Step and Fetch – Story Of My Life


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Okay, so we needed to make a quick run to H.E.B. in Dripping Springs last night. At the time Drippin’ was dripping. It wasn’t a heavy rainfall, but you wouldn’t want to be in the elements long. As we pulled into the parking lot, I suggested that I let the General out at the door and I’d take the car and fill it up with gas. I would then return to the Grocery store, park the car and come inside and find her. She looked at me as though I was delusional.   With the poise and grace of someone who knew they were totally in charge, she said: “You’ll have to keep my purse with you then, because you’ll need the key to restart the car.” Actually, I don’t know why the engine-activating device is referred to as a key, because it really isn’t a key. There is no key to the ignition. It is a push button device. However, without it you’ll get a message that reads: “Key not detected”.


Before I could say, “You’re right or make any other response”, she quickly peppered me with a question. However, from my perspective it really wasn’t a question although it was phrased as a question. She asked: “We’re not in that big of a hurry are we?” Okay guys, would you call that a question? I processed it as a subtle way to tell me to “hold my horses”.


She really was wasting her breath. From my perspective, her side had already won the potential tug-of-war. I was not going to carry her purse into H.E.B. I don’t care if it is a brown Stash that matches my shoes. Only secure men carry purses and I guess I just wasn’t feeling my Cheerios. Otherwise, I might have carried the purse.


I guess another way to express that is “feeling my oats”. Isn’t it true that when horses are fed oats, they tend to behave more energetically afterward? So if a horse is said to be “feeling his oats” it refers to energetic prancing around the field, or more assertive or excited behavior based on their diet. Truth be told, I was dragging. The General and I both taken a nap on Saturday afternoon and sleeping during the daytime never serves me well. I won’t say that I woke up grumpy.


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m going to say: “The General woke up grumpy.” If I had eaten my oats, I might think I could get by with that, but for now, I’m going to pass. After we got back from the grocery store, she was microwaving bacon to go in something and called my name. Actually, she called “Don” waited 1.5 seconds and called “Don” a second time.


Arriving in the kitchen to await instruction, she asked me to bring an electric fan to the kitchen.   She obviously was hot. I pushed back saying it was cold outside and that it was cold in the house. I didn’t specifically tell her she didn’t need the fan, but I implied it. She responded that if I was: “doing something” (aka: cooking), I might be hot too. She had a good point. I don’t work up much of a sweat sitting at my computer. I decided to dutifully follow her instructions. Otherwise, I might not like her response or the next assignment.


At any rate, getting back to the grocery store, I followed the General as she pushed the grocery basket to counter at the deli where you order meat for sandwiches. She was planning to make Hawaiian Roll Sliders. She requested a pound and a half of mesquite roasted honey-baked ham. She specifically asked that it be cut in the thinnest possible manner. The young guy behind the counter said: “Yes ma’am”. Turning to me she asked: “Do you mind waiting for the ham while I continue shopping?” I’m sure I said, “I’d be delighted”. Just for the record, that too, wasn’t a question.


A moment or two later, the guy with the ham looked at me and said: “That was 1 ½ pounds of ham?” I responded: “That is correct. It needs to be cut in the thinnest possible slices, at least that’s what I heard her say before receiving instructions to wait for the ham.” I added: “My job is to simply wait for the finished product, but you’d have no idea what I’m talking about.”


Another guy behind the counter, looked up, smiled and said: “I know exactly what you’re talking about. I got into trouble the other day from the way I was mopping the floor.” He went on to say, “You’d think she’d have been appreciative that I was mopping, but that wasn’t good enough. I had to do it her way.” He then said to himself, more than to me: “Whose to say, ‘hers is the correct way to mop?’” I answered his question for him: “It sounds like she represents the final word.”


I smiled and said: “Welcome to my world”. I went on to add: “They say misery loves company.” The guy slicing the ham said: “I’ve got one better than that. I got into trouble the other day for the way I was folding the towels”. I laughed. I didn’t verbalize it out loud, but “Been there, done that” came to mind. These two guys knew exactly what I was talking about. They, too, have learned that the secret to success. You can sum it up in two words: “Yes Ma’am”.


Actually, the guy slicing the ham said: “My automatic response is: “I’m sorry. I apologize.” He said, “Those four words help me avoid a lot of hassle.” If you ask me, I’d say: “He is a smart man.” I wasn’t that smart at his age. Actually, I’m not sure I’m that smart now.


I thanked him as he handed me the plastic package of thinly sliced ham. I knew immediately when I saw it that it wasn’t really what the General wanted. She actually wanted thinly sliced shaved ham. The way I saw it, she got precisely what she ordered. My job was simply “step and fetch”.


She obviously appreciated having the fan in the kitchen. Even though I’d given her a reason or two to be grumpy she wasn’t. She graciously offered me a slice of the bacon that she had prepared and I gladly accepted. She also had some left over sliced ham and offered that to me as well. It was scrumptious. In addition, she asked if I’d like a slice of pumpkin pie.


I worked up the nerve to ask: “Was the ham sliced the way you wanted it?” She responded: “Not really. I wanted it sliced thinly enough to be ham shavings, but you can’t get them to do it that way any more.” I smiled to myself with the thought: “I bet you can. All you have to do is gently redirect and you’ll hear: “I’m sorry. I apologize.”


All My Best!



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