My mother-in-law is watching television, sipping a milkshake. I’m sitting with her.
She’s slurping so that I can hardly hear the television.
It’s just as well. The folks on TV are hollering at each other about political issues, mass shootings, patriotism, and weather conditions.
My mother-in-law changes the channel and slurps louder.
Different network. Different newscasters. Same five-dollar issues. She changes it again. More shouting. More shameless slurping.
She flips the channel.
The Home Shopping Network advertises commemorative American-flag lapel pins made from recycled cellphone batteries. Only $19.99. Call now.
My mother-in-law turns the television off. She slurps her milkshake so hard the ceiling is about to cave in.
“You know,” says Mother Mary—the sophisticated voice of 1958, and all-around model American. “TV sucks.”
Truer words have seldom been spoken.
Once upon a time, I enjoyed the idiot box. I don’t anymore. The faces on television talk too much about the gruesome and repulsive. They make commentaries only on things they hate.
I wish more people talked about things they loved.
Like daisies. Why aren’t folks talking about those?
Earlier today, I pulled over to pick some. I got carried away and picked a whole armful. I wrapped the bundle of stems with duct tape and tossed the bouquet onto my dashboard.
I don’t even know who I picked them for.
You know what else I love? The late great Don Williams. I heard him singing about a woman named Amanda on the radio. I turned it up. The lyrics made me think about a woman I love.
A few more things I love: Kathryn Tucker Windham, bottle trees, Magnolia Springs, the color yellow, anything made of oak, slow-moving trains, Hank Williams, American buffalos, and breakfast.
I love the box of family photographs in my closet. Sometimes, I look at them and revisit black-and-white ancestors I never knew.
I love coffee—black and strong. Hashbrown casserole from Cracker Barrel. And my honorary Unkle Kenny. I like cheap beer. I love baseball during the summertime.
Summer. God. I love summer.
I met my wife in summer. She was wearing pink. She smelled like citrus. We went to a waterpark while we were dating. We rode waterslides and drank fruity drinks that cost an arm and a leg.
I was embarrassed in my god-awful bathing suit. I drank too many fruity drinks and told her I loved her.
I do love her. I love our car rides together. Our early suppers. I like our conversations before we fall asleep.
Yeah. I know life isn’t perfect. I’m no fool. How could I forget? The twenty-four-hour news channels are here to remind me of how bloody it is.
Even so, I don’t buy it. At least not all the way.
If you ask me, this place is a lot happier than the angry folks on TV claim. I believe it’s more than bad headlines.
It’s Andy Griffith reruns, kids dressed like cowboys for Halloween, the mighty Sepulga, Babe Ruth games at sunset, anything that barks or wags a tail, old photographs, and vanilla milkshakes slurped by elderly women who watch QVC.
I think the point I’m trying to make is:
These daisies are for you.