Potatoes on the oven rack beside the roasting pan were not soft in the center yet. Poking a fork into the browning chuck roast revealed juicy meat that would melt-in-our-mouths after another hour of slow baking. While closing the oven door, the kitchen light dimmed for a few moments. Tossing the potholders onto a counter next to the stove, I left the kitchen.
My husband Arnie was in our Quonset shed working on one of his special projects. I knew that when he used the welder, the power it drew made the lights in the house dim for a few seconds. Curious to see his work and needing to tell him supper would be ready soon gave me a good reason to leave the house. The chilly morning had turned into a pleasantly warm spring afternoon.
The Quonset shed was one hundred yards from the house, but I took the scenic route that took me around the house, past a flowerbed, a bed of chives and rhubarb. A radio in the shed was tuned to a country western music station could be heard all over the yard.
Arnie had just finished laying down a new bead with the welder and pushed up his eye shield to inspect the work. Spotting me at the door of the shed, he smiled and took off his welding gloves and helmet. He proudly questioned, What do you think?”, motioning to the metal frame he’d made.
Glancing around the workshop, I marveled, “You did a lot this afternoon. This morning you had just a design and now I can see where you’re going. It looks great.” Arnie smiled proudly. Smiling back, I thought how cute he looked in a disheveled, sweaty sort of way. His dark hair stood up on end from the band that had held the welding helmet in place on his head. His naturally ruddy cheeks were bright from the heat and intense concentration.
A familiar song was playing on the radio. I raised my eyebrows and reflected, “I’m surprised you’re listening to a country western music station.”
Arnie had loved country western music when we were first married. We had played his old Patsy Cline records over and over in the mobile home during our first year together. Just hearing Patsy sing, “I’ve been walking…” brings to mind the home’s miniscule living room and how spring-time rain and hail sounded on the metal roof.
One day six years ago, Arnie had complained to me, “Country Music has changed. Ever since Billy Ray Cyrus had his hit, Achy Breaky Heart, all the new songs coming out sound like his Rock and Roll style of country music. I don’t like the change.”
A new song came on just as Arnie was about to turn off the radio. Stopping, my husband suggested with a laugh, “You should listen to this. It’s by Toby Keith.”
The song wasn’t rap, but Toby Keith’s musically-delivered rhythmic lyrics detailed how his girlfriend always talked about herself. He sang, “We talk about your church and your head when it hurts, we talk about the trouble you’ve been having with our brother, about your daddy and mother and your crazy ex-lover.” He goes on and on about all she talks about. Then he sings, “I like talking about you, you, you, you usually, but occasionally, I want to talk about me! I want to talk about me! What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see!”
When the song ended, we turned off the radio and walked to the house. With a grin, I confided to Arnie, “I feel sorry for Toby Keith.”
Later that evening I worked on an essay I was writing. Proof-reading it when I was finished made me laugh. The article was all about me, what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see. Leaning back in my chair, I sighed and then chuckled, “I feel sorry for my readers!”