Bob never changed

Since I’m working on my column collection, I’m coming across stories about Bob. This one was written in January 1981. I think it shows how Bob never changed. Over all his years on earth, he had an odd sense of humor.

Here’s misery in perspective — January 22, 1981

Days don’t come much more miserable than this. Outside, the wind howled, whipping snow and sleet into a cold lather.

I anxiously waited for my husband to return home. I expected him to be equally as miserable as the weather — cold, wet, and disgusted. So, thinking of him, I warmed some hot chocolate and turned up the thermostat.

Finally, he came in the door. But instead of stomps, groans, and grumbling about the weather, I heard laughter.

“What’s so funny?” I asked. I figured I could use a good laugh to brighten my day, too.

“I blew the van’s radiator hose,” he giggled as he shook the snow off his jacket.

“Oh, that’s too bad…. but what are you laughing at?”

“The radiator hose, on the van… It split right in two… Rotten clear through.” He continued laughing as he removed an icicle from his chin.

Had the pressure of the day finally taken its toll? Had Bob popped his cork, causing everything in his head to come babbling out?

Not wanting to upset him further, I said, “Why don’t you come and sit down. Put your feet up. Rest for a while. And tell me all about it. Start at the beginning… the very beginning.”

“I was going to town to get a tractor part when smoke started pouring out of the back of the van.” He giggled.

“It got worse as I drove. By the time I reached town I couldn’t see out the back window.” He laughed again. “I thought the engine had blown.

“The radiator hose broke… just the hose. Not that bad and I was right by the hardware store… I even had my tools with me and money in my pocket.”

“So?” I waited patiently for him to get to the funny part.

“So, I bought a new hose and fresh anti-freeze and fixed it right there… right in the parking lot.” He smiled.

“So?” There must be a punch line in all this.

“Nothing else… don’t you get it?”

“No. All I understand that you had trouble with the van. But somehow I don’t think that’s funny.”

“Don’t you see? It could have been worse… much worse… It could’ve been the engine… or it could have gone out halfway to town… or when we were broke… or when my tools were in the truck… or when YOU were driving alone…”

“I’m not laughing,” I told him as I lowered the thermostat.

“You don’t understand. The hose… the parking lot… Our luck’s changing… I guess you had to be there to appreciate it.”

“I guess so.” I nodded as I drank his hot chocolate. “I’m glad I wasn’t. I might have laughed myself to death.”

That was my Bob.

Bob relaxing back in the early 1980s.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved