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Remembering Ted

By Vicky O. Misa

(First published July 9, 2010)

Ted Misa was the kind of man that made you fall in love with him instantly. You just couldn't help it. He was smart, charming, and funny. There was something very special about this guy, even though years of trying couldn't get you any closer to putting your finger on what specifically it was. (I've decided it was the whole package.) He had an immeasurable talent for picking out the weirdest ice cream flavors and you couldn't shake the peacefulness that would wash over you when you were around him, no matter what mood you started out in. (Not that you'd want to.) He had a unique ability to bring joy to anyone he met. My first encounter with him was quite memorable. As a young woman trying to win the heart of his son David, I was already more than a little rattled about meeting 'the parents'. I was a divorcee with two small children and a skittish demeanor thanks to a marriage gone bad. The mere thought of getting my poorly bandaged heart tangled up with a new family had me on the verge of a complete meltdown. We showed up at Dave's parents' house to find them in the kitchen having a rather lively discussion about cabinets. Before introductions were even over, Ted presented me with a challenge. He asked me if I liked wood cabinets or painted ones. He went on to explain - with that charming smile of his - that I was going to have to choose which of Dave's parents I was going to side with. (No pressure, lol!) He wouldn't tell me which of them preferred what. I suddenly felt ill, yet I was intrigued by this man who had the audacity to pitch me in over my head right from the start. I come from a world were you hold back until you're certain the water's not too deep, especially when it comes to people. In typical Ted fashion, he completely put himself out there, not caring how vulnerable he might become to this stranger in his home. Also, with the subtlety of this challenge, he kept me from getting hung up in the politics of relationships or strategic power plays, as one might do when trying to maneuver into the best light with someone new. Once disarmed, I was free to begin an unusually open adventure through life with this mysterious man. BTW- I apparently gave the answer he was looking for (which was wood) and from then on we were kindred spirits. He was overjoyed at his discovery of a new alliance and that's the way it remained for the next 19 years. (Not to worry, Dave's mom was just as happy with the result. She lives for someone to be cantankerous with, so opposition is something she enjoys - all in good fun, of course.) Anyway, the man whose name I've had the honor of calling my own for nearly 15 years has gone to a better place. And though I will miss him dearly, I will cherish those days he kept me laughing through my darkest days, encouraged me when no one else would, and loved me through it all without holding back.

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