Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I was sixteen. He was seventeen and had his hat in his hands—literally. It was a welding hat from shop class. For those of a younger generation, shop class was a high school class dedicated to the idea that not everyone had to be a lawyer to be happy, healthy, and wise.

The boy with his hat in his hands asked me to the homecoming dance. I went. We’ve been together ever since, making us high school sweethearts. Or as I like to tell the youth in my church, “I waited for him and he waited for me, and it doesn’t get more romantic than that.”

For thirty-six married years, plus three dating years, equaling thirty-nine total years, it’s been smooth sailing, low stress, and baby bunnies in Easter baskets every step of the rainbow giggling way. 

Sure. Sure. 


It happens to be true that big, fat lies are all the rage right now.

A couple of consequences of being together for such an extended period of time are the evolution of flexible attitudes, the development of various coping strategies, and the use of guns over knives when fist fighting.

For example, in the beginning, we argued.

Now, we banter.

Banter is arguing with the sharp edges knocked off.

Recently, we bantered our way through the new self-checkout register at our local Walmart. It was trial by barcode scanner.

“Okay, I’ll scan and you bag.” I held up a giant bag of Halloween candy corn.

“Scan, Baby, scan,” Sherwood chanted.

I swiped the bag of candy and Sherwood stuffed the bag into a bag and straight into our buggy.

The machine immediately suspected shoplifting and seized up.

“I think you’ve got to let it sit in the ‘bagging area’ so that it knows you’re not stuffing candy corn in your pants.”

“Why would I stuff candy corn in my pants? I hate candy corn.”

“The computer doesn’t know that.” I swiped a giant bag of Kit Kat candy bars across the scanner.

He stuffed the Kit Kats in a plastic bag. The machine seized up and declared, “Unauthorized item in bagging area.”

“I haven’t put anything, unauthorized or not, in the bagging area.”

“Did you think about putting something unauthorized in the bagging area?”

“Are you kidding? How would the machine know what I’m thinking?”

I looked up. 

“Drones?” An assorted flock of small, pooping birds swept by, over my head—possibly drones—hard to tell.

“Wait for assistance!” The machine commanded. We waited.

A cashier, approximately the same age as my socks, assisted us. Tap, tap, tap, swipe, and tap. “Okay,” she said.

I tried to scan a head of lettuce. Nothing happened.

The machine suspected shoplifting and seized up.

“Here,” I said. “Put this head of lettuce in your pants.”

Once upon a time, my cavalier jokester attitude, the fact that the line of grumpy shoppers behind us was piling up fifty deep, and our obvious lack of check-out acumen or savvy would have sent my husband into orbit, and I would have trailed behind him like a kite string. But now? Now we understand that ninety-eight percent of life is complete daffiness—so yuck it up, baby, and bring on the banter.

While we waited for teenage assistance to arrive and to make us feel super stupid, my husband pretended to stuff the head of lettuce into his pants. I snorted through my nose. Then he took two lemons and . . . well, never mind what he did with the lemons.

I’ve known him for thirty-nine years, and there’s no one I would rather banter with—no one.

Linda (Lemonade) Zern

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