Today is our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary. We laugh about it. It’s hard to imagine being married that long, but we have. Today’s blog is not about food. It’s about our crazy, Midwest life on the prairie. It’s a story of two kids, growing up in the heartland.
We were on a road trip down to Arkansas. That right there should tell you how totally goofy we are, as a couple. The conversation turned to camping, or in our case, not camping. The campgrounds around Beaver Lake were gorgeous. They were right on the lake and had tons of shade trees and pine trees. It looked so inviting. Then, reality set in.
He mentioned a trip down to southern Missouri in our early years of marriage when our daughter was little. Back in the seventies we bought a brand new pop up camper. It was just right for the three of us. We went on many camping trips with the extended family, in-laws, out-laws, and friends. To the lakes, to the far reaches of Kansas, and down to the deepest hollows (hollers) of the Missouri Ozarks. Fun times.
As with all of our road trips, one conversation leads to another. Randomness rules on road trips. The conversation about the camping reminded him of a camping trip where I had made him madder at me than any other time in the thirty-nine years we had been together. Apparently, it had no effect on me, because I was sure the maddest he had ever been with me was the day I crushed in the side of his pristine, 1970 Camaro No, the Camaro event was not the time, it was the camper event.
He had me on that one. What camper event? He was amazed that I didn’t remember it. Was I so upset by his anger that I tucked it into the far reaches of my brain? No, it was a non-event to me. You see, this man was so kind and soft hearted, that he did not spew his anger toward me for a mistake I had made in taking down the camper. It was not deliberate, it was not done in malice, it was simply a mistake. I had taken down the camper so he wouldn’t have to. He was off in the hills, taking in the last of the Ozarks, before we had to return back to our real lives of work and home. Play time was just about over. To help him out, I decided to start taking the camper down. I did okay until I let go of the slide out bed, without the brace locked in. The weight of the slide out bed bent the sliding rails. Oops!
When he saw what had happened he knew what was in store for him. He said he was so mad he could not even speak. He had to take apart the camper to straighten the slide. Then, the camper could be closed up and we could be on our way. Right there, in the middle of the hills. I do not remember the event at all. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
He asked if I had ever been really really angry with him. I had to think a while. Those kinds of things are not stored in the front of my brain for easy retrieval. I store things like the names and faces of my grandchildren in the fast retrieval area of the brain. That old stuff gets stored way back. So far back I really don’t care if they are ever retrieved. Pretty much like old Tupperware in the lower cupboard.
After a few hours of driving around the beautiful hills and the lake, I remembered! Okay, he made me really angry one time in our decades long relationship. Yep, really angry, tear producing anger. The kind of tears that are like sweat coming out of your eyes. No sobs, no ugly face cry, but just hot, anger tears. The kind that make your eyes sting and your throat hurt. That’s the best I can do for a description.
He had just built a dining room table for us. Very beautiful and contemporary. It was the middle of winter and he wanted to stain and polyurethane it……in the carpeted dining room, in the dining room of our very first brand new house. I suggested it was a bad idea and that he really should wait until Spring when he could do it in the garage. He, being a type AA+ personality, said it would be no problem and he would be very careful. He could not wait. I really don’t have to tell you what happened, but I will.
I heard the exclamation that could only mean one thing. I walked into the dining room and there he was, on his hands and knees, trying to clean up a huge puddle of polyurethane an inch deep in the center of the dining room floor. It was an entire quart. He was using newspaper to scrub like he was removing spaghetti sauce from the carpet. I nearly died. I had to tell him a number of times to quit rubbing the carpet with the newspaper. I think he was in shock and couldn’t hear me screaming like banshee. I had visions of newsprint being embedded in my new carpet of my new dining room of my new house. Silly me. Like newsprint ink was the worst of my fears. I am pretty sure a quart of polyurethane is not on any list anywhere for a helpful hint on removal.
We sopped it up with many rags. We used turpentine to dilute the mess and sopped some more. The house smelled and we were afraid the fumes would ignite. Windows were opened and I’m sure we didn’t smoke for days in the house. We were both smokers at that time and along with everyone else, we smoked in our home. Not that day.
We got the mess cleaned up and went to bed. Nothing could be said. He knew he should not have done it. I could not even say I told you so. We were both sad and disappointed. The next day, the first thing we did was go downstairs to the dining room to look at the carpet. It looked great! No spot, just a slight odor, the carpet still looked brand new! Until we walked on it in our bare feet. The only thing missing was the sound of crunch. That carpet had been hardened to a state of perfection. Each strand of that shag carpet was just as we had left it the night before. Fluffed as if it had be freshly vacuumed. Perfect. No foot prints. However, it was never to move again. You could hurt yourself if you fell on it. It was good for scratching your feet. It was a camouflaged error in judgement. I think we laughed for an hour. Later on, we put the newly finished dining room table right over the crunchy area. There it remained until the day we moved.
I wonder what will happen in the next thirty-nine years. Stay tuned.