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The Tables Are Turned


Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my husband is the only poor soul who gets sent on a mission of futility…I mean an errand for his wife. It always starts so simply.

“Honey, while you’re out and about, will you go by the Dollar General?”

“Uh, maybe…I mean, I could. What do you need?”

“Oh, the last time I was in there, I saw the cutest tea towels! They were lemon and sage, with tulips on them. Could you pick me up a couple? No, make it four…I think Gracie might like a couple too.”

Gracie is our daughter-in-law (as of May 21, so almost), and I’m always looking for ways to score points.

“Um, sure, okay. I’ll do my best.”

Aww, who are we kidding? John knows and I know that he’ll never find those towels. He probably can guess what color lemon is, but will stumble at sage. And what do tulips look like, anyway? He will return home, with a story that sweet Miss Glory down the road got the very last ones. Sure, blame it on Miss Glory—he knows I could fight her for those towels, and might even win. But out of good Christian kindness, I won’t.

John had learned throughout the years. At first he’d come home with towels that were buttercup and lemongrass. Nope, not even close. Or he’d throw a Hail Mary and bring home five sets of tea towels. Of course, after begging the poor lady purchasing dish soap to explain the differences of tea towels vs. hand towels vs. dish towels. In a fit of irritation, I’d return the five sets and make the purchase myself. Our marriage has consisted of many missions of futility. But then one day the tables were turned.

“Honey, could you do me a favor? Could you go to Ivey’s and pick up some 1 and 3/4 inch wood screws? Oh, and if they have the 1,000 count, that would be great. Thanks hon!”

“Uh, okay. Ivey’s, right? On Polk Street? Could you text that to me?”

“Yes, Polk Street. I’m texting it to you now. Baby, I really appreciate this! You’re the best!”

How hard could this be? Ivey’s has lots of people walking the floors, helping customers just like me. This would be easey peasey—in and out, and I’d score major points with the husband. My heart warmed as I pulled into the parking lot.

Finding someone to help me was easy enough—no less than three people asked me if I needed some assistance. Was it because of my winning smile and pleasing disposition? Or was it my look of panic, as I stepped in and spotted the rows and rows of hardware implements? I’ll never know.

“Uh, is Lance working today?” In the past, Lance Ray had been my go-to guy. We know each other personally, and Lance always helps me find masking tape and birdseed. Lance has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

“No ma’am—Lance is off today. Can I help you with something?”

Panic set in, flooding my body with the shakes. If Lance wasn’t there to save my skin, could this virtual stranger take his place? I had no choice.

Carefully, I read my text. “Uh, I need 1 and 3/4 inch wood screws.” Proudly I looked at my guide through all things nails.

“Recessed?”

“Did you say recess?” My heart raced—did screws take a recess? I thought only elementary school kids did that.

“No ma’am-recessed. It means the screw drills down a little past the wood. What kind of project are you planning?” Mmm, no idea. Should I say that? I only thought I was in panic mode, as my heart ramped up for the added stress.

“Uh, yes. Recessed is fine.”

“Well, we have these collated wood screws. They have a yellow zinc finish, and come in 1,000 count. They’re made by Senco Duraspin, which is a highly reputable company. I used these on my deck last year, and they worked great.”

Ding, ding, ding! Those were the magic words! “Yes! Thank you! I will take them!”

Rest assured, I never asked my husband to run an errand for me again.