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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mary; or When You're Rich Beyond Dollar Signs

“I just want you to know,” she says, “that you are free to write about us as you see fit. I mean, I know what we look like to some people, and I don’t want you to stifle anything because you feel it presents us in an unflattering light.”

She pauses to take a drag from her cigarette.

“Heck,” she says. “I know what we look like.”

I am sitting on the couch in her living room. T-Bone, a Labrador of Great Sincerity, has his head on my knees and is gazing upward with the expression of one who believes I may have greasy, cat-flavored treats in my coat pockets.

I do not.

I light my own cigarette and blow the smoke toward the candle.

It is 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside (4.4 below Celsius); and inside, we are wearing our boots, coats, and hats. We are not wearing our gloves.

That would be silly.

“Tell me again why today is the day to replace the front door?”

Mary sighs. “Well the new one’s been in the living room for over a month now. It seemed like it was time.”

We gaze out the front door. It is 7:00, her abnormally dark street flanked by mounds of uncooperative snow.  She takes a drag off her cigarette. “Check out the headlight.”

The David Mann mural on the wall nearest the front door has been desecrated by the creation of the new frame, the headlight on the friendly trucker’s vehicle now a shattered spattering of Drywall on the floor.

I shook my head sadly. “The chick on the bike still seems pretty happy.”

“Yeah,” Mary shivered. “Well, she’s been painted that way, if ya ask me.”

Eventually, of course, Jon and Justin have the frame square and the inner and outer doors attached to the frame.

It is beautiful.

The two holes in the doors, however, the lonely and unfulfilled spaces that will house the lockset and knob tomorrow whistle aggressively with a driving Arctic wind fresh out of North Dakota.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” asks Jon. He runs a thoughtful hand through the thatch of hair on his head. “Yep, this is going to be one beautiful –”

“JON!” Mary can hardly control herself. “There are HOLES! Ya hear that whistling? Ya feel the cold? Ya smell what I’m cookin’ here, Jon?”

Jon’s eyes alight on mine, and we grin silently. She yells because she cares.

He bursts into laughter. “I’m gonna cover the holes! Don’t you worry!”

Mary pulls back a bit. “OK. So how are the doors going to stay shut all night with that wind?”

Jon winks at me. “Ahhh. See, I got that covered, too.” He pulls the belt off his pants.

“Hey! Hey!” Mary shouts good-naturedly. “This is a family show!”

Jon frowns at her. “Hey, we don’t talk like that.”

Now it’s Mary’s turn to wink at me.

Jon’s already at the door. “Ya see this,” he says, opening both doors, “I’m going to run the belt through the screen door, then through the inner door, and now I’m going to shut them so the belt is caught between the house and the door.”

He straightens up, arching his back. “See that? Minneapolis Security System.”

Mary turns to me. “When you speak of this,” she says, “and I can see by the look on your face that you will, just remember who loves ya.”

She calls the dog over, who jumps into her lap and knocks her backward.

Mary talks baby talk into his neck. “Iddin tha’ right, T-Bone? Iddin tha’ right? Who loves our lives more than we do?”


jenny_o said...

That's a handyman for you - handy but still a man. Men don't notice the little things. They are too busy looking at the big picture. Door? Check. Hole where the doorknob is missing? Look, the door is closed, you want the hole filled TOO? (incredulous tone)

Watson said...

Is it really Mary's Birthday? (Happy Birthday Mary!) Is the door a birthday present? Inquiring minds need to know!

Pearl said...

jenny, how right you are!

Watson, it is, indeed, her birthday. Not sure that door is a present, although it wouldn't surprise me if it was!

Susan Williams said...

Needs must.
Necessity, the Mother of Invention, knows how to fix a dang hole in the door.
And she rides a motorcycle, when she's not fixing doors.

jenny_o said...

Please wish Mary an Excellent Happy Birthday, and many more :)

Anonymous said...

A fun bunch for sure.

Silliyak said...

Clearly, this was a door prize.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Happy Birthday, Mary!!!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
You could have been describing me this morning...'cept I WAS being silly. Gloves interfere with typing let me tell you.

HAPPY B'DAY MARY - lovely to know you by the nth degree of strep. Or something. YAM xx

sage said...

I once took out a window in order to install a "garden window" in January... In Utah... and when we got the window out and took the new one out of the book, realized they'd sent the wrong size window (unless we wanted to install it sideways)... Handyman isn't a label I claim.

Jono said...

As a man I can tell you that there are many alternative ways of doing things other than the right way. hat's why we have stuff. We use it to fix other stuff. It's all very simple.

Joanne Noragon said...

Happy birthday, Mary. Please stay rich beyond dollar signs, with your friend Pearl.

Eileen B said...

I think this is where I joined the Fans of Pearl several years ago when Liza Bean wasn't the only one trying to quit smoking. This place is always a great visit and even a re-visit. Wondering if that door was ever totally installed or if Jon just decided to go with the belt permanently.

jenny_o said...

Now I'm feeling bad about my first comment. Seeing the big picture is not a bad thing. I'm a detail person. If I was replacing that door, it would definitely have a doorknob and two locks on it, an unmarred paint job and not a single fingerprint, but anything beyond that (such as actually installing the door) I cannot guarantee!

River said...

Happy Birthday Mary! I love the Mary and Jon stories.

Linda O'Connell said...

Mary deserves a new door and a cake. I vaguely recall this door incident. Winds of time, blowing through the mind, maybe.

Diane Tolley said...

A very happy birthdaycake to Mary! She of the starched white shirts, deftly-creased black pants, dog of great sincerity . . . and new front door.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

You Minnesotans got a strange way of pickin' your home repairs times.

Elephant's Child said...

Happy Birthday Mary. And many more of them.
All labradors are dogs of Great Sincerity. It is a defining characteristic.

the walking man said...

Pearl you're dressed appropriately for my house in winter, except glove with finger tips removed are mandatory. It's not a door thing it's the cost of heating. Of course being from MN you'd be comfortable at 60 degrees right?

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

It is good to have a good sense of humor in the freezing Minnesota weather. Actually, 24F sounds balmy for this time of year.