Sunday, May 19, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You

   Ron moved to Covenant Woods at the end of April and has been joining us for dinner most evenings. He is a tall man who played basketball at Georgia Southern many years ago. He says he’s lost a lot of weight in the last year or two. A number of his shirts would fit a much larger man.
   Ron loves to talk and does so at great length, preferring a monologue to a dialogue. As is the case with many folks his age, he has little difficulty remembering what happened forty or fifty years ago. But yesterday’s events often get scrambled.
   He took us on this ramble the other night:
   “Did I ever tell you about the time my son thought we had run out of money? One night, when he was eight or nine, me and him were sitting in the kitchen. I could tell something was bothering him. Finally, he asks, ‘Dad, why doesn’t Mom have any grocery money?’
   “I told him I didn’t know. A little later, after Ed went to bed, I asked Betty if she needed more money for groceries.
   “She said, ‘I’ve got plenty of grocery money. Believe me, if I didn’t have grocery money, you’d be the first to know.’
   “I told her what Ed said. Betty thought for a minute, then she says, ‘I went shopping today and bought the biggest jar of peanut butter and the biggest bottle of ketchup I could find. And I told Ed, he better make them last, because we weren’t getting anymore until you get paid at the end of month.’
   “You see, Ed loved peanut butter and he loved ketchup. When he was young, he put ketchup on everything. He had ketchup at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And he’d eat the peanut butter right out of the jar with a spoon. Sometimes he’d eat the whole jar at one sitting. He would eat peanut butter with anything. He put it on rice, and he put it on grits. I don’t like peanut butter on grits. But I do like peanut butter on rice. Of course, I like rice so much, it doesn’t matter what you put on it, I still like it.
   “All Betty was trying to do was to get Ed to go easy on the peanut butter and ketchup. It took a month or two, but Ed finally caught on.”
   His tale complete, Ron looked around the table. No one said anything, so he went on to the next story, a short one.
   “Two days ago, I was talking to a woman who lives down the hall from me. I don’t know her name. After we talked a few minutes, I asked her what a part of Minnesota she was from.
   “She says, ‘How did you know I’m from Minnesota?’
   “I told her, I used to go up to Minnesota once in a while, and everybody up there talks just like she does. She said she grew up in a little town near Duluth.”
   The next day, Ron again took the floor at dinner.
   "Did I ever tell you about the lady who lives down the hall from me? We where talking the other day, and after we'd talked for a few minutes, I asked her where she was from in Wisconsin. 
    "'How do you know I'm from Wisconsin?' she asked.
    "I told her I'd been in Wisconsin a few times, and everybody there talks like she does. She said she grew up in Racine." 

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