This is about the little things people say. A few of them that I witnessed recently, anyway.
For instance, my wife and I were eating lunch in a Chinese restaurant after church, and we each got a bowl of ice cream for dessert. I dived into mine a bit too rapidly, and before I knew it, my head was in the grip of a glacier.
After I was able to talk, I gasped, “Brain freeze.”
“I wonder,” JoAn said, “whether the severity of brain freeze depends on the size of a person’s brain?”
“All I can tell you,” I replied, trying to brag, “is that my head hurt really, really bad for a long while.”
She didn’t buy it.
“How about you?” I asked. “How bad was your brain freeze?”
She waved one hand quickly past her face and said, “Pfffttt!”
No matter how much she downplays it, JoAn is the brains of the family. Always has been, always will be. She is sharp.
The other night, she was reading as I fiddled with my phone. Neither of us was paying attention to the television.
“Did you hear that?” she asked suddenly.
She picked up the remote control and backed up the program a bit. The network announcer said something about a new series debuting that night: “Coming up next, premiering with an all-new episode …”
“If it’s a brand-new show, how could the episode be anything but all new?” JoAn said.
She had a point. These days, you can’t trust television to tell you the truth.
Or radio. A day or two later, I had a radio talk show on as I typed on the computer. Someone said the American Civil War had carnage “unlike anything before or since.”
Now, the Civil War was bloody, I’ll grant (if you’ll pardon that word). More than 600,000 people died in the war. But millions have died in other wars. Something like 15 million perished in World War I. Some estimates are as high as 70 million deaths for World War II.
Because I know people are likely to say something dumb when they open their mouths, I try not to speak in public. Last week, though, I was privileged to talk to the Sheffield Fellowship at First Baptist Church in North Augusta.
Jean Elam had been kind enough to invite me to speak about myself and the newspaper, and the members had plenty of questions and comments. I thank them one and all.
On top of that, they fed my wife and me. There was no ice cream or brain freeze, but they served the best caramel cake I’ve ever eaten.
I’ve long offered my wife the chance to write this column so she can give her side of the stories I’ve told about her over the years. All those folks at First Baptist can testify that I gave her the opportunity to make the speech for me, too.
It’s too bad she declined, because that was going to be my anniversary gift. Now I’ll have to think of something else.