Hair

            When I was a little girl, Dad often took me to the barber shop. I sat in a nearby chair and watched with my limited vision, as the barber draped a sheet over Dad and clipped his hair with an electric razor that buzzed and often made snapping noises. It had to hurt, but Dad didn’t complain. I was grateful I didn’t have to endure this since I wasn’t a man.
            At the age of four, my luck changed. Mother decided it was time for me to go to the beauty shop. “We’re going to give you a pixie,” said the nice lady, as she sat me in the chair and draped a sheet over me, tying it behind my head. I inhaled the acrid scent of hair enhancing chemicals, and a knot of dread formed in my stomach, as she turned the chair to face the mirror. When she sprayed my hair with water, the quacking sound the bottle made and the cold water that assailed my scalp was my undoing. My stomach heaved, and in minutes, I was covered with vomit. I sat mortified, as Mother cleaned me up, and the beautician put a clean drape over me. The rest of the experience was uneventful.
            When I was in the first grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson, I was the only girl in a class of boys. One of them, whom I’ll call Isaac, sat behind me and delighted in pulling my hair. “Quit it,” I said, batting his hand away, but to no avail. My teacher, Mrs. Hamilton, either didn’t know or didn’t care.
            “He’s doing it because he likes you,” said Dad.
            “Just ignore him, and he’ll stop,” said Mother. But I couldn’t ignore the pain that ripped my scalp, as the little  monster’s fingers grasped wisps of my hair and tugged.
            One day, Mrs. Moore, one of the nurses at the infirmary, came to our classroom. “Abbie, you need to go with Mrs. Moore to the infirmary,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “Your hair is falling out.”
            It was then that I noticed the tendrils of hair that were cascading from my head and landing on my shirt. Fascinated, I rose and took the nurse’s hand, as we walked out of the classroom.
            “Mrs. Johnson, you’re not washing your daughter’s hair. It’s falling out,” Mrs. Moore told Mother on the phone. “You’ll have to come and take her to a doctor.”
            Aggrieved, Mother collected me and took me to a dermatologist the nurse recommended. Again, my stomach tightened, as my nostrils were assailed by the odor of alcohol and disinfectant, but I managed to keep my lunch down. After the doctor examined my head, he asked, “By any chance, is someone pulling your hair?”
            “Yes,” I said, hopeful that someone would finally do something about it. “Isaac pulls my hair all the time. He sits right behind me in school.”
            “That’s why her hair is falling out,” the doctor told  Mother.
            Later, Mother and I marched into the classroom. “I wasted a lot of time and money on a dermatologist to find out that the reason Abbie’s hair is falling out is because Isaac is pulling it,” said Mother. She pointed an accusing finger at the boy, who sat unmoving in his seat directly behind my desk.
            “Isaac, don’t pull Abbie’s hair,” said Mrs. Hamilton, and that was that.
            After the fiasco at the beauty shop, Mother cut my hair at home, but she was never satisfied with her work. I didn’t care. I was relieved when she was done, although after the incident with Isaac, I preferred Mother’s scissors to his sharp tugs. 
As I grew older, Mother let my hair grow longer and braided it into two pigtails at the back of my neck. In the summer heat of Arizona, I imagined myself cutting off the pigtails, but I knew better since an attempt at cutting my own hair brought similar results to that of Isaac’s hand barbering and a sharp rebuke from Mother. Occasionally, boys tugged at the braids, but not nearly as hard as Isaac did.
            When I was about twelve or thirteen, Mother and I finally worked up the courage to make another trip to the beauty shop. We’d moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, by this time, and we went to a place Grandma recommended. I remembered the scent of the chemicals from the previous experience, but this time, I knew what to expect. I just hoped I wouldn’t lose my lunch. To my embarrassment, Mother said to Barbara, the beautician, “My daughter’s visually handicapped so you’ll have to tell her what you’re going to do before you do it.”
But Barbara was nice. She sat me in the chair, covered me with a drape, and turned the chair to face the mirror. “I’m going to spray your hair with water now.”
This time, the sound of the spray bottle and cool water against my head didn’t bother me. While cutting my hair, she was gentle and careful. When she accidentally brushed a mole on the left side of my scalp, she said, “Ooh, does that hurt?”
“No,” I answered truthfully. 
The haircut was a pleasant experience, and I realized that going to a beauty shop wasn’t so bad after all. From that point on, I never let my hair grow long enough for pigtails. Mother was relieved not to have to braid it every morning.
Pigtails, permanents, and other hairstyles are great for people who can see well enough to make them look good. I prefer short, straight hair that I can manage easily. As I’ve heard said in shampoo commercials, “I want to wash my hair and go.”
           
