This really isn’t about Shell Scott. I just put that up there to gain your attention.
There are some people out there who used to read my weekly column on a newspaper web site. That newspaper is now charging for content and rightfully so, I might add. Most of these folks are not from around these parts so they’re not interested in our local news and so they don’t wish to pay to read just my column.
I totally understand and so, as a favor to both of them, I plan to insert the text of a column now and then into this web log. I won’t do them all in case another book of these bits of wisdom should come along. What follows is a story on how I managed to cope while Susie was in Seattle visiting our son, Joe.
Incidentally, in the previous paragraph, I happened to say ‘both of them’ when I really meant ‘the thousands of people clamoring’. And now, “Susie, won’t you please come home?”
Three more days until my wife, Susie, comes home. She flew to Seattle five days ago to visit our son, Joe and his bride of one year ostensibly to attend a Dutch Artist exhibition in Vancouver. I say ostensibly because I suspect that she would also like to check up on any possible new grandchildren situations.
Some days ago, I was talking to Joe on the phone about the Federal deficit and he ended that conversation by telling me “I guess your grandchildren will have to worry about it.”
That was all it took. When I told Susie what he had said, she got excited right away.
“I’ll bet he’s trying to tell us something.” She said.
“I don’t think so.”
“But he said ‘grandchildren’. He knows we only have a grandchild.”
“It’s just a figure of speech.” I explained but I’m not sure she believed me. So I warned her again before she got on the plane.
“Now remember, Susie. Do not bring up the subject of grandchildren to those two.” I counseled her. “They’ll let us know if there’s anything in the works in their own good time.”
I have no idea if she paid any attention to me or not and I don’t have time to be worried about it. I am too busy learning to adapt to being by myself. I have considered making the trials of bachelordom the theme of this week’s newspaper column once again but I’m not sure how many times I can tell you that there are still no dirty dishes left in the sink.
There have already been columns like that twice in the past few years when Susie went galivanting off with one or more of her sisters on some adventure. I ended up writing about doing laundry and about having to do my own cooking so I hesitate to bore you with yet another tale of husbandly distress. I pride myself on never repeating themes in my columns although after eight years of this, it becomes harder to find something new to write about.
I’m not really sure why I even worry about it. Rush Limbaugh says the same thing every day and he’s been doing that a lot longer than I have been doing my thing. Plus, he’s getting paid 400 million dollars to do it.
I suppose that since ‘Ol Rush is setting the standards for journalistic excellence, I guess it won’t hurt anything if I bring up yet another anecdote in the daily task of seeking wedded bliss.
Before I married Susie, it was my custom to eat every meal with something to read in my hand. I couldn’t eat unless I had a magazine, newspaper or book as my companion. It’s not like I was weird or anything. I just liked to read.
My Mom, bless her soul, never seemed to mind my reading habit. Quite the contrary. She was a big reader herself. She always made sure that there was room on the table for my book or paper. A couple of times when Susie and I were still going together, we had dinner with my mom and I read a narrative out of one of my Shell Scott detective novels to her since she was just sitting there with nothing to do but eat.
“Do you do that a lot?” she asked?
“Read while you’re eating.”
“What else would I do?” I said, shocked at the implied suggestion that some people didn’t read at the table.
“You could always talk to the other people at the table. That’s what we do in the city.” She told me very sweetly. My mom smiled at me but I could swear I detected what could only be described as a look of warning on her face. Of course, I paid no attention.
Susie, a fairly voracious reader herself, nipped my habit of at the table reading in the bud immediately after we professed our eternal love and devotion at the foot of the altar in Fountain Square’s St. Patrick’s church; even though I don’t remember there being any mention of that in the vows. Susie explained that it fell under the subheading of ‘For Better or Worse’.
When I went to take my first bite of wedding cake and picked up our marriage license to read at the same time, Susie removed the document from my hand and laid it on the table next to the toaster her Aunt Mary Ann had gotten us. With an angelic smile on her face, she said “No reading at the dinner table, sweetie. You’re in the big city now.”
I totally understood her reasoning. I had dinner on more than one occasion with her eight siblings, at that time ages eight to 25. There were also two parents, her brother’s girlfriend, a grandmother and the grandmother’s boyfriend at the dinner table. There was no chance to read. The noise level alone precluded any thought of concentrating on a book.
“But Hon,” I said. “This isn’t dinner.” Susie was ready for that argument.
”I know, darling, but eating is accompanied by conversation, not a nose stuck in some bit of newsprint or dime novel.”
What was I going to say, it was our wedding reception, after all. No point in a disagreement already. With trembling hand, I picked up the piece of rich, chocolaty cake and performed the traditional wedding cake ritual, grinding the chocolate into her makeup.
Over the years, I’ve given up on ever reading at the table again. That is, except for occasions like this when Susie’s not home. I have spent the last several meal times reading every bit of material in the house. During this morning’s breakfast of cantaloupe and a toasted ‘everything’ bagel smeared with cream cheese and topped by a huge slice of dripping tomato, I had to get on to the Internet to find something to read. Even though I was very careful, the computer mouse has a cream cheese smear on the sensor ball and my keyboard is now filled with cantaloupe, poppy and tomato seeds.
Anybody out there know how to get seeds out of a keyboard?? I’m planning on having watermelon this afternoon and I may have a problem.