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The elephant in the room

Recently someone asked me if all those things I write about really happen to me or if I make them up. I told him, “I live every word; I am not that clever.” I wonder how it is that you live with an elephant in the room for 50 years and then one day you discover it for the first time?

I started writing these articles two years ago as a voice for artists, but I am finding it’s not the artist in me people want to read about, but the elephant in the room I am living with, namely sweet Al.

Al had been given some Christmas money and I didn’t know it and he wasn’t going to tell me. I came home from town and a big six-foot box was sitting in my living room.

I am seeing a certain pattern with Al. When he wants to do something, he hurries up and does it before I can persuade him otherwise. This was no exception. If I would have known he had some extra money, I would have tried to talk him into something we would both enjoy, like granite kitchen cabinet tops.

“Al, what is in this box? Where did it come from?”

Al passed it off as a matter-of-fact, “Oh, I got some money for Christmas from my brother. I bought a 42-inch big screen TV.”

“And where are you putting it?”

“In our bedroom.” Another nonchalant response. He knew this wasn’t going to sit well with me, so he played coy.

“In our bedroom?” I came unglued and bristled. “Our 19-inch TV is just fine and it fits into our beautiful armoire and it stays hidden. I don’t want a big TV in our bedroom. I thought our next big job would be granite on the kitchen cabinets. We’ve lived with plywood kitchen cabinet tops for five years.”

“I knew you were going to say that, I stained the cabinet tops for you and they look fine. In fact, people always say they like the plywood and we should keep it that way. It’s my Christmas money.”

He had a point, it was his money, but I also had a point. I have a beautiful armoire with hand painted cabbage roses which I painted to match our bedspread and it hides the TV.

My next question was, “Will it fit in the cabinet?”

“I think so, it’s 44 inches and the cabinet is 45. I have an inch to spare. I am going to have our son-in-law and the boys help me install it, it looks too complicated.”

Al called the guys and I stewed. The guys arrived and I went to my computer. I needed to do something, I couldn’t watch this undertaking. I could hear them in the other room, discussing and laughing about one thing and another. I thought I better check on them. No telling what they were doing.

The TV wouldn’t fit and they were about to take off one of the doors from the armoire.

My son-in-law said with screwdriver in hand, “We are taking off the door to make it fit and you will have to leave it off so you can use your remote without any problem.”

“Have one door on my armoire? Absolutely not! I am not going to have one door off and the other one on. Just take my cabinet and put it in my studio. Just hang the screen on the wall. Can’t you put the TV in your hunting room?”

“Honey, you know I watch TV in our bedroom. Don’t you want to be with me? I want to be with you. I love you.”

Now he brings up love!

“What does love have to do with it? I’m going upstairs to write.”

The TV was blaring and popcorn was popping in the microwave. I could smell it. Now what were they doing? The TV was hooked up, my two big grandsons built to play football were sprawled all over my bed watching football and eating popcorn. They had moved in for the next big game.

“My bedroom is not a sports bar,” I spouted, still disturbed by the chain of events.

The fun shut down for an instant, the party stopped and one of my grandsons looked up innocently and said, “Grandma, don’t you like it?”

My son-in-law laughed, “When you bristle like that and get out of shape, I know another article is coming on.”

The TV is in the cabinet and both doors are on. It’s a miracle. Al and I sit five feet away from this 42-inch TV. As the kids drive by, they comment, “Grandma and Granddad are watching Dancing with the Stars, they can see the program from the top of the Lower Blanco.”

Come Nascar season in February, Al will be able to see the stitching on Jeff Gordon’s suit and the sweat on his brow. And as the cars go round and round on the track, I am going to be upstairs writing about them. No, I am not that clever to make these things up.

Al surely knows how to dodge bullets. I read this article to Al and he said, “It’s a beautiful TV. Don’t you want our grandsons to come over to watch football games?”

Of course I do. Another good point! Yes, the elephant is in the room and I am living with it. The elephant and the brown chair, it is surely getting crowded.

Final Brushstroke: I am speechless. Another scrimmage and I guess we both won. I’ve got a happy husband who loves me and the grandkids will want to come over to visit.

Artist’s quote

“Laugh at yourself and at life, not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.” Og Mandino, author.