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome  http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com  abbie@samobile.net
the barber shop. I sat in a nearby chair and watched with my limited vision, as the barber draped a sheet over Dad and clipped his hair with an electric razor that buzzed and often made snapping noises. It had to hurt, but Dad didn’t complain. I was grateful I didn’t have to endure this since I wasn’t a man.
            At the age of four, my luck changed. Mother decided it was time for me to go to the beauty shop. “We’re going to give you a pixie,” said the nice lady, as she sat me in the chair and draped a sheet over me, tying it behind my head. I inhaled the acrid scent of hair enhancing chemicals, and a knot of dread formed in my stomach, as she turned the chair to face the mirror. When she sprayed my hair with water, the quacking sound the bottle made and the cold water that assailed my scalp was my undoing. My stomach heaved, and in minutes, I was covered with vomit. I sat mortified, as Mother cleaned me up, and the beautician put a clean drape over me. The rest of the experience was uneventful.
            When I was in the first grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson, I was the only girl in a class of boys. One of them, whom I’ll call Isaac, sat behind me and  delighted in pulling my hair. “Quit it,” I said, batting his hand away, but to no avail. My teacher, Mrs. Hamilton, either didn’t know or didn’t care.
            “He’s doing it because he likes you,” said Dad.
            “Just ignore him, and he’ll stop,” said Mother. But I couldn’t ignore the pain that ripped my scalp, as the little  monster’s fingers grasped wisps of my hair and tugged.
            One day, Mrs. Moore, one of the nurses at the infirmary, came to our classroom. “Abbie, you need to go with Mrs. Moore to the infirmary,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “Your hair is falling out.”
            It was then that I noticed the tendrils of hair that were cascading from my head and landing on my shirt. Fascinated, I rose and took the nurse’s hand, as we walked out of the classroom.
            “Mrs. Johnson, you’re not washing your daughter’s hair. It’s falling out,” Mrs. Moore told Mother on the phone. “You’ll have to come and take her to a doctor.”
            Aggrieved, Mother collected me and took me to a dermatologist the nurse recommended. Again, my stomach tightened, as my nostrils were assailed by the odor of alcohol and disinfectant, but I managed to keep my lunch down. After the doctor examined my head, he asked, “By any chance, is someone pulling your hair?”
            “Yes,” I said, hopeful that someone would finally do something about it. “Isaac pulls my hair all the time. He sits right behind me in school.”
            “That’s why her hair is falling out,” the doctor told  Mother.
            Later, Mother and I marched into the classroom. “I wasted a lot of time and money on a dermatologist to find out that the reason Abbie’s hair is falling out is because Isaac is pulling it,” said Mother. She pointed an accusing finger at the boy, who sat unmoving in his seat directly behind my desk.
            “Isaac, don’t pull Abbie’s hair,” said Mrs. Hamilton, and that was that.
            After the fiasco at the beauty shop, Mother cut my hair at home, but she was never satisfied with her work. I didn’t care. I was relieved when she was done, although after the incident with Isaac, I preferred Mother’s scissors to his sharp tugs. 
As I grew older, Mother let my hair grow longer and braided it into two pigtails at the back of my neck. In the summer heat of Arizona, I imagined myself cutting off the pigtails, but I knew better since an attempt at cutting my own hair brought similar results to that of Isaac’s hand barbering and a sharp rebuke from Mother. Occasionally, boys tugged at the braids, but not nearly as hard as Isaac did.
            When I was about twelve or thirteen, Mother and I finally worked up the courage to make another trip to the beauty shop. We’d moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, by this time, and we went to a place Grandma recommended. I remembered the scent of the chemicals from the previous experience, but this time, I knew what to expect. I just hoped I wouldn’t lose my lunch. To my embarrassment, Mother said to Barbara, the beautician, “My daughter’s visually handicapped so you’ll have to tell her what you’re going to do before you do it.”
But Barbara was nice. She sat me in the chair, covered me with a drape, and turned the chair to face the mirror. “I’m going to spray your hair with water now.”
This time, the sound of the spray bottle and cool water against my head didn’t bother me. While cutting my hair, she was gentle and careful. When she accidentally brushed a mole on the left side of my scalp, she said, “Ooh, does that hurt?”
“No,” I answered truthfully. 
The haircut was a pleasant experience, and I realized that going to a beauty shop wasn’t so bad after all. From that point on, I never let my hair grow long enough for pigtails. Mother was relieved not to have to braid it every morning.
Pigtails, permanents, and other hairstyles are great for people who can see well enough to make them look good. I prefer short, straight hair that I can manage easily. As I’ve heard said in shampoo commercials, “I want to wash my hair and go.”
           
