It all started with a simple request.
I wanted chewing gum, that’s all. I wasn’t particular about the brand. I was even flexible with the flavor. I gave him a choice…cinnamon or peppermint. Either would do. I’m not difficult. Just please no spearmint…I really don’t like spearmint. Or the fruity flavors…I don’t like fruity gum. And absolutely not bubble gum…it’s too sugary. It definitely had to be cinnamon or peppermint.
Perhaps I should go back just a bit.
This weekend we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary…we were married exactly one week before Christmas. So Saturday morning, after having already gone to breakfast, our next outing would be to drive up to the country to visit old farmhouses and antique shops. But after breakfast at Waffle House, and nary a toothbrush in sight, I was desperate for a pack of gum. The closest stop was the local pharmacy, so I sent my husband in to brave the holiday aspirin shoppers for a single pack of peppermint or cinnamon gum.
I waited in the car, fumbling with the radio…searching for a station that played all Christmas music all day. Halfway through the first chorus of White Christmas, he came back.
As soon as the door opened, he tossed a box of candy canes and a small tin of Altoids at me.
“They didn’t have cinnamon…or peppermint,” he said.
“How could they not have cinnamon or peppermint?” I asked. And seriously…how could they NOT have cinnamon or peppermint. It was the pharmacy. They have a whole aisle devoted to candy and gum. A whole aisle!
“All they had was spearmint and fruity gum. Have a candy cane.”
I tore open the package of candy canes and broke off the crook to pop it into my mouth. We rode in silence for a few minutes, but my curiosity got the best of me.
“They really didn’t have peppermint gum?”
“None? Not even down the gum aisle?”
It was subtle, but I caught his sideways glance.
“Well? The gum aisle?”
He made that noise. The husband noise. If you have a husband, you know what I mean. It’s a cross between a grumble or a groan and a deep exasperated sigh. They don’t actually say anything…they just make the noise.
“You didn’t go down the gum aisle…did you?”
“There were people everywhere…kids crying for toys…women with coupons…I had to get the hell out of there.”
“So you saw the candy canes and you figured, ‘these are peppermint…I’ll just buy these…she won’t know the difference?’”
I expected him to make the noise again, but he didn’t. He started laughing. Hysterically laughing and nodding his head. “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
I didn’t get any gum…and I somehow went through an entire box of miniature candy canes in an afternoon. But what a great afternoon it was.
And it all started out with a good laugh.