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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Where the Truth is Always Told

I like to think of this blog as a place where the truth is always told, but that's not what this post is about.

Besides, it probably isn't true anyhow.


A long time ago, before my wife was my wife, we were driving in her old PT Cruiser up to Plattsburgh, New York, where she had done a bit of her growing up, once upon a time. Back in the dark ages of 2004 or thereabouts, there were no Sirius Satellite Radios or iPods (at least, not for us there weren't) and so we did what people have been doing for decades when their cars meander into unfamiliar interstates-- we fiddled with the radio dial until something agreeable came on. We were hoping for the local NPR affiliate, because we're Jewish and educated and white and all, and we might have found it, I'm not exactly sure. It was 90 point somethingorother, but it was the lovely, friendly baritone voice that stopped my finger on the dial. He was singing a charming tune, a sweet song, a song about what it is to love someone unwaveringly, through the years. The song was called "The Thing that Makes You Beautiful," and the warm, rich voice that sang it through the plain-Jane speakers of that PT Cruiser was Michael Cooney.

It asks a simple, sweet, honest question of a love:

"Won't you let me be your mirror,
Where the truth is always told?"

And, really, isn't that what we all want from the one we love?

I made sure to remember Cooney's name when it was announced by the probably plaid-shirt-wearing DJ, or maybe the future Mrs. Apron wrote it down on a scratch piece of paper. I don't remember but, either way, it stuck. When we got home from our trip to the NY Hinterlands, I went to Cooney's website and ordered the CD, "Together Again" which featured the song that swept us up in schmoopiness. Because Cooney's website was as quaint as he is, you had to send in your orders via mail and pay by check. I included a note about how my wife and I found his song by accident, and how we basically found each other by accident, too.

Cooney sent me the CD, and a very sweet, handwritten note that I probably still have in a tin cigar box where I keep all very sweet, handwritten notes that people send me, for whatever probably misguided reason. As October, 2006 approached, Mrs. Apron and I planned for our first dance to be "The Thing that Makes You Beautiful."

"The Irish trio can take a break for our first dance-- it'll be awkward for them, but I don't care," I said to her. She agreed.

Of course, because I'm a tremendous ballcock, I had lost the CD, and, with the wedding date fast approaching, we were without our first song.

So, I sent another note, and another check, to Cooney. This time the note was a longer one, full of self-deprecating remarks about my ballcockness, and I also briefly shared with him the story about my wife's brain surgery, as I learned in the liner notes of the CD I'd lost that Cooney was in a head-on car crash at the hands of a drunk driver and had himself undergone two craniotomies. Thus, the title of his CD, "Together Again" finally made sense. He was, at last, put back together again.

Cooney, very quickly, mailed back another copy of "Together Again," another nice note wishing Mrs. Apron and I all the best. He also mailed my check back.

Since we married, I have done my best to be Mrs. Apron's mirror, where the truth is always told. It isn't easy, because sometimes you don't want to hear the truth, even from your mirror. Especially from your mirror. And sometimes even a mirror shrinks from its responsibilities in favor of a quiet, taciturn night, or even out-and-out cowardice. But a mirror tries to discharge its duties, its sworn, avowed duties, in fact, as any promise made on a wedding day is sacrosanct.

Sometimes, being a mirror to Mrs. Apron is as hard as dissecting a particularly painful therapy session with her, after the dust settles, and the tears come. Sometimes it is as hard as sorting through the mess and detritus that is her family, and mine. Sometimes it is as easy as telling her she has a huge smudge of chocolate on the left side of her face, left numb after her own brush with neurosurgery.

Of course, that's not really that easy either.

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