When we arrived in camera after the festivities, she said, "My goodness, but doesn't Rodney look just like Schultz!"
These things sometimes get more complicated than at other times, so I went ahead cautiously.
I said, "Schultz who?"
She said, "Schultz. You know, Schultz."
I said, "It's altogether possible, but at the moment you have the advantage of me. Who is Schultz?"
"The pitcher. Schultz. He pitches for the Braves."
I said, "Schultz. Do you mean the Atlanta team of the same name?"
She said, "Of course. Schultz. He looks just like Rodney!"
I said, "Is it possible you are thinking of Smoltz?"
She said, "Yes, Smoltz. Don't you think he looks just like Rodney?"
I said, "Rodney Schultz?"
She said, "No, of course not. Rodney Parker."
I said, "Who is Rodney Parker?"
When we were newly married and stood shoulder to shoulder to fend off the perils of domesticity, I came in from the fertile field at the sound of the dinner horn, and I said, "I'm going to take off some honey this afternoon." We had some colonies of bees and I had been keeping track of progress, and it was time to take off the apple-blossom honey before the white clover burst. I think the apple-blossom honey flow is the finest kind and look forward all winter to the supremacy of a comb on a pan of hot biscuits.
What I was really saying to her was could she whup-up some buttermilk biscuits. It was not my intention, basically, to foment meditative perambulations around the township, such as how Rodney looks like Schultz. A bride may not wonder about such things, but I think a bridegroom will wonder fairly early in his happy career how two hearts can beat merrily as one, but vocal chords can talk in two directions at once. So while I was talking buttermilk biscuits and honey, she said, "Have you a new 100-watt bulb?"
"Yes," I said.
I used to make the mistake of pondering how such things come about, instead of asking straight out what biscuits and honey have to do with electric light bulbs. Then I accepted that there was no proper way to meet this on a rational basis, and I'd save time by just asking.
"What," I said, "does a light bulb have to do with a comb of new honey hot off the hive?"
She said, "What?"
The whole thing was so simply logical that I felt like a fool the moment I found out. Nellie Ringrose, across the road and down one house, forgot to get soap and had walked up to "borry" enough to do a wash, and when my bride stepped into the back shed to fill Nellie's tin cup with Rinsol the light bulb blew out. And now, like emotion recollected in tranquility, my bee smoker is kept on the top shelf of the back shed and it might be difficult for me to locate it in the dark.
I kept the bee smoker there in a galvanized pail, even though I had a special bee room in the barn, and that makes sense all the way. After using the smoker with my bees, I always dumped the remains of my smudge on the bare ground of the dooryard, and then put the hot smoker in the pail until it cooled completely and I knew it wouldn't set anything afire. By that time I was out of my bee coveralls. Rather than carry the pail and smoker out to the bee room, I just hefted it up to the shelf in the back shed and I knew where it would be when next needed.
A thing like that is perfectly clear and should occasion no perplexity as to why my bee smoker was in the back shed. It becomes obtuse only when a light bulb is brought in by somebody named Schultz who pitches for Atlanta.
The loving husband stands ready for these things, and will usually find all will go better if he just says, "Yes, dear, yes dear, I believe so."
ONE time long ago I came into the house about two seconds before a thunder shower let go, and out of context and sequence she said, "Did you want to give to the square-dance fund?" Thinking I had just escaped drowning on my own doorstep, and being an old hand with such things, I just said, "Yes dear, yes dear, I fancy so." So she said, "I thought so; I gave the man $50."
I said, "What man?"
She said, "I don't know his name; the one you said was a crook. The man who came last year soliciting for the duck races." It was Chauncey McWhitney, who is a crook. Every year he thinks up a new swindle, and collects money so he can go to the state horseshoe-pitching finals. That includes the entry fee. Things get out of hand.
She said, "I've lost my little red thing."
I used to say, "Did you look behind the clock?" or something like that, and kept on with my crossword. When she got up and looked, there was her little red thing right behind the clock, and she said, "How did you know where it was?"
I said, "I didn't. It was a hunch, because that's where the blue one was."
She said, "Oh."
Well, the next day I'd forgotten all about it. I was soldering a tin cookie cutter in the shape of a banjo when she came out to the shop to ask, "Blue what?"
I really didn't have a quick answer to that one, but next time I'll be ready and waiting.
"Schultz," I'll say. "I wonder what became of him?"