PART SEVEN – HAPPINESS
We were Mutt and Fu, Fu and Mutt. Our love was deep and profound, and I believe to this day, unique. What was the secret to our happiness together? Fu! She was an amazing person, and a truly beautiful soul. I’ve thought about what made her this way and come to a few conclusions.
She was determined. When she knew what she wanted, she went for it. She went all out for it, and she did not easily give up. If one approach didn’t work out, she would try another. Now, if it didn’t work out, she chalked it up as a learning experience. Everything was a potential learning experience. She never let an event pass without seeking to learn or to teach her children and me.
Second, she was competitive, a streak in her that came out playing games. If I played a game with one of our children, I usually let them win. Not so with Fu. If a child beat her in a game, it was because they beat her. She didn’t believe in allowing a child to win just because they were a child. Now she was really careful to make sure the game was appropriate to the child. But she wanted them to do well and do it on their own. So, after a game they lost, she would talk to them about why they lost. Everything was a potential learning experience in her mind. Nothing was a waste in her view of life.
Third, she liked to win. She liked winning so much, she would not play a game she couldn’t win. We had a ping pong table as our children were entering the teen years. She would play with them, but not with me. I would easily beat her, so she just wouldn’t play me.
Sometimes I would beg her to play. Then the bargaining began. I had to promise no slams, no spins on the ball, and to only hit the ball to her so that she could return it. Those were the terms.
She liked to win. I just liked to play. Winning and losing was never a big deal to me, at first. But after many years of only playing games she could win, and being consistently on the losing side, I grew resentful. I regret that.
Fourth, she took the long view of things. We were intensely in love as teens, but to uphold Christian virtue meant we could only be so close. I started pushing her too much our senior year. So, taking the longer view, she broke up with me a month before our senior prom.
Things happen on prom night, you know.
She told me I needed to grow up. She did not, however, tell me her plan, which was to give us a little time apart to cool things down before coming back together for the sprint to marriage.
I was devastated. The Sunday morning after our breakup I was at her house early to take her to church, as usual. Another guy was there to get her. I’m sure she considered it a learning experience, but I did not like what I was learning.
She started dating that guy who was already at Mississippi college. Fu and I had planned to attend Mississippi College together that fall. I could not stand the thought of seeing her on campus with someone else, so at the last minute I submitted an application to the University of Southern Mississippi and headed south.
That’s how I became a Golden Eagle.
We could not be around each other as friends, but we could write letters to each other, sharing our deepest thoughts. Two or three letters a week flew between USM and MC.
I have a treasure. I have all of these letters. Someday, when I feel up to it, I will pull them all out and start pairing them up; what she wrote, what I wrote in response, and vice versa.
She broke up with that other guy after about eight weeks, but she didn’t tell me until just before Christmas break. I went home that Friday and was at her house that evening. It was the first time I had been alone with her in months.
Fu gave me the ground rules. We could date again, some, but we were both free to date other people. That was fine with me, just as long as I had a fighting chance with her.
The second half of our freshman year and our sophomore year in college, she had many dates. I never had another date with anyone else. There was no one else. At the end of our sophomore year, I was able to convince her to leave MC and to join me that fall at USM.
I had her back. I think I was more mature. Her plan, as usual, worked, and we were Mutt and Fu again.