COUNTY AGENT GUY
My wife and I will soon mark our 29th anniversary. You might think I would have learned a thing or two about women during the past three decades, but no.
For instance, I recently made the mistake of purchasing some clothing for my wife. I was quickly re-reminded that buying clothing for a woman is always a mistake and that once the gift is made the only thing that remains to be determined is the magnitude of your blunder.
For example, if she reacts with words such as “I don’t think this will work for me,” what she really means is “You have no clue what size I wear, do you?”
If the gifted clothing elicits a response of “That’s really not my style,” what she might mean is “Why do you suddenly become colorblind whenever you go to the store?”
After all these years I finally learned that there are only four things a husband should give his wife: money, chocolate, jewelry or flowers. The ideal gift would be a box of chocolates that’s topped by a bouquet of flowers that contains a necklace wrapped inside a hundred dollar bill.
We managed to make it all these years despite my gifting cluelessness. It’s safe to assume that we will remain married due to the fact that my wife no longer introduces me as her first husband. Also, when asked how long we’ve been married, she has quit saying, “I don’t even want to think about it!”
My wife and I recently spent a three-day weekend at home together. It wasn’t planned that way; the weather closed in and we became snowbound.
About halfway through the third day I was informed of a calamitous development. According to my wife, the situation was as horrifying as a nuclear reactor meltdown or being forced to watch “Carrot Top.”
In fact, she claimed it was worse than either of those. We were clean out of toilet paper!
I helpfully suggested that there are alternatives to Charmin. Newsprint sprang to mind, followed closely by recycled plant material, specifically, the cobs I had stashed in the chicken coop for just such a contingency.
Both ideas were swiftly shot down.
As the Man Of The House, I knew that there was only one thing to do: I had to brave the swirling sea of snowdrifts and voyage into town to requisition a supply of Charmin.
It wasn’t my first rodeo, so I knew what to do. I girded my loins with insulated coveralls and strapped on my heavy winter boots. A shovel was thrown into the back of the pickup for that “worst case” scenario.
Tearing along on our township road, I easily blasted through the forward guard of drifts. Turning a corner, I halted, gobsmacked. Endless snowdrifts stretched out before me like an angry, frothing ocean.
What to do? The term “no guts, no glory” popped into my head. With the theme music from “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” reverberating through my skull, I locked my pickup into four wheel drive and floored it.
The pickup valiantly threw itself against drift after drift until they became an unbroken wall of snow. The windshield filled with white powder, eliciting no small amount of muttered imprecations.
Everything became suddenly quiet. The pickup was running, but all forward motion had ceased.
I was completely and utterly stuck.
The shame, the indignity! It’s been years since I’d been that stuck! You might think I would have learned, but no.
Plan B — the aforementioned shovel — was put into action. Ten minutes of digging uncovered little more than the pickup’s front bumper. I had forgotten what it’s like to dig out an entire pickup and now recalled that it usually involves moving several tons of snow.
Plan C — my cell phone — was brought to bear. A kindly neighbor who owns a pay loader was summoned. I opted to sit in the cab and wait.
Minutes later, a snowplow appeared! Woo-hoo! Freedom!
The snowplow poked its colossal steel nose through the drifts that held me in their icy grip. We hooked the snowplow onto my pickup and I was yanked out as slick as a loose baby tooth.
I chatted briefly with the snowplow driver, who was kind enough not to ask “What sort of idiot would try to go through THAT?!”
Turns out he wasn’t there to rescue me, but was simply plowing our roads. Had I just waited half an hour I would have never gotten stuck!
My excursion to the store ended our toilet paper emergency. And for once, the stuff I brought home from a shopping expedition was both the right color and the right size.
Which is outstanding, because I have just discovered an entire new category of acceptable gifts.
Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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