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Me And Robert Redford; A Story Of 36 Years Of Devotion

I first met Robert Redford over 36 years ago. I remember it clearly, though I doubt that he he remembers it at all. I was in a theater watching the Way We Were, and I was completely taken away...forever. I was 14 years old, so I am surprised that my mother let me go to such a grown up movie, but apparently she did, and I thank her for it. I fell in love and have not fallen out of love yet. I didn't usually fall for guys with blond hair, expect for Todd K., in the 6th grade, but those blue eyes and smile! For other women, celebrity crushes change with the seasons, but I am a one man woman, and I have not had another man since that day. That is a kind of devotion that is a rare find.

My friends thought that Robert was too old for me, and that probably was true back in 1973, me being 14 and all, but I didn't listen. I just could not see the point in mooning over the teen heart throb of the moment, when there was a real man waiting for me. Okay. So, he had kids my age. To me, that was completely irrelevant then, and it is now. Love is blind and now that I am almost 50, and need reading glasses to read the print on anything less than a foot away from my face, so am I. Were we were to go out together now, no one would bother to turn their head, except that I would be with Robert Redford, so women would be bound to be turning their heads left and right, so my point is really pointless, isn't it?

I also know that he is soon to be married to another woman. I don't begrudge him that. He hasn't met me, so how could I possibly expect him to marry me, sight unseen? No matter how hard I have tried to will him to appear at my side in the produce section of the grocery store, thumping cantaloupes, it hasn't happened--yet. However, having known him for so long, I have no doubt, that were he to meet me, he wake up and smell the bacon. It has been me that he has really been searching for all these years.

I know this with such certainty because I have a very rich fantasy life. According to the Myer-Briggs people I am an INFJ, and we spend a lot of time in our heads. Making up less than two percent of the population, personality type wise, we are called the Counselors, but also the Mystics, and yes, the Dreamers. Despite our introversion, we INFJ's love people, but we love what we can make up in our minds even more, so over the years, Robert and I have had many long conversations, about all sorts of things, from what to have for dinner, to what it will take to finally achieve world peace. We don't always agree, but what couple does? We have always been able to work things out. If, at this point, you are beginning to wonder if I am some sort of delusional, crazed stalker, rest assured that I am not. I have my pride, and I refuse to go chasing after Robert. He can darned well come to me. I am just old fashioned that way.

I am also not some nutty, fixated, maiden Aunt who lives cooped up in a small apartment with 40 cats. I am a married woman with seven children, ages 26 to 4, so I have kept busy while waiting. Bob hasn't exactly been biding his time, waiting for me, what with buying most of Utah, and the resort, and the Sundance Festival and, of course, his movie making. I can hardly be faulted for carrying on with life while I wait for him to come to his senses. Idle hands are the devils workshop, and so forth. Besides, long distance relationships are as common as iPods these days. Everyone has one, or knows someone who does.

Now, I know that love doesn't really conquer all. I am on marriage number two. Relationships are tough, even the really good ones, and in every relationship there are bound to be deal breakers. Deal breakers are the things that we simply will not tolerate in a relationship. Deal breakers differs as greatly from one person to the next as do opinions on Michelle Obama's fashion sense. Deal breakers are very personal, and rational or not, they can ruin a relationship. For instance, many women consider infidelity a deal breaker, but not every woman does, Just look at Elizabeth Edwards and Hillary Clinton. So don't profess to know what any woman's deal breaker might be, because you honestly cannot predict such a thing, even after the fact.

I was put in the mind of deal breakers the other day, when my youngest daughter was telling me about a double date that she had been forced to go on by one of her friends. She knew that she was not going to have a good time, but being a trooper, she went along anyway. The couples went out to dinner at a fairly nice local restaurant. To my daughter's horror, when the waiter appeared to take their order, her date looked at him and asked, "Why are there two forks? Is it in case you drop one."? Of course, he was informed that one was for the salad, and one for the entree, but just imagine! As my daughter asked me, heatedly, "Has he never seen Pretty Woman"? We both agreed that the salad fork debacle was a deal breaker.

Then I began to wonder if there would be a deal breaker in my relationship with Bob, despite the longevity. I hear that he goes by Bob. I prefer Robert, as I am used to calling him by his full name, Robert Redford. I am adaptable though, so Bob it is But, we are talking about deal breakers, and I began to ponder what possible event could break the bond between Bob and I. My mind went right to the two most obvious things--winter sports and political inclinations.

