Friday Funday

When trying to decide what to write about for today’s blog, I decided to bypass all of the horrors of the war between Israel and Hamas. We see and hear enough about that on the news, and I can only say that my heart goes out to all the innocent civilians caught up in the war. If you care to learn the history of the conflict that has gone on since 1948, give a listen to todays The Daily Podcast that has an interview with David K. Shipler, a former Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times. Shipler wrote the Pulitzer-prize winning book, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land, that chronicles the lives and disputes between Israelis and Palestinians since that fateful war so many years ago.

Today, I decided that perhaps we could all just use a light-hearted read and perhaps a chuckle or two.

Recently I came across clippings of some of the columns that I used to write for a Dallas suburban newspaper. Some of those columns have been compiled into my humorous memoir A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, but not all of them found their way into the book. While reading my offering, keep in mind that the columns were written eons ago. Enjoy!

Cover image for A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck by Maryann Miller. A scraggly tomato plant is in a can decorated with a decal of a bicycle with a red ribbon around the top.

My husband insists that the last good idea I ever had was not buying an Edsel. While he’s right on one count – I’ve never owned an Edsel – he’s undeniably wrong on the second count – that was not my last good idea.

It was my idea not to have any more kids after the twins.

I thought of having a sock-swap long before Erma Bombeck made it fashionable.

It was my idea to not put carpeting in the bathroom.

And following right on the heels of all that brilliance comes my latest idea, a kid-swap. If a sock swap can solve the age-old problem of what to do with the leftovers after our washing machine finishes lunch, a kid swap might solve the age-old problem of how to get our kids to do their chores.

After all, it’s a proven fact that a kid will work twice as hard. and twice as long, to impress anyone except his parents. The same kid that I have to put a stick of dynamite under before he’ll pick up his dirty clothes will cheerfully work his fingers to the bone for a neighbor.

That same kid will be across the street mowing the lawn and pulling weeds while I take my life in my hands just stepping into the jungle in our front yard to get the mail.

In talking this idea over with a friend, we agreed that a kid swap might just be the best thing to come along since disposable diapers and permanent press. We could all meet in the supermarket parking lot and line our kids up with signs giving pertinent information, such as: This one’s a mathematical genius. Mundane things like making a bed can stymie him for a week, but in thirty minutes he can balance your checkbook and tell you exactly how much money you have left to buy him a bicycle.

Or: This one works well on his own as long as he doesn’t get sidetracked by playing with the spiders that have nested in his pajama drawer.

Or: This one is very handy in the kitchen as he really likes to hang around with food. But never leave him alone to prepare dinner unless you’re willing to order pizza for the rest of the family. And watch him carefully if you do.

Who knows, maybe in a kid swap I might get some kids who will do their chores so well that I’ll notice right off won’t have to nag until I’m croaking like a frog.

I might even get really lucky and get some kid who will show some appreciation for all the things I do for him. Like saying “thank you” when I fish him out of the dumpster after he falls in trying to fish out aluminum cans.

That’s all from me for today, folks. Whatever you have planned for the weekend, I hope it is a good one, filled with friends and family and lots of fun.

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