The jacket’s always greener

(Published in the New Waterford Community Press, September 3, 2011) 

It’s like I said before – most of the time when ya get into a fight with your wife it’s not really about the thing you’re fightin’ about. And that’s how me and Minnie ended up in a great big row about the colour of a coat she owned twenty years ago.

I had one of them great Saturdays where I had the whole day to myself – Little Bill was out with the girlfriend, Rosie went to spend the day at the library, and Minnie went over to pick up Betty and take her to pick out wallpaper for the baby’s room.

Minnie made spaghetti and meatballs the night before, so there was a big bowl of leftovers in the fridge, and I ate the whole thing sittin’ in front of the TV watchin’ a loop of the sports highlights from the night before. The woman makes a mean spaghetti and meatballs, and when I finished it, I was so stuffed I couldn’t move for hours. So it’s a good thing I found a ninja movie on TV.

I watched the whole thing without ever gettin’ out of the chair, so I was some stiff when I finally got up. I took a stretch and had a yawn and then I decided I’d go out to the baby barn to have a look at this old lawnmower engine me and Cyril found at the dump. I figured I’d take it home and play with it a bit, see if I could make a go-kart or somethin’ out of it.

There’s not much room to move out in the baby barn with all the junk I got, and you can’t really see much even in the daytime because no matter where I stand, I block the light. So I said to hell with it and carried it in and put it on the kitchen table.

Now, Minnie would accuse me of not carin’ at all about makin’ a mess, but the fact is, before I put the engine on the table, I got a newspaper and spread it all out over the table, to make sure I didn’t get any grease or anything on the tablecloth.

I’m workin’ away at it for a while, just playin’ with it, really, and I realize I got myself a pretty healthy appetite worked back up.

So I got the bread out of the cubpoard, the salami and mustard from the fridge, and made myself three or four sandwiches. And of course, the best way to enjoy salami sandwiches is while you’re watchin’ TV, so I went back in the room and flopped out in my chair and found this movie about a gang of bank robbers who don’t realize one of them’s an undercover cop.

I guess what happened was, I finished my sandwiches and fell asleep while I was watchin’ the movie. So when Minnie came back home, what she found was a lawnmower engine sittin’ on the table, protected by today’s paper (which she never read yet), an empty spaghetti and meatball bowl, a bag of bread and half a pack of salami on the counter, greasy fingerprints all over the cupboards, counter and fridge, and me asleep in front of an action movie with sandwich crumbs all over my t-shirt.

Obviously, she was fit to be tied about all of that, but she did that thing where she just gives me the silent treatment. I only knew she was home when she slammed the cupboard door shut and clanged the bowl in the sink. She never said a word to me about any of it. Instead, she stormed through the living room and on the way up the stairs, she told me to hurry up and get ready because we were invited to supper at Cyril and Joan’s.

So we get all ready and we’re not sayin’ a word to each other. We both get in the truck, not a word. The whole driver over to Cyril and Joan’s, she’s not sayin’ nothin’.

We get there and she’s right nice to them, but still not talkin’ to me. Cyril and Joan’s daughter Cathy was just on her way out to a bonfire at her friend’s place, so she was carryin’ one of them fleece jackets with her.

I figured I’d try to play nice, so I said – You know somethin’, Cathy? Years ago your Aunt Minnie had a blue jacket just like that one.

Well holy cripes. You’d think I just accused Minnie of murder.

I most certainly did not! she barked at me. I had a jacket like that, but it was a green one!

At this point I was so fed up with the silent treatment, I blasted right back at her about how the old fleece jacket was blue and anybody with eyes could have told her that.

She blasted me right back about how it was green and I’d have to be an idiot to think it was anything else. Out of nowhere, we found ourselves in the middle of World War III over what colour this jacket from 20 years ago was.

We’ll settle this, Minnie says. Joan must got an album of old pictures, and I bet I’m wearin’ the jacket in some of them because it was the only one I owned for about five years!

Joan got out an album and we all gathered around while she flipped through the pages.

There! Minnie yells, and pounds her finger into one of the pictures. It’s GREEN!

Look at it! I yelled back, it’s BLUE!

I asked Cyril what colour at was, just as Minnie asked Joan. And the two of them looked at each other, then looked down at the picture, then looked up at us and said at the same time – I’d say it’s turquoise.

Minnie looks at me and says – What in the hell are ya gonna do with a go-kart anyway?!

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