Bob likes to ski. I do not like to ski, which many consider odd, since I am a Montana girl, but among the many odd things about me, my dislike of skiing comes as a shock to no one who really knows me. I tried to learn to ski once. I had lied to a man that I was dating, who would become my first husband, telling him that certainly, I could ski. So, he took me on a ski vacation to Lake Tahoe in no time flat. I was a little nervous, but how hard can skiing be, I thought? Well, after him watching me on ski's for a little less than five minutes, he signed me up for lessons, then disappeared to slalom, or whatever you do.

I tried to learn very hard to like skiing, truly I did. But I have this irrational fear of falling, especially on snow and ice, and I do not like to go down mountains uncontrollably fast. To enjoy skiing, you need to like going down mountains fast, with the possibility of falling on snow and ice while doing so. Did I mention that I really tried to like skiing? I did, and eventually I was let loose to go ski on my own, which I did, snow plowing all of the way, which is great exercise for those buns of steel, I might add.

I did not like skiing and I knew it, but I am a terribly good sport, so I kept at it right until I fell hard and the binding on one of my ski's came detached from the boot, and the ski went flying down the mountain without me. As I rose from my fall, and dusted myself off, I was further humiliated to hear the words, "Runaway ski!" being shouted out, over and over, as my wayward ski made its way down the mountain. Then I had to endure the stares of all of the shouting skiers, as I trekked down the mountain, holding only one ski. "Oh, it was her"!

All was not a total waste. I met a very handsome man, who was taking lessons with me. He was about 6 years old, and quite a gentleman. We became fast friends, with him cheering me on each time I attempted to dismount the chair lift. Days later, I heard him call out a hearty hello to me, as he reached the bottom of run marked "extremely treacherous." I also learned that they put actual, liquor serving, bars up on mountains, and that these bars make great places to hide while your companion is off skiing, and they have damned good views, to boot.

So, Bob, I will not ski. However, I would be more than happy to sit by a fire in some cozy lodge, reading, or knitting, while sipping cocoa. When you return from your skiing, I will greet you cheerfully, and then we can go do something that I enjoy, such as napping.

On the topic of politics, I am well aware that Bob has a rather liberal bent, while I lean more towards middle of the road conservatism. With that knowledge in hand, I have, more then once said that I would write his name in on the ballot for President during the last few elections, and nearly meant it.

I care about the environment and I am extremely green. My carbon footprint is much smaller than my actual footprint, so I am doing my part there. In fact, Bob would probably beg me to, please, increase the my footprint for comfort sake. Other issues of a political nature can be addressed on a case by case basis, with the agreement to agree to disagree, no name calling, or hard feelings. After all, if we agreed on everything, how tedious would that be? And if I begin to bore Bob, he can always take on my son, the Poly-Sci Phd-to-be, then the fur will fly. Let them have at it, with my blessing.

With those two areas of concern easily put aside, I began to hunker down and think about things that I might be forced to consider honest to goodness deal breakers. I have been able to come up with two topics near and dear to my heart. Food and fragrance.

I am a very good cook. I may sound less than humble, but just ask anyone who has eaten my food. I am a very good cook, and moreover, I love to cook. I am no timid cook, either. I cook spicy, ethnic food. I do not cook bland food. I can cook down home food, or fancy food, it doesn't matter. I love vegetables. I like to experiment and come up with my own recipes. I never measure and I never use a cookbook, much to my oldest daughter's consternation, as my recipes are a bit hard to follow when the directions say, "Add enough sage until it smells right, " or "Add enough milk until it looks right."

I do not like picky eaters, and I do not like closed minded eaters. I also do not like people who load their food with salt before even tasting it, but that is an entirely different topic, because I do not keep a salt shaker on my dinner table, so good luck to you should you decide to try to overdoes on sodium at my table. My food has already been perfectly seasoned for you. You are welcome. What would I do if Bob is a picky eater? What if he hates vegetables and spicy food. What if he's a meat and potatoes sort of man?

My father, a proper Montanan, was a meat and potatoes man, through and through. The thought of a meatless meal sent him into a absolute tizzy. For example, when I was about 11, I decided that I would make potato soup for dinner. While other girls were reading Teen Beat, I was reading cookbooks. Anyway, my Dad caught wind of my planned dinner, jumped into his car, and headed to the nearest deli to pick up some cold cuts, so the he could have some (expletive) with his meal.

After his first balloon angioplasty, my mother put him on the American Heart Association diet, and fed him nothing but chicken. This nearly killed my Dad. According to him, a heart attack would be far less painful than living in a world without red meat. He would take one look at a restaurant menu, and start to weep, saying "There is not a (expletive) thing that I can eat in the (expletive) place"!

