Millroy: In Celebration of Barbara

I will try not to get maudlin today but I feel I have to talk about the wonderful woman I lost last week, my wife Barbara, who passed away at Algoma Residential Community Hospice.
I just want to give you an idea of what I put up with for 36 years, joyfully I must admit, but put up with just the same.

Barbara had a great sense of humour to begin with but once we were married she fine-tuned it, always at my expense. It was as if when she was a kid she didn’t have enough dolls to torture.

One time she came into our computer room with a magazine in hand. She plopped into her chair and declared, “I just took this questionnaire on marriage and I want you to take it.”
I knew better than to do that but she persisted.
“I did it so you have to.”

This was an argument I never won so off we went and I found myself in corners Connor McDavid couldn’t stickhandle out of. The questions were about as uncomfortable as they could get.
Finally the last question.
“Do you think you are gullible,” she asked as she looked up from the page.
“Certainly not,” I said, thinking, what a silly question to ask a journalist.
Then she handed me the magazine. I don’t know what was on the page but it wasn’t a questionnaire on marriage. She had made the whole thing up.
Then she just sat there like a satisfied cat while I had nowhere to go.

Another time she passed me a note I had left for her.
“Help me out,” she said. “This note meant nothing to me as I couldn’t read your writing.”
My handwriting is atrocious so I had some trouble myself with the first paragraph but eventually I did make sense out of it.
The second paragraph was a different story. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make out one word and finally had to admit it.
“Of course, you can’t,” she said. “Those are just chicken marks I made.”
I told her then and told her often there wasn’t a judge in the country that would convict me.

Barbara’s quitting smoking because of upcoming bypass surgery was a story in itself.
It had been suggested that she start out with eight cigarettes a day and every two weeks drop down two. When she was down to only two for the day she lit up when she got in her car to go to the convenience store. As that was a mistake as it was not time for her first of the day and there was no ash tray in the car, she lay the cigarette on the ground by the car while she went into the store.
When she came out she picked it up and took a drag. As she got into the car, she noticed another white-haired lady in the car next to hers with mouth agape.
Face blazing, Barbara did not put out that cigarette, precious as it was with only two for the day.
When it came to discussing smoking, people would ask her when she quit. She would always turn to me for the answer and I would give it. It was a long time before I realized she was cheating and had me answer because she couldn’t tell a lie.
I had just thought she had a lot of gas when the washroom always seemed to be filled with scented spray but then I found a butt in an ashtray above the medicine cabinet. Barbara never kept butts.

When I brought it up and suggested she was cheating, all she said was, “Sometimes dense is good.”
I was very happy when the GPS came into general use because Barbara, with no sense of direction, couldn’t be relied on as a navigator.

On a trip to Arizona years back I asked her to get out the map so we could get an idea where we where. She opened a page and pointed.
It was the wrong state.

On one occasion on that trip she said, “Get whiny like that again and this map goes out the window.” And I knew it would.
It was always interesting to see her attempt to read a map in a city. When we turned a corner, instead of turning the map to read the streets or avenues she would lean over toward me with the map still pointed upward.
And she calls me idiot (I said to myself).

When we were dating I thought Barbara was adventurous as she would ride on the back of my motorbike.
But after we got married, she announced that she didn’t have to do that any more.
We had an ongoing argument when we were dating, always about who loved whom the most. I decided then that if I was going to lose an argument, that was the one to lose.

However, when I think about it, I don’t think I ever won one.
Somehow it didn’t really matter. When you know there is going to be laughter somewhere pretty well every day, all things big and small seem to slide.

My wife considered herself to be one of the luckiest people alive, having loved and being loved. She said before her passing she didn’t have a single regret.

As the other part of that twosome, I concur. I consider myself more than lucky to have been able to spend so much of my life with her.

I have been asked at times how I got someone so beautiful, talented and nice.
Truth be told I don’t have a clue. I am just thankful I did.
It was a ride for the ages.

4 thoughts on “Millroy: In Celebration of Barbara

  1. She was beautiful Doug, with a gorgeous smile. Sorry for your loss. This article gave a greater sense of who she was, thank you.

  2. Beautifully said, Doug! I believe that Barbara, with her sense of humour, would have loved this tribute to her.
    Peggy Greco

  3. Doug that was a wonderful column on Barbara. My wife Jan and I are so glad we stopped in to see
    you both on our cross Canada trip in 2022. She was so in love with you, it’s a beautiful thing to see. And she was so funny, a trickster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *