True Love and the Butter Puddle

There’s no better feeling than being loved.  Loving someone is nice too but, if it’s not reciprocated, it can be quite creepy.  But to love and be loved back, just as ferociously, is a truly wonderful feeling.  The one problem with being loved: how do you know if it’s real?

I don’t like to play emotional games, not even a little bit.  I don’t have the time nor the energy to wade through the maze of emotional turmoil if you just want to know how I’ll respond if you drop dead.  I’m way too lazy to spend a lot of time jumping through hoops so you feel better about the depth of my love.

A friend once told me, after hearing Joss Stone’s ‘Super Duper Love’ for the first time, “That song reminded me of you: I can see you being with someone for a while and them not knowing if you loved them or not.”  Hey!  What?  After she told me that, and I absorbed what she meant, I decided I wasn’t going to be that type of person any longer.

When I met Janet, I told myself I wouldn’t hold back any of my love emotions when I was around her.  I have a lot of emotions surging through my body, and I try to stifle those, but I wanted Janet to know how much I love her.  I never wanted her to question how I felt about her.  I never wanted a small slight or comment to disrupt our happy Queendom because one of us was unsure of the other’s love.

I know how much I love Janet and I try and show her every chance I get.  But how does Janet know I love her unconditionally and totally?  Since I don’t like to play emotional games, and neither does Janet, we had to confirm our love to each other, early on, in more subtle ways.

We had overtly obvious devices to show our love: Janet and I would send each other Hallmark eCards that were lovey-dovey and give each other chocolate and flowers on Valentine’s Day.  I’ve always thought Valentine’s Day was highly over-rated.  We have just the one day of the year to celebrate our love and we share that day with all the other people on the planet?  That doesn’t seem right.

We had some over the top sweet ways to show our love:  We used to send emails with links to videos of certain songs whose lyrics we thought perfectly captured the essence of our undying love.  But how do you know those feelings aren’t just infatuation or (better yet) lust?

There are a couple of sure fire ways to tell if someone is a keeper or not, at least in Jenn’s Big Book on Life, and the first one is the car door unlock test.  Now, this one used to be a surefire test but has waned in the last decade of so with the advent of the keyless car entry.  It used to be like this:  If you walk around and open the door for your girl, and wait for her to settle in before slamming the door on her, does she leans over to unlock your door for you?  Yes?  She’s a keeper.

This one doesn’t work very well, at least not for Janet and me.  With our fancy key FOB, one hit unlocks the driver door and two hits unlock all the doors.  Janet has been missing the second unlock-all-the-doors-please hit and so I have to stand outside until Janet realizes I’m not actually in the car but standing patiently by the side.  I’m not concerned though, at this point I know she loves me.  I constantly remind myself of that fact when I’m outside in the cold and the rain waiting for her to see me standing there.

This test also doesn’t work well with our full size pickup truck, even though the locks are manual.  When Janet lets me into my side, I physically can’t lean over and unlock the door for her; not with the three or four feet I’d have to crawl over to get to her lock and the fact my arms are about three or four inches shorter than normal people.  Janet and Jessie, our daughter, don’t call me T-Rex for nothin’.

The second test is the sharing test. There are a couple acts we do for each other that leave no doubt as to our feelings.  It’s in these simple but powerful sharing acts, acts so powerful no one within a five mile radius can ignore, that our love shines its brightest and we both get a tiny glimpse into the true depth of love.  Of course I’m talking about the sharing of Cracker Jack peanuts and the Butter Puddle.

Janet and I went to a Mariner’s game the other night and we bought a bag of Cracker Jacks from a vendor outside Safeco Field.  Neither of us had eaten Cracker Jacks in years and we talked about how much we enjoyed them as kids; especially the peanuts.  When we got close to the bottom of the bag, Janet reached in and scooped up a big handful of mostly peanuts.

I looked at Janet and told her, ‘you scored, look at all those peanuts!’  She promptly turned toward me and gave me her handful of peanuts while telling me, ‘I know how much you love these, I want you to eat them.’  Deep, serious, enormous love here people.

When Janet and I first met and went on our first date, dinner of course, we talked about a lot of things.  One of the things which stood out, one of our more interesting conversations, was when Janet told me about the Butter Puddle.  If you go to IHOP and order pancakes, they serve them on a plate with a scoop of butter right in the middle.  When the butter melts it seeps into the pancake and creates, according to Janet and many others, a delicious buttery bite of deliciousness: the Butter Puddle.

Until I met Janet, I had foolishly removed the butter from my pancakes as soon as I could in my ignorant haste to conserve my calorie count.  But after our conversation, I left the butter on and let it work its magic.  I can honestly say: the Butter Puddle is now one of my favorite things to put in my mouth.  Pancake + Butter + Syrup = a slice of heaven so good it should probably be illegal.  It might be in New York City and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in the south.

About six months into our relationship, we went to have breakfast at IHOP and I ordered a short stack.  When our food arrived, I let the butter melt and then I offered it to Janet.  Her eyes got ginormous and she said she didn’t want it; I should go ahead and eat it myself.  I insisted and when she went to cut the Butter Puddle out, she gave me that look.  I’ve seen that look a few times in the past four years.

It’s the look she gets when she realizes, fully realizes, how much I love her.  It’s the look of love, gratefulness, admiration, and a little lust wrapped up in her eyes.  It’s not that she forgets, I tell her all the time how much I love her, it’s just that it’s hard to remember how much until she’s staring down the barrel of the IHOP short stack.  I don’t constantly have to remind her of my love, deep down, she already knows how much I love her.  I just gave her my Butter Puddle.



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