Baby, it’s C-O-L-D … but inside, my toes are as warm as the coffee in my cup. Good will and peace toward everybody is oozing from my pores.
“You got any cutters?”
“I said, you got any cutters?”
“Whatta you mean, cutters?”
“You know, those things you cut things with.”
“I’m going to call Joyce (next door) and see if I can get a few limbs off her magnolia tree. I need some for decorating.”
One thing you need to know is since my beloved can read my mind, she thinks I can read hers. But it is here that the conversation becomes as clear as ice water … as in:
‘Tis the season to decorate for the coming of Santa Claus . . .
If my blonde is anything (other than gorgeous, loving, kind and warm at heart), she is a decorator.
Get out of her way and she can turn Death Valley into the Garden of Eden … and then design go-to-church clothes for Adam and Eve.
‘Course I have “cutters.”
And of course, Joyce Next Door is perfectly willing for the blonde to cut limbs from her magnolia tree. Her permission is to the point:
“You can cut the whole bleeping thing down if you want to.”
Joyce Next Door feels as I do about magnolia trees, mainly they are one of the few mistakes God made when He got into “intelligent design.”
Anyway, I get the “cutters,” put on my coat, mutter a few unmentionables under my breath, and head out to the Magnolia Tree Next Door.
With that, I am dropping the subject of the Magnolia Tree Next Door … mainly because I froze near to my unmentionables out there whacking away at the Magnolia Tree Next Door and really don’t even remember finishing.
I do recall offering up a prayer that God will send an infestation of pine beetles to the Magnolia Tree Next Door before Labor Day. It is along about Labor Day each year that my blonde begins walking through the house and talking about “getting ready for Christmas.”
Don’t misunderstand me here.
Despite what my daughter-in-law, the wicked beauty who stole my son, says . . . I AM NOT A SCROOGE!!
Hey, she actually said that . . . the afternoon of my visit to the Magnolia Tree Next Door. It happened when she came by to “sort of help Neyna get things decorated”
It came when I was asked what I thought about two blue-and-white vases (three feet high) atop the buffet (the one my grandmother Hattie Cook Smith gave me) stuffed with limbs from the Magnolia Tree Next Door looked.
I gave an honest answer . . . and got, from my daughter-in-law:
“Poppa, are you Scrooging it again?”
Which is when I made a stand.
“Don’t ask me another thing about what I think . . . and I mean it, not gonna answer.”
I retreated to my barn.
Which brings to mind that old basketball deal of “no harm, no foul.”
Certainly they felt no harm.
On several trips into the house for coffee, I heard giggling and “whatta you think?” and “Looks good, but let’s try . . .” and all sorts of stuff like that. It was obvious that not only was my opinion of no consequence, it wasn’t even sought.
Fact is, neither so much as said anything to me.
But I am a happy man.
The daughter-in-law came back the next day and I know come Christmas Eve (our family deal), the house will be warm and cozy and quietly beautiful.
Even if no one speaks to me.
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org