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome  http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com  abbie@samobile.net
During the fifteen years I worked as a music therapist in a nursing home, I met some interesting people, and Reta was one of them. She preferred to remain in her room except for meals and politely refused when I encouraged her to participate in group activities. She loved to visit, though, and if I let her, she’d talk my head off. But over the years as her dementia grew steadily worse, she took to singing. She sat in her room or in the dining or other communal areas and sang and sang and sang, oblivious to her surroundings. She thus inspired the following poem which was published in Serendipity Poets Journal in December of 2002.
RETA’S SONG
She sits in her wheelchair day in and day out,
singing the same song over and over and over again.
The tune is the same.
She makes up different words as she goes along.
Sometimes, her words make sense.
Often, they have no meaning.
Unaware of what goes on around her,
she just keeps singing that same song
over and over and over again.
There was a time when she didn’t sing,
not even when someone else was singing.
She’d talk your head off for hours.
She didn’t keep singing that same song
over and over and over again.
She has changed.
She no longer talks your head off.
She sings it off.
When spoken to, she responds mostly In song.
The words are different.
The tune is the same.
She just keeps singing that same song
over and over and over again.
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Author of We Shall Overcome

Naked

I’ve never been to a nudist colony, but I enjoyed reading about one in David Sedaris’s book entitled Naked, in which he talks about his experiences growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and some aspects of his adult life in New York City. Topics include but aren’t limited to: how his parents dealt with his teachers’ concerns about his obsessive compulsive behavior, his family’s relationship to and the demise of his paternal grandmother, discovering his homosexuality at a summer camp in Greece, and his mother’s bout with cancer. In the title story, he describes his vacation at a nudist colony in great detail.

According to David Sedaris’s home page, he has become one of America’s most pre-eminent humor writers. He is the author of Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice and collections of essays including Naked and When You Are Engulfed in Flames. There are a total of seven million copies of his books in print, and they have been translated into twenty-five languages. He was the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker and has twice been included in The Best American Essays. His newest book, a collection of fables entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary was published in September of 2010.

He and his sister Amy Sedaris have collaborated on a number of plays that were produced in a variety of New York City locations. His original radio pieces can be heard on “This American Life,” a program distributed by Public Radio International. He has been nominated for three Grammy awards for best spoken work and best comedy album. His most recent live album is “David Sedaris: Live for Your Listening Pleasure” released in November of 2009.

The recording of Naked that my younger brother Andy gave me for my birthday is produced by Time Warner Audio and narrated by the author with the help of his sister Amy. I especially loved the way Amy portrayed David’s teachers and other female characters including the matron who ran the nudist colony and David’s portrayal of his mother. The snippets of jazz played throughout the recording gave the narration a nice touch. This book kept me laughing and my husband wondering what was making me laugh.

As for a nudist colony, I don’t think that would be such a bad place to take a vacation. Although I’ve never been one to flaunt my nakedness, when I was a kid and heard the 1974 hit “The Streak,” I wanted to do that but didn’t want to be arrested. In 1980 when a group of students streaked across the stage with sacks over their heads during the local college’s graduation ceremony, I thought that was so cool and considered doing the same thing at my high school graduation that year, but again, I feared the consequences. Andy was more adventurous. As early as three years old, he was running around without any clothes. One summer when he was older, he took to dashing home from the local park’s swimming pool in the buff, provoking a scathing letter to my mother from one of our neighbors who said it wasn’t safe to raise little girls around him.

