My Pardner

“This is my partner, Meg.”

I remember that transition. It was weird. You had to call your unmarried live-in main-squeeze SOMETHING and “partner” was the word that seemed to have the most caché. It wasn’t sexist or diminishing like “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” Meg would always be willowy and faux-independent. She would cling to Larry’s arm more tightly than would a wife, but they were in an open relationship.

I always thought Larry was in an open relationship. Meg was probably hoping to get married, but I was probably wrong.

In my life, the word “pardner” was nicer. It was a word my Uncle Hank would say to me to get me away from the noise of the family, whatever noise — my mom and her sisters, my cousins, my brother, whatever was going on that made me unhappy. “C’mon pardner, I have a job for you,” and I would follow him. Sometimes we’d go to the garage and work on a car. Sometimes we’d go to the shop and he’d show me his latest saw or the boxes he was making. Sometimes we’d just take a slow walk to the back 40 and back to the house.

When I was grown up, sometimes it was my idea. “You wanna’ go for a ride out west of town in Little Red?” (the name of his old Mitsubishi small pickup. The first time I proposed this — and we went — he said, “Well by golly, Martha Ann, you can drive a stick.”

“You wanna’ go get coffee at McDonalds?” (He liked that.) “You want to go shopping for Jo’s Christmas present?” (That was a howl for both of us.)

Pardnership is knowing your pal well enough to know when they need to escape, and good pardnerships are rare. I miss my pardner very much.

8 thoughts on “My Pardner

  1. Partnerships are very rare and after reading this, I have come to the conclusion that I have only ever had one partner and since 48 years

  2. This is a favorite of mine among your writings. The Uncle Hanks of the world are such rare and precious gems. Thank you for sharing him this morning. 😉

  3. In Israel, you called that friend “my GOOD FRIEND,” and everyone know what you meant. I stayed with that when I came back. “This is my very GOOD friend Garry,” I said. I think it worked pretty well too, even in English.

    • I don’t know. It might depend where you live and if you have a really great extended family. Last night when I was walking my dogs I saw a pickup pull into the high school parking lot. A grandpa let out two little boys — one about 6 with a BMX and the other about 2 or 3 with a big wheel. It was a really big deal for them to be riding their bikes at the high school on all the cool sidewalks and the sprinklers were on and they rode through the spray and the little guy just screamed in delight. I see a lot of that kind of “parenting” here in my little town, a lot more than when I lived in San Diego where kids seemed to be very electronic and organized. I mean here kids still launch inner tubes in irrigation ditches and ride around 🙂

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