I am one of those men who likes to live on the edge. By that I
mean that I do not fill my pickup with gasoline until the needle
of the fuel gauge has dipped well into the red area. The red, of
course, means danger.
This habit of mine does not go unnoticed by my wife, The Queen
B. Wives do not miss much. She is constantly reminding me of the
foolishness of my actions or my inactions. She is forever telling
me that I am going to run out of gas one day and then I would be
sorry. I listen to her. Our wedding vows stated that I had to
love, honor and listen to her. I listen and then I wait until that
needle ventures into the red before fueling up. I was on a pizza
run to Hartland the other day when the old pickup sputtered and
ran out of gas. It really wasn't my fault. I think the fuel gauge
must have gone bad. That happens a lot.
I could hear my wife's voice telling me how sorry I would be If
I ran out of gas. I knew that I would truly be sorry only if she
found out that I had run out of gas. I could just hear her,
"Honestly, if Allen's brains were gasoline, he wouldn't have
enough to prime the lawn mower." Or, "Allen, the village called,
it is missing its idiot."
My pickup was resting right at the end of Pat Pending's
driveway. His driveway is an extremely long one, even longer than
sitting through a Minnesota Vikings' game. Pat is our neighborhood
inventor. He has more patents than Carter used to have Little
Liver Pills. Pat's wife is named Pat, too. Some years back, she
was runner-up in the Miss North Dakota contest. She would have
won, but her tractor broke down during the talent competition. I
walked up the drive and knocked on the door of Pat's shop. I knew
he'd be in there inventing something, he always is. Pat came to
the door. He greeted me and then he had to show me his latest
invention, a lawn mower engine that runs on toenail clip-pings.
Then he had to give me a look at an alarm clock that uses an
electric cattle prod to get people out of bed and then apologizes.
The U.S. Marine Corps is interested in it if he can remove the
apology part. Pat has a lot of great inventions. I finally got
around to asking him for some gas and he told me to help myself. I
told him that I was sorry to bother him, but not as sorry as I
would be if my wife, The Queen B, found out that I had run out of
gas. I had another minor problem and that was that I didn't have a
gas can. Pat Pending didn't have one either. All of his went into
his building the world's largest lock washer. Can you believe that
"Good Morning America" still hasn't come out to take a look at
that? I mean it is the world's largest lock washer.
Pat and I looked around in all of his junk and the only thing
we found that could possibly hold gasoline was what looked like an
old bed-pan. It looked like an old bed- pan because it was an old
bed-pan. I took that bedpan and filled it with gas. I told Pat
that I'd be right back and began hoofing it back to my stalled
truck. The Pending's dog, Phideaux, a French poodle, accompanied
me. I'm sure it was worried that I was swiping the bed-pan.
The driveway had become even longer in my absence. I hiked as
fast as a man can who is carrying a bedpan full of gas. I got to
the pickup, removed the gas cap and began to pour the gas from the
bedpan into the gas tank. I was hurrying to get the gas in before
my wife learned of my foolishness.
While I was busy doing this, one of Hartland's Lutheran
ministers, Reverend Pastor, drove by. I nodded at the passing car,
quite happy that it wasn't my wife. The good Reverend hadn't gone
far past me when he hit his brakes. He put his car into reverse,
backed up to me and watched as I poured the contents of the bedpan
into the gas tank of my pickup. Reverend Pastor rolled down the
window of his car and said, "Now that is what I call faith."
- RR1 Box 56A Hartland, MN 56042
Al Batt is a writer and a storyteller who lives on a farm in
Minnesota. He writes three newspaper columns a week, does a radio
show, does a weekly program for public television and is a tour
leader. He has done commentary for public radio and is an avid
(Please do not remove the author's name, address, email address
or personal information from this article! Thank you!)
Sent by Loren Moore