At a nudist colony, you can run anywhere you want without clothes, and nobody will care because everyone else will be doing the same thing. Also, if you’re not wearing clothes, you don’t have to do laundry. Now that’s the kind of vacation I would love to take. However, I doubt I’ll be visiting a nudist colony any time soon. For one thing, I don’t think my husband wants me running around naked in the presence of other men. For another, I always feel the need to carry a cell phone on me when traveling, and there’s no decent place on my naked body for that. Without my cell phone, I’m truly naked.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome

http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net

Behind Our Eyes Makes News

As I said in earlier posts, I belong to a group of writers with disabilities called Behind Our Eyes. In December of 2007, we published an anthology of stories and poems by that name, and we now have an online magazine, Magnets and Ladders. Our President lives in Auburn, Maine, and she and I and others in the group were recently interviewed by a reporter from The Kennebec Journal in Augusta. You can read the resulting article here. Enjoy!

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome Website Email

Dinner with the johnsons

My father had a nasty habit of inviting people to our house for dinner on the spur of the moment. This really irked my mother. One time after this happened, Dad offered to get fried chicken, but Mother insisted on preparing the meal, although she was obviously put out. I was in high school at the time, and I remember thinking maybe she should have let Dad be responsible for dinner. Then, he might have realized how much trouble it was and stopped asking people over without checking with her first.

Years later when I became a writer, I reflected on this and got one of those what if moments. What would have happened if Mother had taken off and left Dad to prepare the meal and entertain the guests on his own? The following story is one scenario. This is the third and last in the trilogy of tales about Al Johnson. The other two have appeared in earlier posts. Enjoy!

DINNER WITH THE JOHNSONS

“Honey, I invited the Batemans over for dinner tonight,” Al said, as he strode through the kitchen door on a sunny Saturday morning in September.

“What?” asked his wife Ruth, as she looked up from her bowl of cereal.

“I ran into Diane at the market when I went to pick up the milk,” said Al, as he set a bag on the counter. “I asked her and Jim and their little girls Sarah and Ella over for dinner tonight.”

“Oh Al,” said Ruth. “I think it’s wonderful that you want to welcome that new lawyer in your firm, but tonight is not a good night. I’ll be busy all day at the health fair, and I won’t have time or energy to cook anything.”

“Honey, you’re an excellent cook,” Al said, as he stroked her shoulder. “You’ll think of something.”

Ruth stiffened and leapt to her feet, her chair making a scraping sound as she shoved it away from her. Al let his hand fall to his side and gaped at her. “No, you’ll think of something,” she said, as she hurried to the phone. She lifted the receiver and dialed a number. “Mother, Al has planned a night out with the guys so I thought I might take you to dinner and a movie. How does that sound?”

After a pause, she said, “Great. I should be done at the health fair at about six o’clock. I’ll pick you up then, okay? Bye.”

“I can’t believe you did that,” said Al, who stood dumb-founded, staring at Ruth.

“I can’t believe you keep inviting people over here without checking with me first,” said Ruth. “I keep telling you over and over again how inconvenient it is for me when you do that. You say you’re sorry, but then you do it again. I’m not putting up with it any longer. I’m late.” She snatched her purse from a nearby chair.

“Honey, I can’t cook.”

“That’s your problem, isn’t it?” said Ruth, as she headed for the back door. “You think I’m your maid who will cook and clean for you and anyone else you choose to invite over here. You can call these people and tell them you forgot we have another engagement, or there’s a Stouffer’s lasagna and a package of green beans in the freezer. You can heat those up for them. There should be plenty. I’ve made plans with my mother, and I’m not going to change them. It’s up to you.” She turned and stomped out the back door, slamming it behind her.

Al stood stunned for a moment. He considered calling the Batemans to reschedule the dinner but thought better of it. They’re young, and I’m getting on. If I tell them I forgot a previous engagement, they’ll think I have Alzheimer’s, and I can’t tell them my inflexible, headstrong wife abandoned me because I didn’t check with her before inviting them over, he thought.

It then occurred to him to call his daughter. Michelle often invited Al and Ruth for dinner with her and her boyfriend Rick. Al knew if he explained the situation, she would understand and be willing to help. As he dialed her number, it was as if a great weight were being lifted from his shoulders. He smiled, as he waited for her to answer the phone but when he heard her answering machine after a few rings, he slammed down the receiver, and his heart sank.

