Oh it was a hot one, typical for late July weather. "Yes siree bob, typical late July, heck it musta been at least 95.

"Why don't you check the temperature, for I forgot my glasses and left them in the kitchen?" The slightly stooped white-haired lady crossed to the shady side of the porch and dropped to the swing, settling a pan of freshly picked green peas in her lap. With her foot, she began a gentle rock.

"Woman you are always leaving your glasses somewhere. Shucks, it is a good thing you don't take your teeth out cause while you were looking, you would starve to death." The tall white-haired and white-bearded man arose from a green lawn chair, and in his bare feet and bib-overalls, he walked to the thermometer on the corner of the porch.

"Well, what is the temperature or can you see it?" the woman asked, her voice teasing. She contined to gently rock the swing and to shell her green peas, for tonight she was cooking fresh green peas and dumplings, and the rest of that old hen she had baked for Sunday's dinner.

"Ninety-four degrees Ma, ninety-four. Durn you are slipping, you missed it by one whole degree." The old man turned and headed back to his chair. "Next time we go to Wally Mart, I am going to get me one of those digital thermometers, one like Cal Stimpson has. They record the hi and low temperature, and shucks, they only cost twelve or fourteen dollars." He sat down. He was still quite agile for being sixty-six years old, cause good hard work had kept him in shape.

"Fourteen dollars for a thermometer? You remember where that one there came from?" The old lady gestured to the corner of porch and smiled as she spoke.

"Won it tossing rings over the block at the carnival back when we were juniors in high school. You wanted a teddy bear and I spent a whole three dollars. But all I got in the end was that RC Cola thermometer." The old man did remember.

"They don't make them like that anymore. Maybe I should take that thermometer to the antique road show and maybe it will be worth enough to buy a new digital one."

"I will take it if I can talk with that lady who told the couple their picture was worth seventy thousand, when it was worth less. But she was a looker."

The old lady glanced up. "I saw Zeke and Zelma go up the road afore I went to the garden. Durnation, those two seem to keep the road hot, going to town all the time. Good thing Zeke has a good pension or he wouldn't be able to afford the gas." The old lady's eyes lowered and she discovered that she had nearly finished the peas.

"Aw Ma, you worry about others too much. Shucks, Zeke and Zelma have got a good income, and it don't take much gas to run them to town. What else they got to do? Zeke is too lazy, excuse me, too tired to do any work." Zeke and Zelma were friends of the old couple, but their life styles were quite different. Zeke and Zelma like to dress up and eat out all the time, and not stay home unless they had to.

"Remember that Saturday night when Zeke was trying to be a big dog at the VFW square dance?" The old man was always testing his wife by remembering things they had done eons ago.

"Oh yes, and one of the fellers didn't act like a Sunday school president either . . . now let me see if I remember right. Zeke had a mason jar of moonshine he had gotten somewhere and he was showing what a big hard drinking man he was."

"Well, I will be durned, she remembers. What did you do old woman, write it on the hem of your apron?"

She smiled and went on. "And Zeke brought a six pack of Virginia Etna Ginger Ale for chasers. He got sick and fell on the dance floor, then he passed out in the bathroom."

"And you had to drive home," the old man chimed in.

"Yes, I did because you got sick from that shine. Zelma and I had to clean the car before we took Zeke home, cause it smelled like upchuck and shine."

"Aw woman, I wasn't loaded, I could hold my likker. But smelling Zeke got to me."

"Uh huh, oh yeah? I wonder if Zelma ever forgave poor old Zeke?" Don't think he has had a drink since then, has he?"

"Yeah, that Christmas you were making your famous milkshake drinks and who overdid it that time?" The old man laughed as the old lady did shy a little.

"Want a glass of ice tea? The caffeine will keep you from sleeping till supper time...hee hee." She stood and gathered her peas, the pods, and started inside. She was still an attractive lady, 67 years old, and some of her hair was still brown. She was really salt-and-pepper, but she didn't want to dye it, no siree. She didn't want to try and look like a twenty year old.

"Old woman, I can get my own glass of tea, and besides I had better carry those pans or you will drop them and we won't have any supper." The old man stood and took the pans, but first he gently patted her bottom.

They went through the hall and into the kitchen, where the old lady started to think about supper. The old man opened the fridge, took out a pitcher of iced tea, and poured himself a big glass. "Know what?" he turned and said, "Know what I forgot to do?"

"Shucks old man, did you forget to put your teeth back in?" The two had been married forty-eight years and those years had been hard years. But the last decade or more had been good years, especially since both had retired and could spend their time tinkering and fiddling around.

"Oh, afore I forget, I bought you something in town this morning. Just what you need, too, to keep track of your glasses." He pulled a small plastic sack out of his pocket and took out one of those thingys that you put on your glasses so they just hang around your neck when you don't need them to see.

"Pa, you spent the whole month's check on me? You shouldn't have, and purple. You know I hate purple." She took the thingy and looked at it.

"Well try it, try it and see if it does what I was so extravagant to purchase." He hugged the woman and she reciprocated.

"Aw OK," she said as she retrieved her glasses from the sink and put the thingy on them. The old man smiled, then turned and headed for the back door, that is after he took a long hard drink of his iced-tea and set the glass back in the fridge.

  Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)


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Mask Of Islam

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