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ED AND EDNA
Ed pays the bills. Edna cooks. They’ve never discussed it, but it’s been that way for 43 years.
Except that one time.
Edna wanted to hide the huge bill from Watkin’s Department Store. She intercepted the mail, plucked the bill, and went online to pay it. Edna managed to transmit $2,414.00 electronically to cover the $241.40 bill.
Ed decided to broil himself a chicken. He set the oven to 500 degrees, plopped it in, closed the oven door, and left. The smoke alarm woke him up.
They quickly returned to their rut — or groove.
Ed pays the bills. Edna cooks.
Edna waited until Ed left. She then headed straight for the thermostat, raising it from Ed’s setting of 68 to 73. I’m not going to freeze in my own house.
Ed returned later, looked to see if Edna was around, and set the thermostat back to 68.
When Ed went downstairs, Edna made her move — back to 73.
Ed made his countermove an hour later: 68.
While waiting for Ed to leave again, Edna spotted the power bill on the kitchen counter. She was blown away to see the $328 bill.
Ed finally left.
Edna set the thermostat to 65.
Edna gets up, puts on her bathrobe, and heads to the kitchen. Not again, she thinks.
“Hey sleepyhead,” Ed says cheerfully. “You almost slept through lunch.”
“Ed, it’s 7 AM.”
“That’s what I’m sayin’. You almost slept through lunch.”
Ed the insomniac rises daily at 2 AM, fixes himself breakfast, and hangs out in the garage with his various woodworking projects. He’s usually snoring away when the “late” news starts at 6 PM.
“You’re killing me, Ed.”
“That’s why we’re gonna have a nice romantic candlelight dinner.”
“Yup! Got us dinner reservations at Soby’s for 1 PM today.”
Ed bought his Fender acoustic guitar online for $99. He inserted the DVD tutorial and began practicing basic chords.
Soon the fingertips of his left hand were blistered and puffy. He persevered, knowing this was part of the process.
With his fingers finally calloused, Ed practiced diligently for months. “Listen to this,” he said proudly to Edna one day.
Edna wanted to support her husband but could barely stand the awful sound. “Recognize the song?” Ed asked hopefully.
The look on Edna’s face was the only answer Ed needed.
The Fender was a big hit in their next garage sale.
THE GOLF LESSON
“C’mon. It’ll be fun.”
Ed wasn’t so sure. “But Edna, you’ve never played golf. It’s hard.”
Ed should know. He’s hacked around for 40 years.
Two weeks and three golf lessons later, Edna stood with Ed on the first tee at the local golf course.
Ed will never forget what he saw that day.
Edna was a natural. Her swing was pure and sweet, seemingly made with little effort. Ed took notice of her calm demeanor and sheer joy at being out there.
Ed has learned a lot of things from Edna over the years.
Add golf to the list.
Ed took several deep breaths, as he has been coached to do. He’s never felt comfortable in a speaking role.
Edna looked on in amazement. Her husband was being ridiculous, she thought.
Ed read the instructions carefully before proceeding. He wanted to make sure his first attempt wouldn’t be permanent. Finally, he cleared his throat several times and carefully enunciated what he had mentally rehearsed.
After nine takes, Ed felt comfortable with the result. Edna couldn’t believe this was happening.
Ed played it back one last time.
Hello, Ed and Edna aren’t available. Please leave a message after the beep.
THE FISHING BOAT
Ed whooped; Edna screamed. They both knew what the $10,000 lottery winnings meant.
Ed had lusted after a 16-foot bass boat, modest by most standards but a yacht to him. “When you win the lottery, my dear,” Edna repeated annually at the boat show.
With winnings in hand, Ed checked his trailer hitch and headed to Bass Boat World.
Hours later, Edna noticed Ed’s truck was back with nothing in tow.
Something on the table caught her eye. She opened the card.
One rare gem deserves another
A small box contained the diamond ring Ed couldn’t afford 43 years ago.
“Yes ma’am, that’s one fine fridge,” the appliance salesman said. “Top of the line. Absolutely.”
Ed could tell Edna really wanted it, but was worried about the cost. Ed waited for the signal from his spouse.
The salesman pressed on. “You’ll never need another refrigerator. This baby is built to last.”
Edna finally gave the nod, and Ed told the salesman to ring it up.