With a sigh, he resigned himself to fixing frozen lasagna and green beans for the Batemans. “It might not be so bad,” he told himself, as he walked to the refrigerator. The Batemans’ little girls were seven-year-old twins, as he recalled. If they were anything like his children were at that age, they would love the lasagna whether it was homemade or not. If he plied their parents with enough drinks before dinner, they wouldn’t know the difference. A quick glance at the directions on the back of the lasagna box told him it would take a little over an hour. The green beans wouldn’t take long to heat in the microwave.

“Okay, I can do this,” he said, as he closed the freezer door. “I told Diane we’d eat about six o’clock. I’ll put the lasagna in about five and when they get here, I’ll get their drinks and do the beans. I’ll just tell them that Ruth had to leave at the last minute. I’ll pick up rolls and dessert at Walmart. I also need to make a trip to the liquor store.”

At four o’clock that afternoon, Al was ready to leave his office. During the drive to Walmart, he began doubting his ability to host a successful dinner party on his own. When he and Ruth entertained guests, she timed things just right. When guests arrived, they could enjoy drinks for about half an hour. By then, dinner was on the table. “I’ve got to stop inviting people over like this,” he said.

In the ice cream section, his spirits lifted. When his daughter Kate was the same age as the Bateman twins, she adored chocolate ice cream. He found rolls and a chocolate pie. After paying for these purchases, he stopped at the liquor storeand bought all the ingredients for gin martinis and Shirley Temples and a bottle of wine for the adults to drink with dinner.

When he reached home, it was nearly five o’clock. With asigh of relief, he hurried into the kitchen. Soon, the lasagna was in the oven. As he set the timer, he decided to shower and change. That would keep his mind off his anxiety about the night ahead.

At six o’clock when the doorbell rang, Al was ready. “Hello,” he said to the couple who stood on the porch. “Where are the girls?” he asked, as he ushered them into the living room.

“They had a sleep-over tonight,” said Diane. “They prefer to spend the evening with kids their own age instead of with boring grown-ups.”

“I completely understand,” said Al with a smile. “My daughters were the same way when they were their age.”

“I’m assuming Ruth’s in the kitchen cooking up whatever that delicious smell is,” said Jim.

“Actually, Ruth had to leave at the last minute,” said Al. “She works at the women’s center, and she had to be with a rape victim tonight.”

“At six o’clock in the evening,” said Diane, raising her eyebrows. “I thought those things happened late at night.”

“They can happen any time a man gets the urge to do it,” said Al.

“He’s right, honey,” said Jim, putting an arm around his wife. “I get the urge to make love to you legally during the day as well as at night.” He planted a kiss on her cheek.

“Oh you,” said Diane with a laugh, punching him in the ribs.

“Ow,” said Jim. “Is there a center that helps men who are being abused by their wives?”

“I don’t know,” said Al. “I do know how to make a gin martini if anyone’s interested.”

“Uh, we’re Mormons,” said Diane. “We don’t drink.”

“Oh well, I’m a Catholic and I do,” said Al, as his face grew hot. “Perhaps some ice tea?”

“I’m afraid we don’t drink coffee or tea,” Jim said.

Al scratched his head in concentration. “Orange juice then?” he asked.

“That sounds great,” said Diane.

“Make that two,” Jim said.

As he hurried to the kitchen, Al wondered if the Batemans’ religion allowed them to eat lasagna. There’s only one way to find out, he thought, as he found orange juice and glasses. When he returned to the living room with their drinks on atray, Jim and Diane were seated together on the couch. “I just thought of something,” said Diane. “Ruth Johnson is your wife, isn’t she?”

“Yes,” said Al, as he handed them their drinks.

“I met her at the health fair today,” said Diane. “It’s too bad she couldn’t be here. She seems like such a nice person.”

If only she knew the truth, Al thought, as he settled himself inan arm chair across from them with his martini. How could she leave him like this? What if the Batemans couldn’t eat thelasagna, green beans, rolls, pie, or ice cream? Ruth would know how to handle such a situation. All he could do was hope for the best.

The timer in the kitchen dinged. “That’s the lasagna,” he said, rising to his feet.

