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Oopsy Daisy!

First a love story, worth repeating over and over, then a scary off-kilter tale.

by Fran LoBiondo

Fran LoBiondoLast weekend, my husband and I attended the wedding of our friends’ daughter. Nancy, the Mom, was so excited that we came all that way (it was in Philly), and she thoroughly enjoyed the service, as did we.

We signed into our hotel room with a couple of hours to spare before a free bus took us all to the wedding venue.

So, while we were in the lobby waiting for our room, I looked around at the other people, mostly Indian women in beautiful vivid saris.

Then I spotted a very chic woman with her brown hair swept up in a classic chignon walking toward us. I admired her whole look—long satin sheath dress in navy that clung to her every curve and a professional make-up job.

Lo and behold, it was Nancy, mother of the bride, and I did not recognize her except she called out to us and she was escorted by Bob, her husband of many years.

I remembered him. In fact, I chaperoned Nancy on their first date.

“Please, oh please,” she begged me. She had met Bob at her summer job as a hotel lifeguard, and he was a handsome tourist from Trenton. She said there was a hoppin’ place at the end of the boardwalk called the Wine Cellar where the company and the drinks were great. He said he would pick her up.

Then she called me.

“Please come,” Nancy whined. “What if he’s a serial killer? Wouldn’t you feel guilty?”

That was a clever argument, because Nancy and I were friends since seventh grade, and she was book smart, but not exactly street smart. She would not recognize evil if it hit her with a hatchet.

So I put on my raingear, and I went.

It was a nasty night, rainy and windy when we walked to the bar, and I had been to the Wine Cellar the previous night, quite late.

So there we were, walking the boards arm in arm, in arm. Very romantic. When we got there, wet and cold, there was no familiar crowd around. Everyone stayed home in droves because of the storm, and the air in the bar was fairly crackling with tedium.

Bob acquitted himself as a gentleman, not a serial killer, and we left after a little while. I veered off when we got to Nancy’s parents’ house, and bid the couple farewell.

I’ve told that story at Nancy and Bob’s wedding, at Nancy’s baby shower, at their 30th Anniversary party, at her daughter’s wedding shower and her daughter’s wedding. If the newlyweds have children, I will dust off that “First Date” story again, so they will know that their Grandpa and Grandma were young once and in love and they lived happily ever after.

Okay, enough with the schmaltz.

You know what really scares me? I talk to myself when no one else is home. It’s not really me I’m talking to, but a sort of running dialogue with Jesus. My whole life I’ve been told to give my troubles to Him who can heal.

Like just last week when I dropped something on my foot, and the bruising was immediate.

Yes, the same foot I crashed into a chair. Neither was particularly X-ray worthy, so I started berating my higher power:

“Now, what was that for? I’m making lunch for my son, minding my own business, and BAM the peanut butter jar takes a dive onto my foot.” He didn’t answer.

Also, my balance is not great and lately I’ve been scaring my family by tripping over nothing and landing, face down on the ground. It’s embarrassing, and I’m losing friends over it. For instance, I have not heard from Debbie since we were walking together outside of the Levoy Theatre, discussing dessert, and just that fast, I’m looking at Deb’s shoes and I hear her saying, “Where’s Fran? Did anyone see my friend?” in a panicked voice, as if she always expected to be abandoned in Millville.

“I’m right here,” I whispered from my prone position, hoping no one else saw me go down. Deb saw me and ran for her car in the faraway parking lot, then wound her way through the one-way streets to pick me up. It was just a few scratches. I’ve done worse.

Deb was very relieved when I insisted on coconut pie, but I have not seen her since and she does not answer my calls.

I hope I’m okay. I’d hate to lose friends just because I’m falling apart.

Life Sentences