By Del Starr, a pseudonym, all rights reserved, posted Aug 19, 2015

Something’s Fishy

Once more life began to take on a bit of structure for Dianne and her family. There were now eight children at home. The house was brand new and Dianne enjoyed it thoroughly. There was not as much yard as there had been at the old house nor were there fruit trees or room for a garden but Dianne was so busy she didn’t have time for those things anyway. The children were old enough to be able, for the most part, to stretch their wings, as long as Dianne was aware of where they were and whom they were with.

There was a garbage disposal and a dishwasher, things that Dianne had longed for but been unable to afford. Dishwashing would no longer be the chore it once had been.

Joe was still in the picture and was a frequent visitor to the modest home. Often he would show up with the ingredients for stew which he would cook himself. The children really enjoyed that for they had never known a man to cook before. Dianne was falling in love with this sweet and generous soul.

Joe took the younger boys fishing. This also was something they had never experienced and they were so excited! When they returned home that evening, each of them proudly held up a fish. Something did not look right about those fish to Dianne but she exclaimed over them and praised the boys. Joe cleaned them and Dianne fried fish for dinner that night. Later in the evening Joe took Dianne away from the house for a little bit and Dianne had occasion to reach under the seat. Her hands touched something like plastic wrap and a container such as meat is packed into in stores. She pulled it out and there were two packages marked “fish.” Dianne laughed hilariously as she realized that the boys had “caught” their fish in the grocery store, but this was only one more little indication that Joe would be a good father to the children and a friend and companion to Dianne.

Joe had come to a point where he desired his own privacy and he had now moved into his own apartment near where Dianne and the children lived. He had given Dianne a key to that apartment and this told her that she could trust him implicitly. Why else would he allow her access to his home at any time of the day or night?

There were a couple of occasions when Dianne found Joe with another woman but she figured that it was not anything to be concerned about and he was free to do what he wished. They had not talked of continuing plans though Dianne hoped, in her heart.

Saturday nights were Joe’s time alone. Nothing interfered with that time and Dianne respected that. There were six other nights a week and Joe most often shared his time away from work with Dianne and the children. She had come to depend on Joe to chase away the pangs of loneliness and insecurity.

Dianne and Joe had their first argument. It was heated and when Joe left the house, she sobbed uncontrollably. For the first time in some years she prayed, asking that God would bring them back together for she firmly felt that Joe was the proper man for her.

Late the following evening, there was a knock at the door. When Dianne went to open it, there stood Joe in his pajamas, a stick over his shoulder with a little bag tied onto the end of it, looking quite forlorn. Dianne laughed and invited him in. When the door was closed, he sat in the corner by the door, on the floor with his knees pulled up to his chin and his thumb in his mouth. Dianne could not keep from giggling at his antics. He finally opened the little bag and true to his custom, there were the ingredients for stew.

Once again Joe headed for the kitchen. He had even made “bowls” for the children from the parts that were cut out for headlights at the Freightliner factory. He had become an integral part of the family. The children loved him as did Dianne.

It seemed a little silly to have two places of abode since Joe spent most of his waking hours with Dianne and the children and so it was determined that when his lease was up on the apartment, after six months, Joe would move into the house with them.

Dianne’s dreams were coming true.

She also realized that God had played a part in Joe’s return to her life after the argument and she began to think more and more on the things of God. With Kathy gone, she no longer frequented bars and dance halls, but stayed home with her children. Joe gave reason to her life. She made friends with the neighbors and they were seemingly a loving family, although not without problems.

Brian continued to have problems with his hyperactivity. The doctors had told Dianne that he would outgrow it by the time he was ten but he was now sixteen and was becoming a danger to the other children as he manipulated control. Dianne was constantly being called to the principal’s office because Brian had “pulled another stunt.” There was the time he super-glued the teacher’s chair to the floor and his pencil to the desk. There was the time that he and a friend tossed marbles down the hallway and pulled the fire alarm. His antics frightened Dianne a bit but she didn’t know what to do about them. He had found a job when he was ten years old and had been working ever since. He was reliable and dependable and never went anywhere without telling Dianne where he would be. The only problems seemed to be that he needed specific attention that was impossible for her to give because of the other seven children still at home.

