In my days of early fatherhood, Perfect Wife and I would take the Perfect Children to the Independence Day parade in the nearby suburb of Bexley. The good citizens of said community would dutifully and enthusiastically put on a worthy display, and all would enjoy. We would drive over to the home of my best friend's parents, park, unload, and visit with him and his parents before strolling a couple blocks to our normal viewing site. Afterward we would traverse back to their house and feast on all manner of delectable brunch items.
The surname of my friend was King, and our youngest, Cute Boy (later Handsome Son) was of a sufficiently young age to know a King and a Queen went together even if he did not know their names, and so he would say we were going to visit the King and Queen. They both got a kick out of that.
Sadly, The Queen passed away on Sunday, at age 84, married just shy of 61 years. She was suffering from dementia, a terrible disease.
My main recollections of The Queen were as a housewife, but I found out via her obituary she was a graduate of The Ohio State University, Class of '47, which was somewhat unusual back in those days. I do not know what her degree was in, but it certainly could have been in Talking, because she could really talk!
I coached baseball in the summers with her son, whom I have known since high school. I would take the bus to a stop two blocks from his house, complete with duffel bag for the uniform, and change clothes. The Queen always asked if I wanted anything to eat. I would usually say just a sandwich, but inevitably she would have a meal waiting for me when I came down dressed like a baseball coach. She was always a kind and gracious lady, totally devoted to her husband and son. She was a mother to the world, and everyone was a friend from the moment she met you. She and her husband would travel around town with us watching our high school baseball games, both the ones we played in and the ones we later coached. She always had a positive word no matter how things were going.
Today during and after the funeral service I heard a few more tales about The Queen. She and The King met on a blind date. He said she liked how his uniform looked on him; he liked how she looked in her convertible. They clicked, and the two eventually became one.
Her son (I suppose he would be The Prince) told us that once in Houston during the summer (summers in Houston are horrible for heat and humidity) he decided to play golf, and she walked all 18 holes beside him in the heat and humidity. Another golf outing took place on a very hilly course in eastern Ohio, and again she went along with him. As he typically did, he sliced his tee shot on one hole into the right rough. As they were looking for his ball, she came across three she found for him. In the adjoining fairway. All were perfectly placed tee shots from three upset golfers who could not fathom how their drives landed in the fairway but they could not be found. Once The Prince realized what had happened, he had to explain to those nice men that his mother had picked up their balls and given them to him. She had not seen any other golfers around, so she thought they were "lost" balls. The men did get a laugh out of that one.
Her son also coached high school basketball for many years, and he explained how, when games got tight, her nerves would get the better of her. She would cheer harder and louder, and would flail her arms, occasionally (and obliviously) striking one or more people around her. Eventually home team fans began to clear the space around her to protect themselves!
Whenever they traveled they would map out their route to include any Catholic churches along the way, complete with Mass times, so they would not miss out on Mass, especially on Sunday. It got a little dicey in some of the more rural parts of the South where Catholic churches were very few and far between, but they would not be deterred.
When we went to the cemetery today, even though we came to the grave site by a different route, I realized she was to be laid to rest in the same section as my parents, and now whenever I go to see them and all the other relatives nearby, I will be able to go a few rows over and visit an old friend, and think on the good times we shared.
Requiescat in pace, Regina.