It's an unlikely friendship to begin with. He's a single dude who was born the year after I was married (note the age differential), a mathematician (ask me about my checkbook balancing sometime), a rock concert attender (Philadelphia Orchestra subscriber), and so forth. He reminds me of my second son in many ways, his intelligence, his wittiness, his quickness and his hidden tenderness. Unlikely, but friends nonetheless.
I've been thinking and thinking about something he said last week. He brought a candidate for a math position to my office, and while she sat there, he and I got to chatting a bit. I don't remember exactly what the conversation was, but as an aside to the candidate, he said, "Nancy's like the nextdoor neighbor from a Fifties sitcom."
I was amazed. I had no idea what he meant. I wondered if I should be offended.
I brought it up to the book club on Thursday night. A little bit taken back, too, they kicked it around for a while and tried to come up with examples and characteristics of Fifties sitcom nextdoor neighbors. We thought of Ethel Mertz, the definitive neighbor. We thought of Trixie Norton. And then we pretty much stopped. Carol pointed out that these women were faithful, supportive friends. Not the stars, but the sidekicks. The ones who set it up, who make it happen. Martha pointed out that they and I share a tendency to wear pearls, to pick out the right earrings each day, and to wear a sweater that matches something else. Hmmm. I wear dresses to work most days. I like to make people laugh.
I always liked Trixie, who didn't have to worry about going to the moon. And I was fond of Ethel, who didn't have a whole lot of splainin to do. And I like my friend. He made me think.
And he's a good hugger.