Thursday, February 14, 2013
THE REAL McCOY
Valentine card, circa 1938, from collection of SWMBO’s late Dad.
Some years back, we had our garbage collection people come by to schlep away some of our excess household detritus. We’ve been in this house longer than we’ve lived anywhere else, and between that and the fact that we’re in our seventh home, we have managed to accumulate Beaucoup de Crap.
The owner of the company himself, one Joe Hatfield, came by to do the job. I had already known his name for years (it appeared on his company’s invoices), but it was not until that night that I found out that he was descended from that Hatfield clan. You know: the one that famously feuded with the McCoys back in late nineteenth-century West Virginia and Kentucky. The archetypical hillbilly family feud!
About those McCoys I don’t know a whole lot. There’s a bit of folk etymology that credits those McCoys as the inspiration for the expression “the Real McCoy,” meaning genuine, the real thing - but that is almost certainly bullshit.
But the Real McCoy is about as good a descriptor for my beloved sweetheart, She Who Must Be Obeyed... because she is, indeed, the Genuine Article.
How she has managed to put up with me for the past thirty-seven years (thirty-five of which we have spent in the Blessèd State of Matrimony), I have no earthly idea. But believe me when I tell you that I am not complaining.
There are no guarantees in life, but with SWMBO at my side, I feel as though I can deal with just about anything. (Not that I am looking to be tested, mind you.)
When I look into her eyes, I am transported back to the first days of our acquaintanceship, those early days of blossoming love. We are not new to each other - not any longer - and yet every day feels fresh. It’s a mystery, how that works.
Arthur C. Clarke’s once famously observed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The same could be said for the human capacity for love.
And so, on this day that we set aside for celebrating that particular kind of magic - for which the flower, chocolate, greeting card, and restaurant industries are profoundly grateful - let me proclaim that I am still profoundly and happily smitten with my very own SWMBO... the Real McCoy.
(Which is not to say that she won’t kick my ass after she reads my previous post.)
Posted by Elisson at 2:14 AM
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On the origins of “the Real McCoy” ...
Elijah McCoy (May 2, 1844 – October 10, 1929) was an extraordinary black inventor, born in Canada to runaway slaves, whose invention of the self-lubricating cup revolutionized steam engine travel. Previously to his invention trains had to stop and re-lubricate every 20 minutes or so. The quality of his inventions was so reliable that customers would ask for ‘The Real McCoy.’ McCoy patented more than 50 other inventions still in use.
See more on McCoy at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_McCoy
The Real McCoy (inspired by this true life story) will be presented by 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook Ontario) on the theatre’s outdoor barnyard stages in August 2013.
PS – Elijah McCoy’s family originated in eastern Kentucky and their surname may have been a slave name (as in the Hatfields & McCoys) but this has not been confirmed.
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