July 30, 2014

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Herb: the thorn in Freida’s side PDF Print E-mail

Greetings from the Ridge.
Some women marry partners. I married Herb. I said, “Herbie, I think this calls for a celebration!”
“Of what?”
“Thirty years! This makes thirty years for the Coonridge Digest!”
“I agree. The Black Plague only lasted four and didn’t do near as much damage.”
“Herb!”
“The Great Chicago Fire only went for three days.”
“Herb!”
“And some of them were insured. Your column doesn’t even carry a deductable.”
St. Paul talks about the thorn in his side. I wonder if he was married.
“Come on, Herb! Let’s go out to eat or something! It’s a milestone.”
“Millstone?”
“Milestone! Thirty years times fifty-two weeks a year is….uh... 1560 columns.”
“And you’d think that in all those words there’d be at least a lick of something important.”
Herb Crump belongs to the Woman’s-Place-Is-In-The-Kitchen school of idiocy. He once announced to our Sunday School class that the first thing Eve did after taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit was to go apply for a job and the world has barreled steadily downhill from Eden onward.
“Freida, maybe this would be a good time to retire your column. You’ve labored hard and you deserve your rest.”
“Since when you have ever been concerned about either my labor or my rest, Herb? Tell the truth! You’re embarrassed when the good old boys down at the coffee shop kid you about what I’ve written. That’s it, isn’t it?”
“We never talk about your column, Freida. We’ve got more important matters to discuss.”
“Like what?”
“Never mind. They’re important.”
“Come on, Herb. Do something to celebrate with me. I’ll only ask you once every thirty years.”
“Freida, let’s be honest. Sometimes you irritate people. Just put the column to bed and let’s live out our lives without somebody stopping you in the grocery store to jabber about something you’ve written.”
“So when I write something you agree with it’s truth, but when we disagree I’m just a busybody?”
“Since when did we ever agree?”
“You’re right.”
“And you drive my crazy with that tap-tap-tappin’ on the computer late into the night. I keep getting up to check the chicken faucet.”
“Herb, the house could blow up and you wouldn’t hear it. If something gets you up in the middle of the night it’s more likely prostate than prose.”
“If it’s your prose then I can’t always tell the difference.”
“Herb!”
“Okay, okay. We’ll celebrate. Hardees has a two-for-one special this week.”
“Fast food? Thirty years of newspaper columns and you take me out for a burger and bag of fries?”
“I’m not being disrespectful, Freida. Your columns remind me a good deal of fast food . . . cheap, quickly consumed, and followed by a bit of heartburn.”
“Forget it. Just forget it, Herb. I’ll go pour myself a glass on wine and fill the bird feeder. Then I’ll take a walk and try to relive the joys of the last thirty years.”
“How are you gonna do that?”
“I’ll try to forget we’re married.”
“Tell the truth, Freida. I’ve provided more material for your columns than any other single source.”
“That’s like saying that hemorrhoids are a good thing because they keep the doctors in business. Now pick your socks up off the floor. I’ve got something important to do.”
“Type. ‘Year Thirty-One……Greetings from the Ridge…..”