Saturday, June 06, 2009

How Did You Do It

The Eastpointer

How did you guys do it?

By Richard E. Noble

Carol and I have been together now for over 30 years. Whenever you see older couples on TV the moderator often says, “Well, bless your hearts. How have you two managed to stay together so long? Can you give the rest of us a little advice and share your wisdom?”
For some reason no one has ever asked me that question. I imagine it is because when they look at me they can’t imagine that I am old enough to have ever lived with anyone for over 30 years. Why just the other day I went into a local gas station. My gas bill was $19.67. I said, “1967 huh, that was a good year.”
The older, gray haired man behind the counter said authoritatively, “Yes it was, but how would you know? You probably weren’t even born in 1967.” Wow! Can you imagine?
How have Carol and I kept it together for so long? The answer is that we both have an inordinate love for material possessions.
Now I know that some of you who read this newspaper are my neighbors and you drive by my property every day. You are now asking yourself how it can be true that love for material possessions have kept Carol and me together when we don’t have anything – certainly nothing that shows.
Ah ha, that is how it appears on the outside, but on the inside we have some very valuable stuff. We keep the outside of our property looking as it does to avoid any increases in our Homestead Exemption and to get around paying more property taxes. We have relatives who were Republican and they taught us some of the tricks.
One valuable thing we have in our home is a complete collection of home repair books published by Time/Life. Those aren’t valuable, you say. Well sure, the first issue was only 99 cents but each following issue cost $7.95 and we have all 32 issues. These are hardcover books – with pictures. And they are in mint condition.
They are now obsolete – real collector’s items. We have stopped doing any improvements on our place because of all the new rules. I will give you an example.
We were going to connect two of our decks with a third deck and put our washer and dryer out there. But the folks over in Apalach said we couldn’t do it. Not only that, we needed to hire an architect to design the six foot deck addition. The deck would also have to be anchored so that it could withstand 180 mile an hour wind. I explained to the man that our trailer was nearly 30 years old and uninsurable and that all our other decks were built over 20 years ago when there were fewer rules – none that I remember. He said that didn’t matter. “We” had to upgrade the neighborhood for future hurricanes. But I said if I do as you ask, the new six foot deck will cost more than my whole trailer home and lot and, when and if that hurricane comes, the only thing that will be left on the lot will be this six foot super deck that you now require. He said that didn’t matter.
But wait a minute, I’m getting away from my story. Another valuable thing that Carol and I own is a 15 piece set of fancy screwdrivers. They are Craftsmen from Sears & Roebuck and have a lifetime guarantee. I don’t know if that’s my lifetime or Sears’s lifetime, but whatever. I bought them for Carol one Christmas. Carol’s birthday is on Christmas day, so I get a “twofor.” I spring for a little extra because of the birthday benefit.
This is a real expensive set of screwdrivers. Carol likes tools and screwdrivers are fun for tool type people like her. Carol has fixed door hinges, repaired microwave ovens, installed her very own dishwasher, hooked up her washing machine and drier, adapted the burners on her new stove, installed and maintained her water heater, fixed her vacuum cleaner, repaired her lawnmower, her hedge trimmer and her circular saw … I’m telling you, she has really got distance out of those screwdrivers. I am very happy that I bought them for her – so what if they cost me over 100 bucks. You know, as they say … “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Ain’t that the truth!
Now if we were to get divorced, we would have to decide who is going to get those screwdrivers for example. You ask, “Why would I want those screwdrivers? I never use them and I probably don’t even know how to use one.”
That’s true. But those screwdrivers were very expensive and I bought them with MY money. I look at them like other people look at art. There are wealthy people out there who have very valuable paintings and they don’t even know how to paint. They couldn’t mix two colors together and come up with a third that resembled anything in the rainbow. They don’t know the canvas from the frame, but they would kill to keep their works of art. Well, that’s me. I want my stuff … but Carol would want it too. So what would we do with the screwdrivers if we were to separate? It would be horrible and too much damn trouble. So why screw with it? Carol and I are together until death do us part – or something happens to them darn screwdrivers.

Richard E. Noble is a freelance writer and has lived in Franklin County for about 30 years. He has published several books. You can find them all on Amazon or by contacting the author at