No Great Love

I knew a wonderful woman once.  I’ll call her Ruby.  She told me that she and her husband “didn’t get married for no great love or nothing like that”.  And surprised me by telling me they only got married because she was pregnant.

I was surprised.  Surprised she told me.  And silly as it sounds, surprised that “that” happened so long ago.  If that doesn’t speak to my naitivity….

I have often thought of that comment.  And often wondered what she meant by “no great love”.

I knew her well.  And I knew they weathered that ‘no great love’ to go from having nothing to owning their own home early.  Raising two children through frightening health issues to healthy adulthood.  Sticking it out through battles with alcohol.  I know when he died there was great sadness and great mourning.  And when she died, there was loss of great love.

I think of her often and her story about ‘no great love’.   And I think of the stories Ruby and her husband shared with me over the years.  The stories that always started with one of them telling it, and the other one laughing.  Or one of them telling it, and the other nodding in contemplation as they thought of a time or of people no longer in their lives.

I don’t know what Ruby thought great love was.

Her ‘no great love’ consisted of two people making a commitment together because they created a child.  And another child.  They worked hard, and I mean hard, to provide a home for the children they loved.  They came from homes that didn’t have much, but had love.  And they brought that with them in to their home.  She packed his lunch every day for work.  And when he retired they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day.   The first time I heard him bellow “cup of joe Ruby!” I was shocked at what I thought was pretty demanding and bossy behavior.

What did I know?

That ‘no great love’ got him out of bed every day to work a physically grueling job.  He worked hard so she could stay home and raise their family.  He worked hard to give her a good life.  She worked hard at making home…home.   She gave to the community by volunteering and giving what they could.  He didn’t ask much of her.  As a matter of fact, on looking back, I think the only thing I ever heard him ask her for was “cup of joe Ruby!”

He tried to come across as gruff and rough.  And if you didn’t know him, he might seem to be just that.  But I saw him often and I saw him as he truly was.  He was gruff and rough all right.  As a teddy bear wearing a grizzly’s fur coat.  He loved his family.  He saw his duty as providing for them.  That was his job.  And to do that job he had to be physically imposing, and he was.  He had to be strong enough to carry hundreds of pounds on his back, and he was.  And strong enough to carry his family, and he was.  She was a little thing who would do anything for anyone.  She was as strong as he was.   His grizzly growl didn’t scare her any.  And when she told me stories of his grizzliness, and how she responded through their years of ‘no great love’, he would laugh at the memory of it all.  And nod his head in agreement.

I don’t know what she thought great love was.   But it wasn’t any better than her ‘no great love’.

We could all do with a little more of her ‘no great love’ in our world.

I miss them and their wonderful and devoted no great love.

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46 thoughts on “No Great Love

  1. I guess some loves spark and some blossom, but they can all be great romances when you look back at them.

  2. reocochran says:

    Here we are up way too late. But maybe this is a set up ahead “scheduled” post. I see Marissa is here, too. Such a quirky comedienne, poet and musician. 🙂
    Maybe my interpretation is my own bit it may apply, nonetheless.
    My parents had “no great love,” Colleen. They said it wasn’t like a grand romantic movie nor a lightning stroking them or cupids arrows either. It was my Dad spotted as nd admired Mom. He wanted to be a better man so she may think him “suitable.” It took a few years of friendship to become love. They would like Ruby’s definition and embrace it, too.

  3. In our part of the world we often think, that only love can be a reason for a relationship. In many other parts of our world it is other values decide to make relationships. Then the couple learn to either love or hate each other. But by time.

  4. Gibber says:

    Have you written of them before? Their story sounds familiar.

  5. Paul says:

    Beautiful story Colleen. Thank you for sharing with us.

  6. Ocean Bream says:

    Thank you for sharing their no great love. I think no great loves turn into the greatest of all loves when we look back at them through the curtain of memory. This was such a beautiful piece to read.

  7. jmgoyder says:

    I really love this post – it’s kind of mischievous but mostly delightfully ironic.

  8. ksbeth says:

    here’s to all the no great love in the world –

  9. What a sweet and wonderful story! I have a feeling that that “no great love” grew into a “great love.” It sure sounds like there was a great love there between them.

  10. I’m agreeing, let’s toast to all the no great loves of the world, for they lead the way allowing the ‘great loves’ to learn something.

  11. russtowne says:

    As with so many of your posts, I see this one as a celebration of celebration of life, commitments, strength, hope, compassion, and love. No wonder I so enjoy your posts and blog, Colleen. Thank you for the gifts you so freely share with the world.

  12. niaaeryn says:

    I have heard of this phenomena before, like an ember that slowly grows or the ordinary aspect of love that is over looked as it is nor some grand fire or something. There is merit and love all the same and just as valuable as any grand tale. They had a great story. 🙂

  13. tric says:

    I too am wondering if you wrote of them before. I love this story and anyone who has been in a long relationship will understand it. Love is many things, not just that feeling of ‘wow’.
    I think the portrayal of love in movies and TV has confused many growing up, making it out to be something it is not.
    I must now go and give my ‘no great love’ a hug. 🙂

  14. johncoyote says:

    Hard topic. I believe we will have great love. Great love is like a hurricane. Wild and crazy till one day. The quiet time isn’t enough for the great love to hold on. A outstanding topic my friend.

  15. […] My final choice is from a blogger I have followed for almost as long as I’ve been blogging. Her blog is ‘The Chatter Blog’, and I love this particular post. It tells the story of an elderly couple she knew, who were together up to old age, yet didn’t feel they shared a great love for each other. It will leave you with many questions about the meaning of true love. It’s called ‘No Great Love’. […]

  16. markbialczak says:

    Interesting, MBC, what some regular folk see out there maybe because Hollywood dangled it in front of them, and it altered their definition of something that was much more solid inside their own four walls. God bless the type of no-great-love of Ruby and her hard-working, only-cuppa-Joe-demanding hubby.

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