Whenever my wife is on the phone, I can usually tell who she is talking to.
If she is warm and relaxed, she is chatting with family. When she is formal, it involves business – but whenever she is utterly brutal, she is savaging a telemarketer.
But this time, it was a bit of a mystery.
She sounded warm though formal, yet she was surprisingly abrupt. At the end of the call, she placed her cell phone on the table and stared across the kitchen at me.
“What did I do now?” I asked.
“Try again,” she answered.
I sighed. “What am I supposed to do now?”
“Good guess…” she said, opening the pantry door.
“You are going to bake brownies for the Saint Isadore’s bake sale,” she said as she rummaged through the lower shelves.
“Because you are retired and I am not.” she said.
“So being retired means you have to do all the things you never had time to do while you were working.”
“Like bake brownies?”
“I suppose I could whip up a batch.”
“Try again,” she repeated.
Again I sighed. “How many?”
The answer landed on the counter. Plop, Plop, plop.
“Three,” she said.
“And…” she instructed, “after you cut each batch into squares. You will count out four squares and place them on individual paper plates. Each plate will then go into a baggie and each bag will be labeled with a price and the date.”
“Sounds like a lot of work,” I observed, “how about just giving them a donation?”
“You can do that – but you still have to bake the brownies.”
I appreciate the idea of giving. I respect the importance of keeping traditions alive – but I also understand what it means to bite down on a brownie made by a resentful old man.
But I delivered.
Three batches of brownies found their way to the Saint Isadore’s bake sale and for a while my wife was impressed.
A few days later when balancing the checkbook, she paused to ask, “What is this $10 check to Oak Grove Lutheran? I don’t remember doing anything involving them.”
“Uh,” I told her, “it’s where I bought the brownies for our bake sale.”
“You are kidding me,” she said.
“No, I am not,” I told her, “and don’t complain – they all sold. Some guy from First Methodist bought the whole lot. I think they are having a bake sale this weekend.”