Nobody in our neighborhood ever lacked tomatoes because Wes grows magnificent tomatoes and he is a very generous man. They aren’t just your average tomatoes; they are the tomatoes God had in mind when She invented tomatoes: huge, succulent, red globes bursting with flavor. And Wes plants gobs of them. His garden is kind of the neighborhood Eden.
About this time last spring Wes was attacked in his yard. While he was working in his garden, a car-load of thugs jacked up on drugs came racing through the cul-de-sac. Finding it a dead end they ran up over the curb and intended to drive smack dab through Wes’ garden to get to the alley behind his house.
When these idiots went over the curb and headed for the tomatoes, Wes stepped in front of them and gave their car a rap on the hood and a stern warning. Words ensued. Then they got out of the car and proceeded to beat Wes to a pulp.
The headline the next morning was “Elderly man beaten during high-speed chase.” I took one look at the headline and told Beaven with indignant seriousness, “They got this all wrong. Wes isn’t “elderly”, he’s our age.”
That was just one of the many quiet “Uh Oh” moments I’ve had lately. I am getting old. Where did the time go?
A couple of years ago this same neighborhood had hail and everybody got a new roof. The thought of shopping for a 25 year warranty on a new roof inexplicably gave me a huge feeling of freedom. I realized that if I got anything with a 25-year warranty I’d never have to worry about it again. I’d be 90 years old by the time the warranty expired. With any luck, at the end of that time the roof over my head would be someone else’s problem.
When Emily got married I started to give her a set of pots and pans that that had belonged to her grandmother. “Take really good care of these,” I told her, “Your grandmother had these for a long time.” I was trying to impress upon her the care that had gone into ownership but I’m afraid she didn’t get my point. Emily was only surprised that Blanche never bought herself new stuff. She told me, “Grandma had a lot of money, why didn’t she buy new pots and pans?”
I wanted to scream, “That’s exactly WHY she had a lot of money! She didn’t waste it buying new stuff when she didn’t need to! She took care of what she had and saved a lot of money that way—money she pocketed and passed along to your father, who is using it to pay for this over-priced wedding you’re planning! The woman lived through the Depression, for God’s sakes! She knew how to take care of stuff!”
OK, I think maybe I did scream —just a little.
I finally decided to keep the pots and pans myself and not give them to Emily. This story comes to mind because those very pots gave up the ghost last week. First the smaller one and then, a week later, my favorite- the large one. They just fell apart in my hands. The bolt holding the handle on rusted completely off and the handle came apart. But here’s my point: Before their demise, they had outlived Blanche and almost outlived me. In this case, the Lifetime Warranty proved even better than they had claimed when Blanche bought them sixty years ago.
A Lifetime Warranty holds a whole new meaning for me now. Anything I get today with a 25 year warranty is truly the deal of a lifetime. The same goes for buy huge quantities of stuff.
Beaven found a really good deal on plastic knives last week and brought home a box of 600 of them. My first thought was “What in the hell do I need 600 plastic knives for?” I’ll never use 600 plastic knives if I spent the rest of my life trying to get rid of them.
I’ll never use 200. Probably not even 100. Nobody uses plastic knives. Anything that needs cutting is going to need something more than plastic. About the only thing a plastic knife is good for is buttering a roll. If the butter is soft, that is. By the time I leave this mortal coil I should still have a few hundred of these knives left and they can use them for lunch after my funeral.
The trick is going to be in the timing. The time is perfect right now for Beaven and I to buy lots of things with 25-year warranties. We may still have a car or two left in us. But, just to be safe, we’ll consult with our granddaughters when we buy one since there’s a good chance they’ll end up with it when their mother takes our keys away.