Peanut Butter Cruelty

I finally remembered to buy Blackburn’s Syrup.  Bud’s favorite was Johnny Fair, but I haven’t seen that in a long time.  That evening, I smelled toast and heard Bud rummaging around in the kitchen and digging in the pantry.  I didn’t offer to help, since he can usually manage a snack on his own.

In just a minute, he came bursting in to accuse me.  “You ate all the peanut butter!  You bought syrup when you ate all the peanut butter!  That’s cruel!  Just cruel!  You know I love peanut butter and syrup on toast and you finally bought syrup and there’s no peanut butter.  That’s just cruel!”

He abandoned his toast syrup and slumped forlorn in his chair as I tried not to laugh.  I bought peanut butter today.

Anniversary

Our first photo together.  I am the chubby baby in the front row.  Bud is behind me to my left.

Bud and I celebrate our forty-eighth anniversary today.  We met days after my birth when his mother came to help out after my birth.  Two and a half years old and more experienced, he wisely waited for me to grow up a little before showing interest in me.  I was pre-occupied with the business of being a baby and had no time for him, possibly leading him to think I was playing hard to get.  From time to time, we’d be thrown together over the years, at holidays, school events, community, church, and family visits.  He was pleasant to me.  I liked him, but had no idea he held a special interest in me.  The summer I was seventeen, he’d gotten a car and starting calling regularly.  My sister Phyllis thought he liked her, so I made a point of getting out of their way when he came to visit.  All socializing was done in the living room in the midst of a large boisterous family with the TV at full blast, so there was no question of privacy.  We could take a guest to the snack bar in the dining room if we wanted, but we were still in the middle of things.  Coincidentally, my fourteen-year-old brother, Bill, really admired and enjoyed Bud, too, so he thought he was there to see him.

Bud was had broken his foot and bashed his thumb in separate accidents in his summer mechanic job, so he was a comical site hobbling on crutches with casts on his foot and hand.  He was good-matured about all the teasing, so I knew he had to be a good guy.

After a week or so of nightly visits to Phyllis and Bill, I was surprised to get a call from Bud, asking me out.  I probably stammered a bit, since I thought he was interested in Phyllis.  I accepted, and that was it.  We were married two years later.  Forty-eight years and two children later, August 22, 2018, we celebrate our  anniversary together.  We’ve had the best life anyone could ever have.

Accounting

Bud is fussy about his budget.  He does a computer check on the bank account every morning.  Our big dog, Croc eats a lot.  That goes in the budget.  What goes in must come out, so he poops a lot.  Bud also likes to work that not the budget.  “Croc pooped about a dollar’s worth.”

I’m glad I’m not in charge of accounting!”

Open and Closed

Bud is mostly reasonable, but does have his moods.  One morning he got up and made me coffee while I dressed for work, which was a real treat.  I always got the kids’ breakfast on the table before turning it over to him to get them fed, dressed and on the bus.  He didn’t go to work till later in the morning so our paths didn’t cross in the morning that often.  Of course I didn’t have much time to drink it, so he fixed me a cup to go as I headed out the door before five a.m.  I grabbed my badge, coffee, bag, and  lunch and keys out of the fridge.  The only way I could remember my lunch was if it was with my keys.  Bud fussed, but it made perfect sense to me.  He didn’t have to get the kids off for a while so he settled back in his recliner to watch the news and probably catch a snooze.

I found it distracting to have Bud up and about as I left for work, so I was a little distracted as I hit the garage door remote.  The door had a little glitch where it sometimes edged back down a few inches instead of engaging at the top.  This was one of those mornings.  Bud had kept meaning to fix it, but you know how that goes.  I made one last check on things before starting my vehicle.  Backing up, I was rewarded with a whump and a nauseating schreech as I connected with the garage door.  Apparently, it had learned its lesson, because it returned to the correct position just as Bud burst out the back door, gesticulating and shouting!  He looked like he was foul mood so I hurried on my way, not bothering to stop and find out what he thought of the situation since he didn’t look like his morning was going well.  I never have understood why some people have to be grouchy in the mornings.