“Of course, you’ll need the extended warranty,” the salesman said, stroking the transaction keyboard without looking up. “These things are quite temperamental.”
Ed looked at Edna, catching her nod again.
Ed smiled. “Cancel the sale.”
“Edna, it’s a stupid rock. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Edna leafed through the photo album to show her husband Ed a picture of her wearing the turquoise ring last year. “It’s definitely faded in color,” she said.
“Don’t you see?” Edna pleaded. “Fading turquoise. It means I’m dying.”
“Get outta here. You’re not dying—going crazy maybe, but not dying.”
Ed’s crude attempt at humor didn’t sit well.
Edna calmed herself. “Maybe you’re right. My doctor’s checkup last week was fine, and I’ve never felt better. It’s probably not me.”
“Huh?” Ed mumbled, suddenly looking a little worried.
“But you said you didn’t know anything about Twitter.”
“I don’t,” Edna replied to her husband Ed. “It’s just common courtesy.”
“You mean I have to send a thank-you tweet every time someone retweets me?”
“What’s a retweet?”
“See, you really don’t know anything about it,” Ed fired back.
“Well,” Edna said calmly. “I do know about manners.”
“Do you realize how this will bog me down?”
“Let’s see,” Edna replied as she examined Ed’s laptop screen. “In two years you’ve sent nine tweets and managed to get three followers—whatever that means. I think you can handle it.”
“Isn’t this a sign of a bigger problem?”
Edna laughed while shielding her humongous closet. “Don’t be silly, Ed. Everyone needs shoes.”
“True. One per foot.”
“And what pray tell might be the bigger problem?” Edna asked, still laughing.
“World domination,” Ed deadpanned. “Empire building,” he teased. “They’re lined up like loyal subjects awaiting the queen.”
Ed knew what was coming when his wife crossed the hall to his closet. There were only two pairs of shoes, but an army of objects aligned the spartan space.
“Hmm,” Edna thought out loud. “Why would a guy need dozens of baseball caps?”
"Well, that's rich!"
Edna looked up from her book. "What dear?"
"Acme Internet Sales is testing delivery by drones," Ed replied with his nose in the paper. "They're calling it a pilot program. Get it?"
A few minutes later their neighbor knocked frantically at the door. "Ed," the neighbor screamed, "Grab your ladder and come with me—quick!"
"Acme texted me saying they just delivered my new smartphone. It's up in the large elm in your backyard by the property line."
Ed frowned with disgust. "Damn fly-by-night company."
Edna smiled again. "Good one, Ed!"
“I got this,” Ed said confidently.
Edna was apprehensive. “But, Ed, it’s our front yard. Let’s get a lawn professional.”
“That’s just throwing money away,” Ed replied. “Fertilize. Water. Cut. That’s all you have to do. It’s not rocket science. Trust me.”
Edna eventually relented, and Ed took on the project with his usual gusto—and impatience.
He gave it a triple dose of fertilizer, watered twice per day, and kept it cut super low to prevent any weed growth.
The blazing summer sun did the rest.
Finally, Edna had seen enough. “Ed, isn’t a lawn supposed to be green?”
Ed shook his head. “No way I’m going back.”
“But why?” Edna asked.
“He looks fourteen years old,” Ed replied. “I’ve got socks older than that.”
“Well, he went to a top medical school and he’s board certified.”
“I don’t care. He probably took his medical classes online.”
Edna shooed their granddaughter Ellen out of the room, shielding the innocent nine-year-old from all the silliness. Ellen was all ears.
“Besides,” Ed continued. “My doctor has to be older than me. That’s always been my rule. No exceptions.”
Ellen stood at the doorway, still listening. “But Grandpa, that’s impossible.”
THE COMEBACK KID
“Sit,” Ed said to his distraught granddaughter.
Ellen approached the sofa, wiping away tears. Not making the tennis cut was by far the biggest disappointment of her nine years.
Ed placed the ragged scrapbook on her lap, and began his story.
“I was fourteen when it happened to me,” he said. Ed described being cut from his junior varsity basketball team. He almost quit playing, but chose instead to practice harder and try again the following year.
“Persistence paid off,“ he said.
Ellen perked up as she carefully leafed through the browned, fragile scrapbook pages. “Wow, Grandpa, did it ever!”
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