Jim and Diane also stood. Diane asked, “Is there anything we can do to help?”

“Not at all,” Al said. “I’ve got it all under control. I still have to heat up the green beans and the rolls so it’ll be a few minutes yet. Make yourselves comfortable. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.”

In the kitchen, he removed the lasagna from the oven and set it aside to cool. He placed the rolls on a baking sheet and set them in the oven as he’d seen Ruth do. He found a metal pan Ruth used to cook vegetables on the stove. After putting the green beans into it and adding water, he placed it in the microwave. After turning it on, he went to the dining room to set the table.

As he retrieved napkins and silverware from the buffet, he heard the microwave shut itself off. He thought this odd since it hadn’t been that long since he’d started it. Turning, he noticed that the kitchen light was off. He tried the dining roomlight switch. Nothing happened.

Jim and Diane appeared in the doorway. “Is everything okay?” Jim asked.

“The power seems to have gone out,” Al said. “The lasagna’s done so we can start on that if you like. Hopefully, the electricity will be back on soon.”

“I wonder if there’s a problem with the circuit breaker,” Diane said.

“I don’t know,” Al said.

“Would you like me to take a look?” asked Jim.

“Be my guest,” said Al. “The circuit breaker’s in the kitchen to the right of the door.”

“I’ll help you set the table,” Diane said, as Jim stepped into the kitchen.

The front door opened and closed. “Dad!” Michelle called.

“In the dining room,” Al yelled in surprise. “That’s my daughter.”

Michelle and Rick appeared in the doorway. “Michelle Johnson!” said Diane. “I didn’t make the connection.”

“Johnson is a popular name,” Rick said with a grin.

“You two know each other?” asked Al.

“Diane is my boss at the nursing home,” Michelle said. “What’s going on? When Rick and I got home, my Caller ID indicated that you’d called but didn’t leave a message. When I tried to call you, I got a recording saying that your number was disconnected or no longer in service.”

“Well, now not only is the power out but the phone is dead,” said Al.

“I’ll see if I can reach someone at the phone company on my cell,” said Rick, retrieving the device from his pocket and wandering into the living room.

“Where’s Ruth?” asked Michelle.

“I’m right here,” said Ruth from the kitchen doorway. “Thank goodness the house is still standing. Imagine my surprise to find the kitchen dark and a handsome young man fiddling with the circuit breaker.”

As the kitchen light came on, Diane stepped forward, extending a hand to Ruth. “Hi, I’m Diane Bateman. We met at the health fair this afternoon. How’s your rape victim?”

“Rape victim?” asked Ruth, as she broke into a broad grin. “That’s what Al told you.”

“What are you doing here?” asked Al, as Diane stared at him in astonishment.

“When I told Mother what happened this morning, she insisted I call to be sure you hadn’t burned the house down,” Ruth said. “When I did, I discovered that the phone was somehow disconnected. I left Mother and came straight here. You see, Diane, for years, Al has had this nasty habit of inviting people to the house for dinner at almost the last minute and expecting me to cook for them. I’m sorry you and your husband had to be caught in the middle like this, but I decided I’d had enough.”

“I understand,” Diane said. “If Jim ever did anything like that, I’d strangle him. Is there a center that helps men?”

Michelle burst into laughter, as Rick and Jim appeared. “Not if they’re dead,” Rick said.

“I think I found what caused the power outage,” said Jim. “Did you know you had a metal pan in the microwave?”

More laughter erupted, as Al hung his head. “I suppose that also caused the phone outage,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” said Rick. “The operator said the whole neighborhood’s out, but they’re working on it.”

“Well dear, I hope you learned your lesson,” said Ruth. “I’ll finish getting dinner on. Michelle, Rick, why don’t you stay? There’s plenty.”

Al slumped into his chair at the head of the table, as Diane finished setting it and other dinner preparations continued around him. Jim and Rick also sat at the table and chatted. In record time, Ruth and Michelle brought plates and platters containing the lasagna, green beans, and rolls.

When everyone was settled, Al took Ruth’s hand and said, “If you all don’t mind, I’ll say grace.” As the others joined hands, he said, “Dear Lord, we thank you for what we are about to receive. I also give thanks for my wife. I don’t think I really appreciated her until today.”

THE END

Abbie Johnson Taylor

Author of We Shall Overcome

http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net