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A Perfect Pair

December 14, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Mr. Sundberg was listening along with me, right there in the kitchen. Usually he's out on a motivational speaking tour or hanging out with his friends down at the restaurant. Or lately he's down in the basement working on my Christmas present. But there he was filling in his crossword puzzle while I folded socks. For some odd reason I ended up with a load of about 1013 socks and it was my challenge to pair them up properly before the Powermilk Biscuit song. I did it, too. I've had a lot of practice, of course, with three kids and all. As I folded, I explained to my husband how you match them not only by color and size but also by wear. I held two socks up to the light. See, I said. This heel is worn ragged and this one isn't. This is not a pair. He said, "You've got to be kidding." Nope, I told him. It works this way. "What would I do without you," he said. You'd be folding socks, I replied.

That's when I heard it. Mr. Keillor was singing about how he hoped it would snow and how the people are miserable and the yards are bare and filled with piles of poop. He actually sang "piles of poop." I just about tipped over into the piles of socks. Laughing feels good and it felt particularly good at that moment and I just went with it. I laughed and laughed. There were socks everywhere and a few tears to boot. Well, Mr. Sundberg didn't laugh so hard. In fact, he didn't laugh much at all and that's always awkward when you think something is entirely funny and the person you're with pretty much just stares at you, waiting for you to stop and explain yourself.

See, we have a bit of an issue going. I like to play a joke now and then, and Mr. Sundberg doesn't. Sometimes when we're on our way out to haul in a load of wood for the fireplace, I go out to the garage ahead of him and slam the door behind me. Or so he thinks. Instead, I slam the door but stay inside and hide in the closet. So he comes into the kitchen thinking I'm out in the garage, opens the closet door to get his barn coat, and BAM — another priceless moment. I used to say BOO! and he'd jump and holler a rather inappropriate word or phrase. But over time, I've come to not say a thing. I'm just there, suddenly, and I don't have to move, even, and he lets out a big gasp and makes this horrified face and there's my laugh for the day. I jump around and nearly can't breathe and he stands there, waiting. Then I hug him and apologize and say, Are you mad? And he hugs me back and says, "No, I'm not mad. I'm just annoyed."

That's how it was with the poop thing and the show. I happened to find it hilarious to hear a man lead a choir in singing about poop in the yard in December, despite my husband's obvious exasperation with me. What was almost better, though, was how the next morning in the shower Mr. Sundberg was singing as he often does. And guess what song he sang? He'd clearly been listening to the show because he had the words down. All of them. "A brown Christmas is no fun / We need precipitation..."

O Lord, I wish it would snow. Big snow, and deep.

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