Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

Ah yes, summertime!

The time of humidity indices, kids out of school, and perhaps, to some, that most feared of all occurrences: the husband's week off of work.

Now mostly that's nothing to be concerned about for us, as in the Ashbury household, the husband in question nearly always insists on going somewhere and doing something.

Did you notice the qualifier, `nearly always'?

We booked this week originally to be the week we would head to Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Aside from visiting our good friends, this trip for me is a week of research and discovery. I have a couple of novels—romantic suspense, not erotic romance—planned that are to be set in this area. So I use my trips wisely, getting to know the flora, the fauna, where not to step because of occasional subsidence [it's coal country], and of course, the people.

However, our good friend, instead of retiring from his position with the Pennsylvania Capitol Police Force on June 30th, discovered he qualified to do so mid-May, and so he did. He's now begun a part time position as a cop on a local force, and wanted to get his first three months in before taking any time off.

So we'll head down to Pennsylvania in September, which is going to make a busy autumn for me, as I will also be going to Texas in October.

In the mean time, yep, you got it. One week. Just the two of us. Right here at home. The dreaded family staycation.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I am not on vacation. I have work to do. I have a manuscript to finish polishing and then turn in and another to start.

My beloved on the other hand has...a project planned.

Fresh from the success of his replacement of the kitchen floor, he came up with several things he wanted to do this week, including building himself a storage shed for the back yard.

He reminded me of a kid with Christmas Cash from Auntie May as his week off neared. Surely one week was long enough to do more than that one project? He'd be walking around the house saying, "I want to do this, and I want to fix that."

I—being me—had to say, "Well whatever the heck you do don't forget the other thing!"

My beloved surprised me by nodding his head and then he asked me to make him a "honey-do" list.

Friends, I have never—not once, ever—in our soon to be 41 years together dared to create such a document.

Why not? A lot of reasons, I suppose but the chief one may surprise you.

I had a good friend, now with the Lord, who was a teacher, which meant he would have some time off every summer. He wasn't a young man, really, in his forties at the time that we became friends. Yet every end of June saw him receive a comprehensive list from his wife, such as (in my mind) one might give a teenager to assure they stay busy and out of trouble all summer.

One of the tenets to which I attribute having achieved 41 years together is: thou shalt not command thy spouse to do anything.

I was appalled at my friend's list and would never presume to create one on my own for my own husband.

But I wanted to be congenial and I was amenable to the concept, as long as it was something my husband wanted me to do.

So, being a smart wife, I opened a new word document and asked, "What do you want me to put on this list for you?"

He dictated, and then asked me if I could think of anything he'd forgotten. This was as safe a way as I ever could have imagined of reminding my beloved that he had yet to buy and install the tracks, thus finishing the kitchen floor at the doorways.

Our second daughter stopped by this past Saturday, and said to Mr. Ashbury, "you're on vacation! That's great, good for you. Any plans?"

He immediately held up the document I had created, at his request, and said, "Look! Look what she did! She gave me a `honey-do' list!"

I knew the truth right then and there. It was going to be a very long week.




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