Print by Ruane Manning – see note at bottom of post

The scream reverberating from the next room at Big Meadows Lodge woke me from a sound sleep. Somehow I just knew that my then husband had something to do with that scream.

No, he was not a philanderer, but he was an alcoholic.

We were on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. After a day of hiking, we had cleaned up and had a romantic dinner in the Lodge’s restaurant, gazing out the plate glass windows at the Blue Ridge Mountains. Returning to our room, my ex-to-be gave me a quick kiss and then returned to the Lodge’s bar to “pick up something for later.”   I changed into my newly purchased peek-a-boo negligee (hey, I was only 20 years old!). When he hadn’t returned several hours later, I realized he had continued our celebration, solo, so I went to bed, solo.

At some point after becoming sloppy drunk, ex-to-be attempted to return to our room, but got confused and somehow managed to get into the room next door. (Why was that door not locked?!) He thought the lady in the bed was me, and crawled in with her – by now, he was feeling amorous.

Hence, the scream in the wee hours of the morning.

Divorce eventually followed – but that’s a story for another time.


On her blog, Behind the White Coat, Victo Dolore recently published a very simple post, the entirety of which was:

What is love?

When you can look at someone and see more than you just saw.

Which made me think, not only of my first marriage, but also of my current one.


When Cordelia was an infant, my current husband took a job working on a project which would last for approximately one year. The money was very good – so good, in fact, that I was able to take a leave of absence from my own job in order to become a full-time mother to Cordelia.

It was a dream come true – a husband supporting me, while I cared for my child. A clean house. A good, home-cooked meal every night.

But of course, as a young mother, I was a wee bit insecure. Hubby was tired when he came home. I was tired after cleaning and cooking. Evenings were not as romantic as either one of us would have liked

And then I got the call.

Hello, is this Mrs. [X]? I work with your husband, and I just want you to know that there’s been some funny stuff going on at work.”

Say what? I never thought hubby was particularly amusing. Oh …… wait.

Is it possible? Maybe I have let myself go a bit. He is working with beautifully dressed professional women all day. Could it be?

I waited all day, thoughts running amok. He loves me, he loves me not. He’s a man – would he be strong enough to resist?

Have I become fat and ugly?

I watched out the front window of our apartment when I knew it was time for his arrival.   As he approached, I watched the way he walked and saw the look on his face.

And in my heart, I knew –

No way in hell. It didn’t happen, wouldn’t happen. A man who was cheating would not have such a loving, joyful look when coming back to his family after work.

Once Cordelia was in bed, we had a good laugh. It turned out there had been some kind of dispute with a female co-worker, and she was the vindictive type.

Thirty years later, I still think back to that day – it was the only time I ever doubted my husband’s love, even for a moment.


I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com or notcordeliasmom@aol.com


The image is my photo of a print I bought during that trip to Shenandoah, and it is published with special thanks to the artist, Ruane Manning, who kindly responded to my email and told me that it was “one of my first published prints. I actually painted a series of 6 different animals back in the early 70’s..(painted in Sepia tones)” – Extra special, indeed! Thank you, Mr. Manning, for your permission to use the photo, and I hope this post does justice to its use.

This entry was posted in Relationships, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to WHAT IS (AND IS NOT) LOVE?

  1. Paul says:

    Thank you so much for trusting us with what must have been very emotional memories CM. Very gripping from the beginning to the last word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says:

    The Skyline Drive story is a head scratcher, so many questions, most of which can be summarized under “what was he thinking?” The vindictive woman was just mean. I don’t like mean people and I’m glad it didn’t have the desired effect.


  3. Victo Dolore says:

    That was such a good story!!!! Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    CordeliasMom, I just had figurative bleed for you over this post. My heart broke, and I cried. How well-written this blog post is, how completely well accurate you managed to convey the facts, without all the drama I would have bogged the story down with, completely a work of art. You remind us that life does continue despite adversity and loss. Moreover, you remind us that what may be true of our relationship with one person, isn’t at all applicable to that of another, despite what our wildly running imagination may suggest. So happy Mr CordeliasMom is a Gem.

