Another Life Lesson


The General’s question last night caught me off guard. Actually, I should have anticipated it, but I didn’t see it coming. It was a simple question. She is sly like a fox. “How long did you set the microwave for this morning?” It was a rhetorical question. She really didn’t expect an answer. The question was staged to get my attention. Without waiting for an answer, she threw out a couple of options for me: “Twenty seconds? – Thirty seconds? Maybe even forty?”


I know her like the back of my hand. It really didn’t matter what answer I provided to the question, I was busted. With the finesse of a courtroom attorney, she paused and waited for my response. When it comes to law, the rule of the trade is that you never ask a question in the courtroom without first knowing the answer. I don’t know if the General learned that from the criminal attorney’s with whom she worked or if they learned it from her. Like I said, she is sly like a fox, and at times she prides herself in having the “Wisdom of Solomon”.


She had hit a home run with her question. She didn’t have to even think about how she would respond to whatever answer I provided. She already knew. My goose was cooked and it wasn’t the microwave she was opting to use. She was going to drag this out until I repentantly acknowledged the error of my ways and promised on a stack of Bibles that I would be more attentive next time.


I managed a smile (inappropriate affect). And to think, I say “I’m not passive aggressive”. In my defense, isn’t it true that all things are fair in love and war? I would play her game; after all it didn’t look as though I had a choice. I opted with thirty seconds for my answer.


Perhaps, I watched too many episodes of Perry Mason as a kid. I already knew what her response would be. Either that or one of the side effects of being married forever is that I can order her food and finish her sentences. Oh, yeah, she was going to drag this out for sure. She was steadfast and poised in her rely: “Thirty seconds”, then there was a very long purposeful pause to get her point across.   She repeated “thirty seconds” again and then went on to say: “I can’t believe you couldn’t have stood in front of the microwave for thirty short seconds and then have taken the kolaches with you when you left for work.

This whole scenario is really my fault. When I stopped to purchase fuel yesterday morning, I texted her that I had forgotten to take my kolaches with me. They were still in the microwave.  I thoughtfully texted instead of calling.  It would probably be at least an hour before sleeping beauty was aware of my text.


To provide you the full picture, I need to back up to Sunday night. My seven-year-old grandson walked in to my office and said, “Granddad, I need your help. I’m going to make a kolache for myself and I need you to put a spoon full of jelly inside the hole I’ve carved into the bread”. I couldn’t find the grape jelly, so he agreed to settle for strawberry. In fact, he said: “Strawberry is even better.”


I provided him a spoon full of jelly and he fashion the application of the jelly into the bread to his liking. Truthfully, it did look like a kolache. Affirming that he knew what he was talking about, he said: “All it takes is Hawaiian bread and jelly and presto, you’ve got a kolache. The kid is smart, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Hawaiian bread.


Apparently, the General overheard the conversation. She reminded me that she had purchased kolaches at Hruska’s Store and Bakery. Unlike the kolache that Jake fashioned, these were Pan Sausage Cheese Jalapeno Klobasniky. Actually, that did sound pretty good.


The General instructed me to take two kolaches for breakfast the following morning. Did I mention that I don’t usually eat breakfast? Occasionally, I’ll eat a protein bar or an instant container of oatmeal. For the most part, I settle on “one for the road”. Just to be clear, I’m talking about a Yelp container filled with coffee.


There are any number of reasons I don’t request that the General assist me by starting my day preparing breakfast. Besides that, I’m sure I’d tire of fried eggs over medium, hash browns, toast and bacon over an extended period of time. For one thing, preparing breakfast would take too long. Even more importantly, the General would have me evaluated and assessed for a mental health disorder with the very suggestion that she fix breakfast. Thirdly, regardless of the outcome regarding the mental health assessment, the General is not going down that road. End of story! It would be magical thinking on my part to envision awakening at 5:00 a.m. to the smell of freshly made coffee and the smell of bacon frying on the stove.  That isn’t going to happen at my house.


You know, I’m sixty-nine years old. Unlike my grandson who is seven, I doubt I’ll make many adjustments in how I learn to negotiate life. I don’t need a step-by-step primer in reminding me how to do things. It is kind of like the recent graduate from Texas A&M who got his degree in agriculture and returned to his home community as the newly hired County Extension Agent. He visited the farmers in the area. They were all men he had known all of his life. With nothing but good intentions, he offered helpful advice and highlighted new and better ways of doing things. In the process he came off as patronizing. One of the farmers put his hand on the young man’s shoulders, looked him in the eyes and said: “Young man, when it comes to farming, I’m not doing everything I know to do now, I don’t need an extended list of other things to add to that list”.


At bedtime last night, the General stepped into my office where I was working on this blog. She said: “The kolaches you didn’t eat yesterday are in the refrigerator. Now tell me what you can do to remember to take them out of the microwave in the morning? She wasn’t purposefully being patronizing, but it was on the horizon of overkill. Instead of telling her I’d prefer bacon and eggs, I simply smiled and said: “I’ve figured it out. I can stand in front of the microwave for thirty seconds until they are ready”.


Of course, the obstacle in front of me after I get this blog posted is to shower and get ready for work. Hopefully, I’ll remember the kolaches. Otherwise, I can anticipate another life lesson of sorts. Like the old farmer, “I’m not choosing to do everything I know to do now, I don’t need an extended list of other thins to add to that list”.


All My Best!



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