The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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Shine Its Ever-Lovin' Light

November 22, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I've been walking around singing "On the Road to Mandalay" since then, and if you tuned in I'm sure you've been singing it, too. Thing is, I don't know the words so I just fill in with "Da da da da da da da... ." Mr. Sundberg tells me he's never heard the song before and he wouldn't mind much if he never heard it again. I think he's irritated because I've got him going, too. He was whistling it last night while he was down in the basement working on my Christmas present. He doesn't know I know what he's doing, but it's pretty obvious he's putting to use the woodcarving kit my brothers gave him for his birthday last year. There's a sketch of a pine tree labeled "Frasier fir" taped to the wall above his workbench and I'm finding wood shavings all over the place. He's been spending more and more time "cleaning" down there as the holidays approach and he says things like "If you could have any kind of tree to decorate for Christmas, what would it be?" and "Do you prefer bluish green or yellowish green?"

So last night he came upstairs and asked if he could borrow the star-shaped cookie cutter. What would you need that for, I asked. "Well," he said, "it's a surprise." So I dug the pail of cookie cutters out of the cupboard above the fridge and found the two "star" cookie cutters and offered them both. He took the little one and off he went. He must have been down there another hour or two when he came up for a beer. His best friend from the motivational speaker program at school ran a brewery on the side for a while so that's all Mr. Sundberg would drink. But when the business went under, he started drinking Pig's Eye beer. He drinks only a bottle or two a month. It's the only time he ever raises his voice, and the only time he sings. In fact, the last time I recall him drinking beer was at Tube Fest on the river this past summer when he got a bit carried away singing "The Midnight Special." Just after he hollered, "Shine its ever-lovin' light on me!" he lost his balance (he was standing on his inner tube) and fell onto the sand beach. He was pretty quiet after that and apologized to Mrs. Donaldson for landing on her new beach umbrella. We drove home early that day which the kids didn't complain about because the snacks were gone and I didn't mind because I was sunburned.

Anyway, he came upstairs and looked through the fridge. "Last one," he said. And he got out a mug and filled it half full and handed it to me. "You making those creamed vegetables for Thanksgiving this year?" he asked. Sure am, I said. "I'm glad I have you," he said, and he went back downstairs. A few minutes later I heard him whistling "The Road to Mandalay." I'm glad I have you, too, I kind of whispered. The church bells rang nine o'clock down the street, and I spent a good while looking out the window, hoping for a snowflake or two.

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