Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #93 “Valentine’s Night”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

I’m always amazed when I meet people who tell me they’re amazed at how highly I speak of my wife.

She’s Gwen the Beautiful! How could I not praise her to the skies?

This is a woman who changes the oil in our truck—because she knows I can’t.

Who puts the air in our tires when they get low—because she knows if I try to do it I’ll just let out what’s still left.

Who gets angry if I give her a gift for Mother’s Day—because as far as she’s concerned it’s “a fake commercial holiday created to do nothing but make us buy.”

Who is responsible for the closeness I have with everyone and everything I love.

Gwen brought Huck the Spotless Appaloosa home to become my brother. She insisted on going to the auction where we saved Elaine the Not So Wild Mustang from becoming dog food.

She rescued Emmy the Bold and stopped me from running off the Big Red Chow Dude…a sequence of events resulting in Decker the Giant-Hearted, the best dog buddy I ever had.

Oh, and she just happened to find the key that unlocked my inability to understand and talk to and be honest with one Acme Passel O’Brody Kids, bringing me together with children long estranged.

Children not even hers. Biologically, that is.

Gwen and I were friends long before we were lovers. We’d see each other at social gatherings. We’d talk. Then we’d go on our separate ways. So when the separate ways ended and we hooked up we already knew each other pretty well. Well enough to respect and admire each other to no end.

Well enough to feel—both of us—a sense of commitment to each other that we’d never felt before.

How could I not be committed to someone who listens to all my stories and reacts just as approvingly to the old ones as well as the new?

To someone who understands that when I start yakking like I can’t ever stop and refusing to let anyone else around me talk it’s not because I’m trying to control or dominate but because I’m so genuinely excited about what I’ve just heard or seen or done or felt or thought that I’ve just got to share it—now!

“You’re like a little kid,” she said to me once after such a time. “I was sitting so close that I could feel your body trembling with eagerness, just like a six year old boy’s.”

“How do you like being married to a little kid?” I said.

“That depends. You’ve shown me what you’re like at six. Now show me some sixteen.”

And she wrapped her arms around me and—well, you know.

To Gwen, Valentine’s Day is another pseudo-holiday designed to bring out the consumer in us all. Last year, when she mentioned that to our friend Wanda the Arkansas Angel, Wanda was aghast.

“But you’ve got to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” Wanda protested. “A couple like you. Come to my place Valentine’s Night. I’ll have a surprise.”

The thought of a Valentine’s Night surprise made me a little nervous, but Gwen and I did as we were bade—and found ourselves in a guest room Wanda had made over Victorian bordello style.

Red silk here!

Red satin there!

And Barry White piped in via Wanda’s fancy stereo system.

It was quite a night. Even with Barry White.

The next morning, Valentine’s Day didn’t feel like such a fake after all.

Gwen and I took advantage of the fact that we were away from home to loll around in bed for awhile, talking as we so often talk about the things we want to do during the rest of our life together. The places we want to go. The people we want to see. The accomplishments we still hope to attain.

As usual, we finished each other’s sentences and spoke each other’s thoughts and laughed all the while. All these years, and our feelings were even more alive than they’d been the first time we were together. Because we know each other so much better by having lived through so much more.

I’m always amazed when I meet people who tell me they’re amazed at how highly I speak of my wife.

How else can I speak of my partner in dreams?

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.