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You’re late!

No, I’m not.

You’ll never make it.

Yes, I will.

This is some of the constant banter between my husband and me in our house. This particular exchange took place this morning as I walked into the kitchen to get my purse for church. My husband is pushing the envelope with his “No church during the summer” rule. He was raised Episcopalian. He says Episcopalians don’t go to church during the summer. I thought the first day of fall already came and went but I can’t keep up with these things anymore. Anyway, The football game is on at noon today.

I call him on my way home from church. I’m stopping at the store. Do we need anything else besides hamburger buns?

No, he says.

How about if I make some onion dip? You know in honor of the game and all? It’s my dad’s recipe. I must be missing him. I don’t really eat potato chips and dip except for sentimental reasons. He would make it on game day. Or on Saturday night when I was growing up. All it is is a block of softened cream cheese, chopped onions, Wortschester sauce with a little milk and salt mixed together.

He’d eat the entire thing himself without gaining a pound or worrying about cholesterol. I made it for him after I was the grown up and I wanted to make it today because it reminded me of him.

I don’t like that dip. Todd said. I don’t see what you guys see in it. I prefer the French Onion dip you buy in a container.

Well, I’ll get a little of that and make a little of the other.

I don’t really think I should be eating chips and dip.

Okay, how about taco dip? Dad could polish that off too.

Get some if you want it. Anything else you want to get for your dad?

…Okay…Um, I’ll see you in a bit.

The entrance to the store was lined up with pumpkins. I had just told Todd yesterday we should get a pumpkin. I stopped to look, but then went on. Getting pumpkins is something we do together. Or should.

After tasting the cheese samples and picking out a Blue for $8.00 off that came with a free baguette, I spent a fare amount of time with the flowers, trying to decide which three bunches to put together for $12.

I was standing in line with a cart full of food when I realized I had no hamburger buns. I excused myself from the line and maneuvered my cart back around to the bakery in hopes of finding soft buns. Todd prefers soft buns. I did a gentle squeeze test on several bags before tossing a bag in my cart labeled, Hamburger Buns, knowing full well they weren’t going to be soft enough. He had told me yesterday to just buy Pepperidge Farm, but I worry about preservatives.

I was helping bag as a text popped up on my phone. Are you alright?

I texted back. I couldn’t decide on which flowers and forgot the buns. But I forgot to hit send. This meant he was hungry and I was late.

I love game day in the fall. I don’t watch the game much but I love the ceremony around it. The sense of everyone coming together, liked-minded, voting for our team. It’s a good neighborly kind of feeling.

So, you are okay! Todd said walking in the front door with Fannie just as I finished putting away the dog food.

Yes, I am. What? I texted you. I’m not THAT late, I said knowing I took way longer than I should have to pick up some hamburger buns.

I was getting hungry. I thought you’d be home.

You’re a big boy! You could eat something. I said knowing that wasn’t the point. He was waiting for me so we could eat lunch together.

I did. I had cheese curds and Triscuits.

They had pumpkins but I didn’t get one, I said taking a new approach. I thought we could do that together. Or take Fannie together for her first pumpkin. See how much I love you? I thought, but didn’t say.

You didn’t wait for me to walk Fannie to Stone Creek for the first time. You didn’t wait for me to take her to the lake the first time.

Seriously? You’re going to make me feel guilty about this? Did you start the grill?

For what?

For the hamburgers!

I thought that was for later.

What? What are we going to have for lunch? I have corn on the cob. I told you that.

You don’t communicate well.

I don’t communicate well?

You live in your own little world.

No, you don’t communicate well. I blurted back knowing I do live in my own little world, and had spent a little longer than anticipated in the flower department. Time flies, you know? I can fry the hamburgers, I said.

No, I’ll start the grill.

I’m not hungry anymore. I need a walk. I’m going to Hollander. I’ll sit outside and order a glass of wine and a burger there. In peace!

That’s fine with me if you want to do that.

Grrr…If you came to church with me we would be on the same schedule!

I’ll start the grill. Oh, wait. You still have to make the corn. I’ll wait.

I put the water on to boil, shucked the corn, poured a glass of wine and sliced a Vidalia. The one good thing about all this is that old dog can’t hear and didn’t get upset about me raising my voice, and leave the room like he always used to do. He snoozed on peacefully in the corner under the table, while puppy Fannie chased cat Mary around the house anytime she jumped down off the chair.

How many burgers should I make? I asked.

I don’t know. They’re harder to cook if they’re too small. Just flatten them out.

I formed the patties and flattened them out. My heart melted as I watched my husband out the window at the grill watching the game on his phone. What was all this about?

Marriage is a delicate balance of love, understanding, love, understanding and love. Kind of just like raising a puppy. It all comes together with love and understanding.

And so we had burgers together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Todd watched the game and I read the Times while Sam slept under the table and Fannie chased Mary around the house anytime she jumped down off the chair…

Photo: Sarah x Sharp, Unsplash

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