Many years ago, on our wedding anniversary, I gave Terry a card that said, "He who chooses an owl for a companion must put up with a certain number of dead mice." I picked out this particular card for him because I was grateful that he had chosen me for a companion in spite of my foibles. I knew I was not easy to live with, so the saying seemed humorous and to the point. He especially loved that card. It's probably still around the house, stuck in a book somewhere, although I doubt if we could find it. We hardly need to: We took the saying to our hearts, and it became part of our repertoire.
We have a volume
of witty remarks, clever sayings, punch lines from jokes, and cartoon captions
in our heads. We use them in situations that may or may not be similar to the
origin of the line. It's our own personal brand of humor - like a secret
language between us. Sometimes in a group we'll catch each other's eye, see
suppressed laughter, and know we are thinking of the same punch line. We've
used "He who chooses an owl..." in this way from time to time... not needing the
whole sentence, but just the opening phrase that we know the other will mentally
complete like the closing of a synapse.
reason the line came up recently in a conversation over dinner, and Terry
commented that it still applies. I thought I'd improved with age, so I replied,
"I know I'm still an owl, but I'd hoped that I leave fewer dead mice on your
doorstep than in earlier years." A funny look came over his face. "But I'm the
owl..." he said. "That's why I loved the card so much; because you chose me for
a companion and have been willing to put up with more than a few dead
When we stopped laughing, I set him
straight on who I saw as the owl when I gave him the card. After all these
years, I'm glad we've finally cleared up this misunderstanding!