On one occasion, Brian got into a scuffle with Brad and threw his brother into the dishwasher. Dianne had to straighten out the dishwasher to get it to work again in addition to patching Brad up. She had reached her wits’ end and decided that it would be much better for Brian if he went to his Grandma Grace’s house for the rest of the school year. She called Grace, who agreed, and Brian was packed up and put on the bus.

Now Dianne worried that Brian would feel that she didn’t love him and that he had been rejected. She felt, however, that he was in the best place that she could offer him. At least now the other children were safe from his bullying.

The relationship with Joe became stronger and stronger. He built triple bunk beds for the girls in their bedroom. Dianne was impressed. He took every opportunity to play with the children and laughter reigned in the home. Dianne was pleased.

She spoke with the children before Joe moved in with them, to determine if there were any who didn’t want him to. The children were all of one accord. They wanted Joe there on a permanent basis. The six month lease ended and Joe moved in.

Joe still took his Saturday night time every week, and now it began to bother Dianne. Before, when he had lived on his own, it wasn’t a problem, but now that they were living together, it disturbed her. She didn’t know what he was doing, other than he would go out and have a couple of drinks and he would always be home (or at least almost always) by about 1 AM. Once in a while he was later but Dianne remembered her own time with Kathy and how they would have breakfast and chat with their friends so she wasn’t unduly concerned.

She began to contemplate that since Joe had his time away, she should too, but she still held firm to her conviction that she would not leave the house until the children were in bed. On Saturday nights when Joe would leave, Dianne began to leave also. She didn’t like the arrangement and didn’t want to get back into drinking but there was not much else to do at that time of night unless one wanted to go to a movie and she could just as well watch TV at home if that was what she desired. So Dianne began to drink again.

It was spring and daylight savings time was to begin that night. Joe took his usual Saturday afternoon nap and while he was sleeping, Dianne went throughout the house and changed every clock. He had taken off his watch and laid it on the headboard and Dianne quietly slipped in and got the watch and changed it also.

When Joe awakened, he was stunned to see how late it was. He told Dianne that he had not anticipated sleeping that long. He quickly took a shower and shaved and got dressed but as he was leaving, he turned to Dianne and with a sly grin said, “You won’t have time to get where you’re going!” Dianne just smiled sweetly and told him to have a good time.

She showered and dressed and went to her favorite spot and had a really good time, knowing that Joe was an hour ahead of himself and that he would not check other clocks but would, rather, go by his own watch.

When she returned home, Joe had been there for a couple of hours. He was steaming! “Where,” he demanded, “have YOU been?”

Dianne couldn’t keep from laughing. The older children, Brad, Janelle, and Tina, were up waiting to see what would happen and they too, burst into laughter. Joe was puzzled and through gales of laughter, Dianne told him what she had done. Joe looked a little sheepish for he enjoyed mind games and Dianne surely had won this one.

The two began to talk about marriage. Dianne was not really interested in being married again but Joe was asking and this was the man she had dreamed of for so many years.

Once again she seated the children around her as she told them that Joe had asked her to marry him. She had chosen a time when he was at work so that they would not be interrupted. Did they, she asked the children, have any opposition to her marrying Joe and was there any reason that they might be hesitant that she do so?

“Oh, NO!” they declared, “Please, Mom, marry him! He’s so cool!”

And so when Joe returned from work that evening, she told him that she would agree to marry him.

They planned a very simple ceremony. They would just slip over the border into Vancouver and pronounce their vows to each other before a Justice of the Peace. Dianne was excited that day, in spite of her misgivings. When the ceremony was concluded, the newlyweds made their rounds to share their news with their friends. The deed was done.