The late Nancy D. of Susanville, California, who was a dear friend of mine, once told me the only beau a woman should consider marrying is a Catholic man. I’m not one to dispute Nancy’s advice, because my own husband was born and raised Catholic, a religious denomination I willingly converted to from Protestantism back in the early ’90s.
My conversation had less to do with faith, than a desire for the Church’s sanctioned eye-candy, the art galley feel in statuary and reproductions of old Saint standards. Even so, I was a bit confused by her statement, as I knew Nancy in full living color as a social liberal and women’s rights advocate. She embraced life, including companion animals—we both agreed our pets have souls—yet conversely supported a woman’s right to choose abortion, and in the tool of divorce, both as a means to control female personal destiny.
Nancy was a widow when we met through the Lassen Progressives web forum. I’m not sure if her general disinterest in men had to do with nostalgia for her late husband, Charles, or a dearth of attractive, intelligent liberals in a region stacked to the rafters with religiously conservative Republicans. You’d think she could at least find a nice church going man in rural northeastern California, where all the places of worship run the Christian gamut, and nothing else. Nancy purported to believe in a higher power, as she would reflect in her emails, “There definitely is a God…and She loves me.”
Nancy was a registered Democrat married to a Republican, though in California, and especially for a man who enjoyed a career in the field of television broadcast journalism, we can assume that Charles D’s only resemblance to the GOP was that of a fiscal conservative. Being happily married to Nancy for many decades posits the idea that Charles, even as a Catholic, would have voted “no” on Proposition 8, that vile law designed to exclude another human being from ever joining in holy matrimony with their beloved of the same sex. Charles was buried in the last town of his employment—Eureka, California. When she passed, her body was transported to Eureka so she could rejoin Charles in corporeal slumber.
Theirs was a love for the ages, always fresh, clean and pure, that death failed to truly part.
But…what if, your beloved partner dies quite suddenly? And as you’re clawing about for a handhold on life and sanity, you stumble across vicious proof that the world didn’t exist in exactly the way you’d blissfully believed for nearly thirty years?
I’ve used this scenario in my latest novel, The Secret Life of Richard McCoy (Secret Cravings Publishing, July 16, 2014). Richard McCoy, whom readers never actually get to meet—because he’d already passed away at the beginning of the novel—is a man of strange tastes and outrageous desires. He was never in conflict with his loving wife, Sally McCoy, as somehow Richard managed to hide his shenanigans for twenty-seven years.
Richard McCoy is insidious, not a bumbling fool like the late Dr. Norman J. Lewiston, a Stanford pediatrician who specialized in the field of cystic fibrosis. When Dr. Lewiston died quite suddenly at age fifty-two from a heart attack, his third wife, by means of a private investigator discovered all along she’d been sharing her man with wives number one and two. Apparently the good doctor was too lazy to submit the proper paperwork, or else he thought bigamy was more of state of mind, rather than a crime.
In The Secret Life of Richard McCoy, Sally not only recovers a part of her psyche that had been suppressed during marriage, she finds an inner strength, and a path to forgiveness, rocky as it may seem. Sally also find herself in a predicament, squarely between the attention of two men, both with secret pasts, and a third man who wants her dead.
Why did I bring the concept of the good Catholic husband into the forefront? Richard McCoy was a lifelong Catholic, immersed in sinful escapades he justified through social and economic entitlement.
But for the reader, The Secret Life of Richard McCoy is less about God’s forgiveness for the sinner, than about how a survivor of unrequited and unexposed deception learns how to forgive the evildoer in order to move forward in life, and eventually love.