After my mother had died, he came to "help" me following the birth of my sixth child. The mere sight of me folding towels in a way similar to my Mom launched him into a diatribe about my mother, and her (expletive) broccoli. You would think that she fed him nothing but (expletive) broccoli for 35 solid years, judging from the way that he went on. What I am saying is that I have had to deal with a real meat and potatoes man, and I'd rather not have to do it again. I do not know which was worse, cooking for my father, or trying to cook for my oldest daughter's first boyfriend, the temporary vegan.

So, Bob, if you are a picky eater, you had better let me know right now. I cannot say whether I will go or stay on account of your eating habits, but I would certainly appreciate having the time to come to terms with having to cook for a picky eater, or worse, a die hard meat and potatoes man. After all of these years, you owe me that much, I think.

Now that we've settled the food business, let's discuss fragrance. I like to smell nice. I like things that smell nice, like perfume, and flowers and babies. I wear perfume and I am not ashamed to say so, in a world where wearers of perfume have become as persecuted in some circles as smokers and and people who wear polyester double knit. I have shelves lined with body washes, lotions and creams, and perfumes. I like variety, and I tend to match my fragrances to my mood and clothing for the day.

Yet, to some sensitive folk, women who wear perfume are just plain inconsiderate, and, what is worse, are out to kill them with a spritz Shalimar. This is a new trend that has suddenly emerged--fragrance sensitive people, and their need to be considered. I had to go to the doctor a while back, and there were signs all over the waiting room walls, telling me to please refrain from using anything remotely pleasant smelling prior to visiting their office, out of respect to "our fragrance sensitive patients."

I saw no signs asking people to refrain from eating a Snickers bar out of respect to their diabetic clients, but perfume is suddenly a no-no. Since I could not see spending the money on bunch a fragrance free body care products for a once a year visit to the doctor, I found it easier to simply change doctors. These anti-fragrance people are allergic, so they claim. I have terrible seasonal allergies that just get worse every year. Yet, I do not run around my yard come Spring, tacking up signs asking the flowers and trees not to produce pollen. You see my point, don't you?

Garlic breath. That is what should be illegal. I am sure I have met up with a woman or two who has doused herself with a little too much Emeraude, but it didn't send me away, gagging and retching. However, I can count many times, when faced with someone who had recently ingested what could only have been an entire bulb of garlic, I suddenly found myself gagging uncontrollably. Did I ask this person to take his stinky breath away from me? No, I did not. Since it was clearly my problem, my aversion, I removed myself from the situation, and since most people do not want to be thrown up on, it is just the polite thing to do, anyway. More adults should realize that they, too, can remove themselves from situations that cause them to gag, or otherwise react poorly.

But, we were talking about me and Bob, and fragrance. Again, Bob, if you are one of those fragrance free types, please break it to me now. Rest assured that I aim for subtle, not in your face, when it comes to scent, but I need my perfume, and if you need me like I want to believe that you do, then you'll learn to live with it. Also, if you eat massive amounts of garlic, I would like to be told about that before I up and move clear across the country.

I think that pretty much covers it, although I should let you know that when it comes to decorating, I don't "do" rustic and pine furniture. I will need at least two rooms, one being a large bathroom, adorn up in cabbage rose wall paper, chintz and cherry furniture. And don't expect me to watch fantasy movies, violent movies, or science fiction movies. Braveheart is not my idea of a date film. I won't expect you to watch Beaches. I am also not a extremely neat person. Outwardly, I appear unorganized, but inwardly I am organized to the hilt. It's all about priorities, and I have mine straight. I know where everything is, including my birth certificate, which I haven't had to pull out in 6 years.

Oh, who am I kidding? Bob, I can and have, put up with pretty much anything in my relationships. I am currently living like Jane Fonda during her Tom Hayden days, with no washing machine, no heat, no working oven, and a toilet that is bound to fall straight through to the basement any moment now, due to the rotting boards underneath it. And you can bet it will be me headed down there with it. So, as long as you understand and practice the concept of emotional intimacy, can make me laugh and don't require me to mold myself into someone who I am not, then I am all yours. It seems like so little to ask, and yet, for some reason, it is apparently a really tall order. In return, I will let you wear that silly beret every now and then.

By Ann M. LeSuer - I am a retired R.N. and midwife, and the mother of seven children. I am a searcher, and a researcher--a seeker of knowledge and deeper understanding. If I don't know the answer to a question, I find it, or...  

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