My darlin’ wife Minnie is blind as a bat.
Of course, she denies it up and down, but I’ll tell ya how bad it got – she couldn’t tell the salt from the pepper. I’m serious, now. I think I told yis before, she got this cow theme goin’ in the kitchen. Placemats, oven mitts, the little towel on the handle of the stove door – all black and white like a cow. The salt shaker is white with black patches, and the pepper shaker is black with white patches. Plus, the tail of the salt cow is shaped like and S and the tail of the pepper cow is shaped like a P.
But the last while back, I notice when we’re eatin’ supper, Minnie picks one up, puts it up to her nose and takes a big whiff of it before she uses it. The first few times I thought nothin’ of it, really. But after a while I had to say somethin’.
Minnie, my dear, I said, (because I sensed she might get her back up). I just find myself wonderin’ why it is ya just picked up the salt shaker and shoved it up yer nose like that.
Holy cripes, you’d think I threw the toaster at her or somethin, the way she went on.
Oh, get a grip! she yelled. I wasn’t shovein’ the friggin’ salt shaker up my nose. I just sniffed it … to make sure the … uh, salt never went bad.
Salt can go bad? I said. Oh yeah?
That’s all we’d need now, everybody eatin’ rotten salt, she said. Imagine.
I figured it was her eyes goin’ bad, because I noticed every mornin’ she held the paper further and further away, and one day I seen her standin’ up with the paper laid out on the table readin’ it.
Ya know, I said, if ya want, I could nail the paper to the wall by the stove so ya can stand in the livin’ room to read it.
And she musta known she was caught, because rather than try to rip my head off and hand it back to me with directions on where I could put it, she just grumbled about the price of wax beans this week and shuffled off to the counter.
Lookin’ back at it now, I prolly shoulda kept at it until she decided to go for an eye test, but if she didn’t wanna bite, I know better than to try to push her.
But then one day last week, she went out to a couple a stores and came back home cryin’
What happened! I said, jumpin’ up from chair so fast I spilled my tea.
Uggggh, she said, wipin’ her face. I stopped at the grocery store to get molasses because I was gonna make molasses cookies, and when I go to pull out of the spot, I scraped the hell out of the side of the truck next to me!
Ohh, I said, well are ya all right?
Yeah, I’m OK. It was just stupid.
And what did buddy say?
Buddy who owned the truck?
That’s when she started cryin’ harder.
I don’t know! she said. I pulled away and just kept goin’!
Holy cripes, did that ever surprise me. Minnie’s the most honest person I know. I remember years ago when the kids were small and we barely had two cents, she stopped at the corner store to buy a bag of milk. The girl behind the counter gave her back a quarter too much, and when Minnie realized it out in the car, she went back in to return it. It was one of them times every fella with a real good wife has once in a while – when ya say to yourself, how did she ever end up with the likes of me?
Anyways, Minnie slumped into the chair in the kitchen and said, like it was a big secret – Ya know what? I think I need glasses.
Now of course, I bit my tongue. Because all I could think of sayin’ was – oh ya don’t say! All ya need is a white cane and piano and you’d be Stevie Friggin’ Wonder. But I never said any of that. I just gave her a hug and a little kiss on the top of the head.
Now eye tests and new glasses ain’t free, so we had to kind of scrape together what we could – we even borrowed some money from Cyril and Joan ‘til next month. So Minnie goes for her test and a couple of days later she went to the glasses place.
Bifocals, she said, when she had her new glasses on.
Looks nice, I said.
G’way, she said.
Sophisticated, like, I said.
The doctor said I’m nearsighted and farsighted, which is why I couldn’t see a damn thing, she said.
Hey, d’ya think they got any of them glasses that help ya see through walls and women’s clothes? I said, and she laughed and punched me.
We stopped in at Cyril and Joan’s on the way home to show them the new glasses and say thanks again for lendin’ us the money.
Ohhh, do they ever look sweet! Joan said.
Cyril was down the store gettin’ smokes, but he came in right behind us.
Looks good on ya! he said. Ya look just like Ma when she was younger. Don’tchya think? Whuh?
Of course, Minnie and Joan started talkin’ across the table in one direction, and me and Cyril started talkin’ in the other direction.
How’s yer truck runnin? I said.
Well, he said, it’d be doin’ a lot better if somebody didn’t scrape the whole side of it at the grocery store last week. I hope I catch whoever done it! So help me cripes!
Me and Minnie looked at each other. And she said – Oh my god! Who would do somethin’ like that?