Column: Friday the 13th love story, Part 1

I don’t fool with horror movies and stories, the occult or other such things.

Life can be enough of an emotional roller rink without me adding any more nonsense to the mix.

This July 13 isn’t a Friday, not even close. And Friday the 13th didn’t ever concern me. But, God. If you have been reading or even glancing at my series of columns in The Tribune for the past few months, you know this is not just my go-to mantra, it is how I have lived my life.

Even before I had a life knowing Abba Father (Poppy or Daddy, as some say, and I used to say Abba Papa, but well, it sounded cheesy to refer to the very creator of everything and everyone, something that rhythms, so I settled on the classical.)

Anyhow, he knew. He always knows. He always will know. He is after all the author and finisher of my faith, and I for one plan on skidding in sideways with my Easy Spirit tennys untied, scuffed up and fraying and my body, especially my knees, bruised up, my brain used up and my heart cleaned up, finishing up with a hug from my Lord Jesus proclaiming, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the glory of the Lord. Angel in charge of studio condos, she is here. She is home.” (nod to Dr. and Mrs. Randy Brown, Evan Brown and Mrs. Annika Galus).

OK, back to Friday the 13th. Fifty-nine years ago, July 13 was a Friday. My husband, aka The Saint, was born. I won’t go into the pre-Pegi years for him or the pre-Jesus years for me in this love story because while The Tribune is extremely generous by letting me rattle on and on, I do not want to press my luck.

I like to write. No, I love to write, especially now that my energy levels flutter from you-want-to-do-what to well-maybe, eye-rolling emoji. I like to write little stories. I often rewrite beautifully written cards to suit my own thoughts and the recipient’s situation.

I especially love to write letters … lots of letters. I am well known to those of you to whom I am not well known as someone who can squeeze every shiny cent from a stamp and each millimeter from an envelope often using glue and stickers to keep them from bursting on their journey.

I am actually and strangely best when I am writing to total strangers or brief acquaintances. This is what my generation called being a pen pal. I have had and continue to have pen pals. The Saint buys my postage in bulk to feed my habit. I’m not into saying, “Hey, there. God told me to say this or that.”

Side note to those who do say that, wow, that is dangerous territory. Dangerous. Territory. I simply make observations, scrounge around for addresses, cut up anything others would recycle and take off into the love I feel in my heart or some funny to my antidotes.

I have a huge beautiful hardwood polished desk with lots of drawers filled with clippings, notes, ideas, old calendars, other people’s junk mail, old mint wrappers and Ibuprofen. (nod to Mrs. Mary Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Kidwell).

I am not neat, organized or on task anymore. I used to thrive on organizational multitasking, which is now the enemy of my multiple sclerosis. I am currently attending occupational therapy, physical therapy and am on the cusp of beginning speech therapy for aphasia and this bothersome cognitive impairment left from my latest relapse, so now I thrive in messes.

Though if I am totally naked and unafraid with myself and you my dear readers, this is just a weak excuse for being a messy cook, a messy patient and a messy crafter. So why not be a messy writer?

If anything, I am consistent; however, I am not dirty, and I hope I don’t smell bad, so I probably spend an hour a day cleaning up after myself so I can play in my hat boxes, Goodwill-find baskets, desk drawers that are so full they jam shut at times and non-zipping zippy bags of who only knows what.

Back to Friday the 13th …

Thirty-four years ago, I severely fractured my right tibia and my right fibula dashing down four steps with a dicey handrail. I was in nursing school at the time. After recovering in Greencastle at my mom and dad’s house, I moved back to a tiny two-room apartment in Terre Haute to finish my degree.

I sat around in my secondhand recliner from my grandpa‘s estate, legs elevated listening to the Magic 101 on the radio trying to win every call-in trivia game question trying to score concert tickets if a free hat. I couldn’t afford a TV. I was in nursing school at the time, but you can’t do clinical rounds if you can’t walk.

To keep my grants and other funds active, I took various courses in math, microbiology and human resources to stay on current status to eventually finish nursing school, get married, be a mommy and then be a nana. Just like my grandma, I set the bar high for my life. I had plans.

I also read newspapers. My dad rarely cracked a book cover, but he read the Indianapolis Star for hours every morning and the Indianapolis News every night. I grew up with him reading the funnies to my brother and me every Sunday afternoon. Back then, they were in color. I’m a big newspaper reader. (nod to Mrs. Ruby Niccum, The Jackson County Banner and

So early in 1987, I answered an ad in the newspaper from someone I assumed was a handsome lonely rock body soldier boy who wanted someone to send him newspapers while they were in basic training at Fort Dix. Here was a pen pal, a GI and newspapers, a trifecta of love.

I wrote him. I wrote him a lot. He wrote me, and he wrote back a lot. I sent newspapers and letters as long as your leg. He came home early in July 1987 from New Jersey, and he knocked at my door having just walked several miles from the Terre Haute airport to my little tiny apartment with no TV.

Surprise! My pen pal was gently and persistently knock, knock, knocking at my door around 6 a.m. Unsurprisingly, I was surprised, on crutches and probably on narcotics staring out my door without my glasses.

He was grinning with the most handsome clear brown eyes I had ever seen, duffel bag over his shoulder, my pen pal, The Saint.

To be continued …

Pegi Bricker is a Seymour resident who has lived with multiple sclerosis for the past 18 years. Send comments to [email protected].

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