My friend Bill had a saying, “you need the patience of stones to see real change in people.” I’d hear this several times a week. One associate or another would do some lame-brained stunt that required transport to the Mass General Hospital, a loan, hiding from an aggrieved party. Bill himself admitted to several flaws. Primarily his inability to settle into marital bliss with the lovely Jeanie. Every so often, he’d promise to grow moss on the back of the rolling stone. He’d ask me to trek out to Massachusetts’s western edges with him to act as the go-between for Jeanie, her parents, and him. I was his accomplice, road brother, and friend. As they said at sea – grumble you may, but go you shall.
Jeanie was no idle gaudily attired flamfloo of a girl. As she was known to intone to Bill – she was raised correctly. When she looked down her elegant nose at Bill and me, the implication was clear: we had failings in that department. Bill and I would look guilty and find some excuse to head down to the Harvard Gardens.
In those days, I was no wordsmith but took it all in. Then came the day that Jeanie announced that she was pregnant. Bill solemnly declared that “My wandering days are done.” Jeanie looked genuinely pleased. True to form, though, I smiled, opened my mouth to speak – and Bill glared, and said – “don’t you dare say it!”
I replied that ” My mother always said that water would smooth even the most obdurate of stones in time.” Bill considered this while Jeanie smiled hugged her newly domesticated husband and father-to-be.