She drinks beer with me. That might seem like a little thing to you. It’s not. During football season, it’s everything. I need a beer-sipping partner when watching games. One who doesn’t smell bad or put his feet on my coffee table.
She’s smart. I once saw her worm her way out of a traffic violation. She turned on her charm, giggling for the deputy. I sat in the passenger seat, innocent as Helen Keller. The officer kept giving me sideways glances, as though he wanted to say, “C’mon honey, let’s ditch the stiff.”
She’s a Scorpio. Admittedly, I don’t know much about zodiacs. But, we get scorpions in our house. And, from what I know about them: (a) you can’t kill them, (b) not even with a twelve-gauge.
She’s strong. I’ve seen my wife move a refrigerator by herself. After I had surgery, she muscled the new appliance inside. Then, she cracked open a beer with her teeth, and powdered her nose.
We’ve traveled the World’s Longest Yard Sale a few times—three thousand miles of Southern rust and garbage. I watched her whittle the price on a pair of red cowgirl boots using nothing but her sugary accent. The boots were twenty bucks; she paid a nickel. The man asked for her number. So, she winked and said, “On a scale of one to ten, I’m an eleven.”
She can outfish me, outrun me, out-talk, out-argue, and outsmart me. She’s slugged me with a baseball bat once—it was an accident. She landed me in the emergency room twice—also accidental. And she has beaten me so hard at Texas Hold’em that I still owe her nearly eight hundred thousand dollars.
She makes chicken soup when I’m sick. I’m talking the real stuff—fresh poultry, plucked clean. Like Mama’s. And she can toss together food fit for company using nothing but hominy, butter, and cheese.
And when the doctors told us they found something suspicious growing in her, it felt like a punch to the face. I lost nine pounds over three months, waiting on tests. And when they finally told us it was benign, I felt like I’d been born again.
Today’s Saturday. She’ll make handmade biscuits, and we’ll eat them with Conecuh County sausage. We’ll sit on a porch, read the paper, listen to the crickets. I’ll go back for seconds. Without her I’m empty. I love her more than my own damn life.
And it might not seem like much to other folks, but when the game comes on, we’ll be together.
Drinking cold beer.