cancun pictured above in February, 2001) to a woman who was hotter than the salsa we had with dinner at La Destileria the first night we were there. And trust me, that salsa was hot.

Pretty was “out” in a conservative state in a tumultuous era. She was ahead of her time with her Bluestocking Bookstore in the Vista in Columbia before the Vista became cool. Her business closed after three years, but her contribution to the LGBTQ community was recognized and appreciated. She served on the original board of directors for the SC Gay and Lesbian Business Guild formed in 1993 and was the second president of that organization. Her passion for equality was the catalyst for an activist’s life, a passion she and I shared as friends over the decade that was the 1990s.

At the turn of the century, change was in the air. It was like everyone suddenly realized time was passing faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and if Superman and Wonder Woman were unlikely to intervene in the chaos and/or uninspiring sameness of our lives, we needed to make radical changes ourselves.

Both Pretty and I were in long term lesbian relationships that experienced seismic shifts as the first year of the new century came to a close. Our partners began looking for love in other places. Pretty had the additional drama associated with making a home for a fifteen year old son who she adored, an athletically gifted teenager who was the quarterback of his high school football team and the starting pitcher for their baseball team. She mixed her real estate appointments in her new career as a realtor with her tennis league schedules and her son’s games.

The trip to Cancun was the launching pad for the most adventurous ride of my life. I had no way of knowing then that the gorgeous intelligent intellectually inquisitive woman with the wonderful sense of humor who grew up in New Prospect, South Carolina would marry the woman from deep in the heart of Richards, Texas and that we would be together for the next 21 years sharing a life unimaginable to me as a child. Yet, here we are – still laughing at each other’s jokes, still loving, still standing. And yes, still eating Mexican food as often as our older appetites allow; but now with the additional delight of sharing quesadillas with our two year old granddaughter Ella who makes our love richer, more joyful, more playful.

Lo and behold, Ella has a new baby sister Molly

Number One Son who was 15 years old when we got together has become the father of two precious daughters, the husband of Pretty Too who we also are so thankful for. We love them all. Life is good.

How do I love thee, Pretty? Let me count the ways, and let me begin with the spicy salsa you have always brought to our family life together for two decades plus now. Unbelievable. Inconceivable. Somewhere in a distant childhood we must have done something good.

Happy 21st. Anniversary, Pretty.


Please stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to how do I love thee? hm…good question

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Congratulations on your Anniversary & the birth of beautiful Molly!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so very much, Cindy! Molly is a dear – we can’t remember when Ella was a baby like this, but goodness gracious, we have the pictures! We are blessed to have our friends in the blogosphere.


  2. Wayside Artist says:

    Happy Anniversary you two!! Your story and the precession of years together always makes my heart happy. Salute! Cent’anni!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luanne says:

    And look at the wonderful lives you’ve created for yourselves! Happiest of Anniversaries!!!! Since you’re from Texas, I’m sure you know your hot salsas, too hahaha. I love that photo! Hugs to you both!!!! Actually, Ella, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so very much, Luanne – hope your daughter and her husband will have the greatest adventures together! I’m so happy for you and the gardener to give her away together. That’s as it should be. Celebrate yourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        We had a blast. Everything went well! She scrapped the stupid bouquet and garter throwing out of respect for her single friends, which I thought was really smart. But it was all beautiful. Of course, I forgot to get a pic of the gardener and me or one of my boots with my dress. The gardener said when the professional family shots are ready I can photoshop everybody else out and get a pic of the two of us hahahahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne, that DRESS was stunning, gorgeous, incredible! I’ve never seen a lovelier wedding gown, and I’ve seen my share!
        I cannot believe you don’t have a picture of you and the gardener. Shame on you – I was dying to see your boots.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        I know. I was so eager to make my rounds talking to people we invited and meeting some of the groom’s friends and family that I a) got no appetizers and b) didn’t think about what photos I wanted.
        I think so too about that dress. I actually didn’t remember how gorgeous it was until I saw it hanging up when I got to the place where we got ready. I’m sure it’s my favorite ever. It has a white sequin sheath underneath that lacy layer so lots of attention to the whole thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really, Luanne, the dress was stunning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I knew everything would turn out to be fabulous, but I totally get the anxiety.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        I was pretty calm once it all started, but that’s because daughter had every T crossed, you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the way, uh huh, we like it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    Happy Happy Happy! Cheers to the next twenty-one!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy anniversary! Such babes in that photo ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aww what a sweet little newborn. Welcome to our planet, Molly and look how purroud you all are. Such a great picture, Sheila. Happy Anniversay to the both of you too🌹 Extra Pawkisses for a wonderful 💗 day🐾😽💞

    Liked by 1 person

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