When I miss you,
I don't have to go far...
I just have to look inside my heart,
because that's where I'll find you.
I was shopping one afternoon with my life-long friend Barbara, Christmas shopping if memory serves, long before Boomer and I were dating. We were in the men's department, might as well been a foreign country to me, shopping for Barbara's now husband of nearly 20 years, Tom. Tom, like Boomer, also has a nickname - - Wolfy, derived from his last name. Wolfy loves classic Warner Brothers cartoons, the Looney Tunes series being a particular favorite. We came across boxer shorts with the characters on them; Barbara grabbed a pair without haste as a must-have whimsical stocking stuffer for Wolfy. Word was they were a huge hit.
It was October, 1997, Boomer and I are dating 3 months, the time of our first underwear viewing. Who's idea were tighty whities anyway? They're cute on little boys, I've got photos of my brother at age 6 to prove that, but on a grown man they are anything but attractive, let alone sexy. With Boomer's long legs, narrow hips, and broad torso, tighty whities did nothing for him (or me). I mean let's be real, men like their women in attractive underwear. That Victoria's Secret catalog went to Boomer's house, not mine. Remember men, it's a two-way street. How you look in your underwear factors in with us too.
I wanted to get Boomer a Halloween treat, he wasn't big on candy, so when I saw the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown boxers in the holiday section of TJ Maxx, I channeled Barbara. Boomer blushed with his first glimpse of the package. That itself was significant, because Boomer wasn't one to easily embarrass, most things rolled right off. This kind of loving silliness was unfamiliar for him and I know he wasn't sure what to make of them or how not hurt my feelings by never wearing them.
Shortly thereafter, we'd come home to my condo after an evening out when Boomer said he had something to show me. He stepped out of the room briefly, returning sporting the Great Pumpkin and a smile. Yes, of course the double entendre is blatant. My laughter of delight couldn't be contained. It was such fun and launched the tradition of gifting Boomer themed shorts, transforming him from a briefs to boxers guy. I particularly like that he said even his sons thought they were funny and got a kick out of seeing him wear them.
Boomer loved the boxers. He said he'd never worn them in his life, always thinking they'd be clumsy and uncomfortable. Not so; plus he said he'd read boxers where better for guys to wear anyway. SCORE! Now I can really have some fun. Every holiday, milestone, personal anecdote I could make a connection with through boxer shorts -- Boomer received. Some were wilder, more off-beat than others, but some really hit his funny bone too. Turkey's with word clouds saying, "Gobble-gobble" were a memorable pair. The first time we played pool together (and I beat him) on a Valentine's Day lead the way to billiard boxers for his birthday. Shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day, Defensive lineman for the start of college football season. And at Christmas - - forget about it - - off the hook hilarity. For our wedding I was stumped. I couldn't find just the right pair, so this time I opted for the other team. I gave him a white lace Hanky Panky thong bedazzled with "Bride." "Bravo SMO, you done good. Now go put those on." SCORE! again.
Though the years naturally brought along an element of predictability, the quirkiness remained fresh in what could still possibly be available in kitch boxer fashion that we hadn't already enjoyed. How about basic blue plaid? Or black 'n blue checks? Those might have brought the biggest laugh because they were now completely out of our norm - and totally unexpected.
I didn't keep any of Boomer's boxers. As the 6-month marker of his passing approaches in the coming days, I reflect if maybe I should have. Yeah, like I can do anything about it now. Duh. The answer is: No. I want my memory of Boomer and his boxers to be that of what I just shared, not what evolved as his body deteriorated and those long lean legs that I loved became a pair of toothpicks protruding out of a baggy sack of shorts. Had I held onto some boxers, that's all I would visualize - - Boomer's physical erosion from his disease. My memory is vivid enough with the experience of watching my husband die. The material reminder is too much, and not healthy. It is underwear afterall. I take pride in my influence over Boomer - making him a boxers-over-briefs kind of man. Much sexier. Always fun.
That's the image I keep in my heart each time of I think of you, Honey. I miss you and seeing you in your underwear.