I called his job later in the morning to find out how much damage I’d done.  One of his buddies answered the phone eager to talk to me.  “Hey, I heard you backed into the closed garage door!”

”Yeah, but it wasn’t my fault.  Bud was supposed to fix it.”

”Yeah, he’s gone to get some parts now.  Do you want me to ask him to call you when he gets back?” He laughed.

”No, not really.  He was in a bad mood when I left this morning.”

 

 

Burn Baby, Burn

Sometimes Bud can be difficult.  One lovely day, we both headed outdoors.  I had my work.  He had his.  I busied myself, digging, shoveling sand, putting out flagstones. Meanwhile, he pottered about at some uninteresting task of his own, never even asking if I needed help. After putting the last touches  on my patio, I went for the water hose.  I felt smug at finding it stretched across the backyard, since he’s always after me about winding it back up, barely letting me finish what I’m doing. Nevertheless, I pulled it back around to my new flower bed.  Bud had even left the water on, just shut off by the adapter.  That wasn’t like him at all.  I’d have to mention it when I got through.

It wasn’t long before Bud tore around the corner yanking the hose, clearly in a panic. Rudely, he grabbed the hose and took off, not even asking whether I was finished. I followed and found him spraying a pile burning yard refuse that had almost gotten away from him. It turns out, he’d had the water hose nearby just in case and hadn’t noticed when me taking it when he’d turned away to pile on more brush. Fortunately, he got the blaze under control. Unfortunately, not before it consumed the nice sweeper he’d disconnected from his tractor and left near the pile. He’s much more careful with the new one he bought to replace it and thoughtfully tells me when he’s about to burn, now.

My project certainly turned out better than his.

 

Ask Auntie Linda

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, My husband, Bob, had a cancerous kidney removed four years ago. Our marriage was never good. He is a truck driver and did well until three weeks ago when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor after a seizure. Now, he is unable to work. His prognosis is poor and he needs my health insurance. We have three children. I had already told him I was leaving before all this happened. I could never leave him, now, with him being sick. He had already confronted me because of some text messages and emails he found, though I am pretty sure he has been unfaithful as well. He knows I have gotten involved with Mike, co-worker. I want a relationship with him.

Bob, our children, and I are all devastated by Bob’s illness and terminal diagnosis. They know I was leaving before all this happened, and immediately they all started saying I had to stay now. I feel awful about Bob’s illness. I know I am hopelessly stuck. Both our families are involved now. We live in small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Our minister has already been here to visit.

I know I have to stay and care for Bob till the end. That is not my issue. Mike is very supportive. He understands I cannot leave Bob and isn’t asking for that. There is a workshop for my job I must attend in San Francisco next month. Bob’s parents will be coming to stay with him and the children while I must be gone.

Mike wants us to be together that week. I don’t see how it would hurt since Bob knows how I felt before his illness. I wouldn’t hurt Bob by rubbing his nose in it, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t take this opportunity since Bob knew I was leaving him before his diagnosis. Am I wrong to want some happiness before what promises to be a miserable, lengthy ordeal?  Molasses Molly

Dear Molasses,  No, you are not wrong to want happiness, but this is not the time to put yourself first.  Escape will not solve your problems.  Examine your conscience.  You know Bob’s time is limited.  If your relationship with your children is important, don’t lose sight of the fact that it will be impacted forever.  Their sympathies will be with him.  If the ethics of that don’t concern you,  being involved with a coworker may be a sexual harassment issue, not to mention the damage to your professional reputation and possible job loss.  On a more practical level, you and Bob share a financial situation.  You could be left with astronomical expenses should you lose your job.

