My wife, beautiful and brainy, almost always makes wise decisions. I say “almost” because her discernment escaped once briefly when I proposed marriage, she agreed, I instantly offered a diamond ring, and she slid it on her finger, sealing her commitment to marry me forever.
In the years since, the word “commitment” periodically leaps into her mind, inevitably paired with “John.” As it is with others; “damn” with “Yankee,” or “cruel” with “stepmother.” Part of my commitment to her was the genial acceptance of “honey-do’s.” For the uninitiated, a “honey-do” presents a gentle request from the fairer sex (Lisa) to the cruder sex (moi) to accomplish some simple task that will enhance connubial bliss.
A while back, a particular honey-do seemed simple – acquire a truckload of (FREE!) mulch from the city landfill to be used for establishing beds for a well-planned, lovely, privacy-providing plant-and-flower garden off our sun room. No sweat. Happy to comply.
I reserved an open day in early August to acquire and distribute the (FREE!) mulch while Lisa would be in meetings at her high school. When she came home I would surprise her with a completed love offering. Suspecting vigorous labor ahead, I ate a big breakfast. After Lisa left, I rested, waiting for the landfill to open. When I did stride out to my truck, I noticed that it seemed unusually hot for so early in the morning.
Being one who continues to woo his wife, I shrugged off the heat and hustled off to the county landfill. Heat or no heat, a honey-do is a honey-do. I joined a line of trucks and patiently waited with the radio on and the air conditioner thrumming coolness into the cab. The man on the radio said, “Hoo-boy, but it’s gonna be a hot one! Maybe a record high!” Then it was my turn to acquire the (FREE!) mulch.
Almost immediately there was a mistake. The man operating the front-end loader mistook me for a Ford 350 and dumped approximately six metric tons of (FREE!) mulch into the bed of our little Nissan Frontier. When the front wheels settled back down to earth, I eased away from the landfill and skated home with the a/c on high and the radio off.
Safely home, I unloaded (FREE!) mulch, interestingly, hot to the touch, so hot it exuded steam in (I learned later) 97-, then 98-degree heat. I whistled while I worked, pleasantly productive, shoveling out the back end of the truck. Delighted to be useful, pleased to be needed, I labored on for the next five hours, pausing more and more frequently to make sure I completed my task professionally, and to make the dizziness go away.
When I finished, I tottered to the truck and parked it out in front of the condo, slithered up the steps, and plunged myself into the air-conditioned interior of our residence.
Lisa was surprised, pleased, entranced with my efforts to help nudge her dream garden along. She flashed mild alarm when she was forced to feed me at dinner because I could not raise my hands, but I fully recovered in forty-eight hours.
The next step waited coyly around the corner, peeking at me, beckoning with a delicate, feminine finger, innocently imploring me to acquire another load of vital material to feed future fragile flowers and bountiful bushes.