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Chuck Hinman, IJMA No. 139: What I Miss Most

Chuck Hinman recalls the things he misses most about the too brief 50 year marriage with his beloved Connie, a romance cut short when her life and sweet voice were cruelly silenced shortly after his retirement. "What I miss most is drifting off to sleep holding her hand and her still telling me about her exciting day!," he says, of the woman who listened only to Christian radio plus Kitchen Klatter, and who spoke personally of One she knew so well, Jesus. Chuck Hinman recalls the things he now misses most from the fleeting 50 years of their married life together
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by Chuck Hinman

At the risk of being called a "sentimental old fool," I'm going to tell you what I miss most as the years roll by. It's Connie's constant chattering about "her day" as she went about putting the finishing touches on our suppers.

I was just a few feet away reading the evening paper. I would throw out an occasional "Oh really" to make her think I was hanging on her every word when I was doing what many husbands do. It's called selective hearing.

Connie is deceased; I am 88 and am visually and hearing impaired. I have significant mobility problems. I would be a basket case if I didn't have memories to feed on.

Here's what I miss most -- I wish I could replay every word of Connie telling me about her day -- back then . . . .

Connie and I were married only a short fifty years. She gave up an executive secretary career at Phillips Petroleum Company to be a stay at home wife and mother to me and our two wonderful kids -- Paul and Mary Ann. It was a wise choice.

When the kids came home from school, there was a momma there to greet them, fix them a snack, and do all the things "mommas" do including talking about their day. Connie was interested in the other person. She loved to talk but she was rare in that she was a good listener.

Likewise when I got home from work, she welcomed me at the door with a kiss. We had a standing joke between us. I could smell the aroma of something so good it made my knees buckle. I would taunt her with a wrinkled nose and "WHAT STINKS?" She would go along with the charade and counter with -- "It's your oatmeal you didn't eat at breakfast -- I made an omelet out of it sweetie!" I would smack her bottom and head for my recliner with the evening paper, knowing that her usual delicious supper would soon be served.

If you didn't know Connie, you need to know a couple things. Besides being a knowledgeable dietitian she was a learned Bible student. In talking to her you didn't talk long until observing "Hey, this gal talks like she knows Jesus personally." And indeed she did. She introduced me to Him!

Another thing you need to know about her. She had a chronic radio -- preacher listening habit. "Was she selective?" The answer is "Yes" with a capital "Y."

Early in her career as a wife/mother she bought a good multi-band short wave radio. She did her daily housework with the radio as her inseparable companion.

Her favorite station was KCFO, a Christian radio station in Tulsa. She listened to the daily broadcast of perhaps eight preachers with whom she was doctrinally aligned. She not only listened to them she supported them financially.

The only other radio program she listened to was the "Kitchen Klatter" program. It was on KMA from Shenandoah, Iowa. It was a homespun housewife talk program. It became so popular that people like Connie considered the principals like extended family members. So, it was natural at the end of the day that Connie wanted to tell me about "her day" and "her friends." She told me enthusiastically what she had learned from her radio preachers, or the new recipe she had gotten, or who was going to have a baby from the KK program. It was Connie's world and friends and she wanted to share them with her best friend -- me!

I didn't have any idea her chatty voice would be cruelly silenced about the time I retired. We lived in Houston. Her radio sat unused in her closet for years because she didn't know what it was. Just looking at her radio makes me cry because of its importance in her life. Truly she was a "professional" as a Mom. And she was my wife.

What I miss most is drifting off to sleep holding her hand and her still telling me about her exciting day!

My learned advice is to cherish every conversation with your wife and/or kids as if it is the last one, for indeed, sooner than you realize it will be the last.

This story was posted on 2010-06-27 05:46:24
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