    Perhaps I will refer to him as Gem CordeliasMom.

    Happy Labor Day Weekend. The Official start of Fall in your neck of the woods. Just another day as hot as hell until whenover in North Carolina.


    • “Gem” – I kind of like that. Most of the time I agree, too (notice, I said most, but that’s the way marriage goes!).

      I am looking forward to the long weekend – investing even more cash into the Money Pit. I’m sure I’ll have some upcoming posts on that.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment.


  5. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Very heartfelt and thought provoking.


    • Thanks, Vic. Such is life – just because things went bad at the age of 20 doesn’t mean the next relationship won’t work out. Many times in my current marriage, I was able to stop an argument simply by reminding myself that I knew how bad marriage could be and my current marriage was not like that, and never would be.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunately there are some very sad individuals who seem to thrive on planting seeds of doubt when they don’t get their own way.
    I have never doubted Hubby, not once, in all the time we’ve been together (Silver wedding next year). My co-workers and some women at a social group I used to attend monthly were amazed, stunned, gobsmacked even, that I was so certain, and I guess more than a little envious. I try not to take it for granted, and we say ‘I love you’ to each other at least twice a day (first thing in the morning on waking, last thing at night when turning out the light).


  7. candygai says:

    Umm, Lucky me CordeliasMom. Somehow I posted as Anonymous. If only I knew how I could haunt my ex-spouse, AKA Voldemort.


  8. Elyse says:

    Beautiful story, CM, well told. We all need to know our spouses as well as you know yours!


    • Sometimes a look is all it takes.

      I’ll never forget when I was a teenager and my brother, who was in college, returned home on break. My mother took one look at him as he walked towards the house and then turned to me and said, “Ah, he’s a man now.” She didn’t mean that he had grown taller, she meant that he had found a girlfriend and done the deed. Later I asked how she knew that, because he hadn’t told any of us that he had met someone. My mother replied simply, “I just knew when I saw his face.” (Kind of freaked me out, actually, because then I always wondered what she might see in MY face!)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sometimes, you just have to work on faith. Love doesn’t always mean that “other things can’t happen,” but love makes it possible to forgive whatever else might. Because no one is perfect.


  10. What a lovely post about a very personal moment. Thanks for sharing this. One of the many benefits of the blogging experience. 💕


  11. reocochran says:

    I was married 3 times, my first was an alcoholic but we had 2 kids so I tried AL anon and he went to counseling. My first husband still drinks with Irish whiskey in morning coffee, 2 to 3 martini lunch and makes more money than either ex who were #2 and #3. We laugh at gatherings for holidays and birthdays which he brings his present wife. What were we thinking, meeting at 18 and marrying at 22 our first love? He is a nice person and a friend who has known me longer than most of my friends.
    Our children did not hear me put him down since they could discover both positive and negative attributes. 🙂
    I liked your second story, since you found a “keeper” ♡♡ who is a straight arrow and true blue. Not sure why but these really quaint choices of words mean I am happy for the two of you. Sending you long life wishes and “Cheers!”


    • I was so happy I did not have any children with my first husband. When he turned abusive, I was able to just pick up and go without having to worry about anyone else. Some day I’ll tell that story.

      Yes, Hubby #2 is a keeper – at least most of the time. 🙂 Like any marriage, we have our moments – but at least he never drank and has never, ever been abusive to me or to our kids.

      Thanks so much for coming over and sharing your thoughts.


  12. Pingback: Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood | Cordelia's Mom, Still

  13. Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:

    Hubby and I recently celebrated our 33rd anniversary – despite the stress surrounding events during my sabbatical (which is about to end, thank heavens!). It seems appropriate to re-publish this particular post at this time. May you all have the love and support of a good and faithful partner.


  14. Great post with a great ending, which shows adversity and how true love wins out! Kissing frogs makes you appreciate the prince. 🙂
    Well done!


  15. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Love does win out in the end. And that’s a fact! 💞

    Liked by 1 person

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