I suggest you back off, support Bob and the children through his illness, and consider your needs when the situation changes. I can’t see how adding another problem to the mix will help. Auntie Linda

P. S.  Old Mike sounds like a real buzzard.

 

Dear Auntie Linda,  Our parents had to go in a nursing home a year ago because two of my sisters and I could no longer care for them at home.  My father had end-stage lung disease requiring professional care.  Mother has early Alzheimer’s Disease.  Though she appears fairly functional on visits, she requires constant attendance since she wanders off and can’t manage her daily care.  The problem is, my father died three weeks ago.  Now, one sister who lives several hours away insists Mother is well enough to return home with some help.  Of course, Mother is all for it.  The problem of managing her care would fall on me and my two sisters who live near Mother.  Even though she appears pleasant and competent, Mother can not be left alone.  She was leaving burners on even before she went in the nursing home.  Several times we had to go looking for her in all weather.  Even though we have made this clear to my sister, she insists Mother can manage with home health.  She says we (not her) can check on her a couple of times a day.  The responsibility of Mother’s care would fall on those of us who live in town, and we have already tried everything.  I am worried my sister will move her home over our objections.  What do we do? Exhausted

Dear Exhausted, Make it clear to your sister that you will not accept responsibility for caring for your mother at home.  If your sister insists on bringing her home, involve the social worker and adult protection if necessary.  Your sister cannot force you to assume responsibility.

 

 

How to Live All Your Life

Pencil sketch of Roscoe Holdaway by Kathleen Holdaway Swain done in 1941 when she was twelve.Kathleen's Pencil Sketch of Roscoe 1941On her last visit with her father, she tried to spend a lot of time with him, knowing it was unlikely she’d see him again.  Overwhelmed with the demands of a large family, she often felt her life was not her own.  Most afternoons, she struggled to get both little ones to nap at the same time and used that precious time to catch up on her laundry and whatever she couldn’t get done with them underfoot.  She’d come to visit with the intention of staying two weeks, but extended her visit to a third week, trying to get a lifetime of visits in before she lost him.
Up since five-thirty with a teething baby, she finally got both little ones down for a nap after lunch.  Though she yearned for a nap herself, she joined her father on the porch.  Watching from the open door, she memorized him before going out, think how frail he looked in his wool coat and old felt hat humped over in his straight chair in the brutal, August of the afternoon.  He’d laid his paperback Western open-faced on the porch-floor.  Inferring he must be heartbroken, knowing he couldn’t live much longer, she took a seat beside him thinking he might have something to say.
“Kat,” he started.  “I’ve been watching those ants on the ground down there.  Look how they are so busy on their little trail.  Some are rushing forward to pick up a load, and some are headed back to the nest all loaded down.  Every once in a while, a few of them stop to talk then turn round and round in the trail before getting back in line. Isn’t that something?”
Surprised to hear of his pleasure in the ants, she realized he wasn’t sad at all, just absorbed in their activity. She sat with him till her little ones awoke and called her back to the ant trail of her life.
That was the last time she spent alone with him.

Dirty Trick

As we walked across the Walmart parking lot this afternoon, my husband of forty-five years, Bud, pointed out my loose bootlace. I had no intention of bending over in the parking lot to tie it, so replied, “I have a backache.  I’ll tie it later.”

Bud couldn’t deal with the idea of the flopping shoelace, so he rolled his eyes and grumped,  “You can’t walk around like that.  You’ll break your danged neck.  Stand still.  I’ll tie it!”

With that, he dropped down on one knee to tie it, just as a couple of guys walked by, obviously wondering what was going on.

I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, spouting,  “No, I won’t marry you!  Now get up!”

Rescue Dinner

imageBud is a good man, but I can’t live with him when he’s hungry.  I have no doubt he’d lay down his life from me, but I do believe he’d rather I ran around with another man than cook around on him.  Anyway, I digress.  At five p.m. Today, it occurred to me I’d never made it to the grocery store today. I had an egg plant, half a pound of ground sausage, 1/2 cup leftover brown gravy, and half a cup of frozen seasoned bread crumbs.  I sautéed half a diced onion and some fresh garlic and the sausage. To the mix I added chopped eggplant, while cooking the shelled out eggplant in the microwave for two minutes.  I seasoned the mix with salt, pepper, parsley, Tony Zacharie’s Cajun Seasoning, sprinkled with Feta cheese and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  It was excellent served with home canned green beans.  I am still married.