300. Pining

Percy Sledge is singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” as I am constructing my 300th post. It’s been over three years that I’ve been at this blog business, and it still feels fresh and interesting to me. Sort of like my marriage. Surprisingly. I’m still surprised by language and human behavior, so I guess I’ll keep pecking away at my keyboard and the edges of credibility… and stay married. Though Steve tells me that my stuff lately has been too esoteric ( my word). I don’t know what to say. I can’t be shallow all the time. Doug agreed all too quickly that my blogularization mix is too dense and seems to be getting stuck in the chute. He suggested more fiber. I don’t know. My faithful readers, give me some feedback here. Dear Vera gave me high praises the other day at the coffee shop, but she is so nice that I’m afraid if I wore a cardboard box around town she’d say, “You look good in brown. Are you with UPS now? Anyway, I love it!”

So, back to Percy Sledge…

“When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
Trying to hold on to what he needs
He’d give up all his comfort
Sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Trying to hold on to your precious love
Baby, please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery

If she plays him for a fool
He’s the last one to know
Loving eyes can’t ever see

When a man loves a woman
He can do no wrong
He can never own some other girl
Yes when a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause baby, baby, baby, you’re my world

When a man loves a woman”


Well, I suppose there is a point here. I love my wife. Mind you, I am not sleeping out in the rain or blind to her faults, nope. I am dry and warm, all snugged up while she’s been away for two weeks with our Grandbaby Cow Yodee. She left me a honey do list five inches wide and 29 inches long, taped to the kitchen counter. It was not all hard labor. For instance, item one said, “Pine for your wife and daughter. Miss us till it hurts.” I wasn’t sure how to pine. I know it means longing for something or someone who is not present, often a loved one. So I sat there at the granite counter top and tried to pine. I wailed. I pouted. I covered my face with both hands. I sniffed vinegar. Nothing came out. No pineage.

Well, I am no quitter. I thought outside the box. (There’s a shocker, huh?) I opened the refrigerator and found some pineapple preserves, which I slathered on a toasted English muffin. I chomped on that sucker while listening to some low down blues on my Pandora Blues station. Nothing. I was failing miserably with item one. Eleven more tasks swarmed below it, mocking me. I couldn’t take it. A sweaty panic broke out all over me. I had to run outside, though it was raining again. But I knew what I needed to do. I went over two yards where our neighbor has a nice white pine tree. Beneath its lofty branches is a wide natural bed of ginger needles with a few pine cones here and there. I picked up the smallest one I could find and returned to my empty house, shaking with fear and exultation.

I could not find any recipes for pine cones, only pine nuts. No help. I was on my own. I steamed it to soften the bristly cone and then microwaved it for good measure. I soaked it in white wine then covered it in a hazelnut chocolate spread. Finally I did my best python impression and swallowed the pine confection whole. It was painful and awkward and hard to breathe. Yet, I knew I was doing the right thing. I felt my upper gastrointestinal system scratch and scream against the foreign object. I kept swallowing hoping to pass the organic grenade. No luck.

And then I realized:  I was pining, full bore pining!! Elation rose up and filled my head like helium and dental gas . I was giddy as long as I did not move because that brittle wooden cone slugged mercilessly through the twists and turns of my intestines like the Santa Maria through the mud flats of Hispaniola. I cried out, “Baby! I love you and I hurt! I am pining for you. Don’t do me like this!!! You got to come home.”

By day three I knew was in trouble. Things weren’t moving as expected. Apparently my gastric juices and enzymes were no match for the spindly wooden missile stuck in my lower g.i. I hesitated to call the doctor and explain what I’d done. I didn’t want to risk the harsh judgment I expected. “You did what? Huh? How stupid are you?”

Eventually the pain of the blockage overrode my pride. The price of pining was too great for me to pay. I was torn between calling an upper g.i. doc or a lower g.i. guy. I flipped a coin and went with tails. After a nine hour surgery I was deconed and no longer pining. I got home just in time to tear up the incomplete honey do list and make it look like a break in had occurred. Whoa, Dude, I never want to pine again.