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Three Little Words

Story ID:7862
Written by:Kristine Lowder (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:WA USA
Year:2011
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Three Little Words

You learn things when you’ve racked up nearly thirty years on the old marriage-o-meter. You learn what is and isn’t an appropriate wife gift. It took my husband, aka, “Snuggle Bunny,” awhile to figure this out.

It was Valentine’s Day. Snuggles brought home an exquisitely wrapped box. Red hearts danced a polka against a silvery background of sweetly confetti-ed cupids. Satin ribbons, cascading over the box like a foaming pink waterfall, cradled a lace bow the size of a Buick. My heart skipped a beat. Then two.

I poised like a cat stalking a canary and tore into the gift wrap. I unearthed an Imperial Pulse-A-Matic Osterizer blender. I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or just burst.

“Look, its got an unconditional five-year warranty,” Snuggles crowed, grabbing the mechanical monstrosity like a kid in a candy store. “And see here? You can cream, crush, grind, stir, puree, whip, mix, blend, frappe and liquefy. All at the touch of a button!” He demonstrated. “Is this thing great or what?”

“I’m gonna frappe you” I grated.

His face fell. “Is it the wrong brand?”

Silence.

“Don’t you like it? I thought you needed a blender.” The Ice Age returneth. Conceding defeat, Snuggle Bunny put down the blender beast, took my hand and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I snapped, jerking my hand back.

Pressing his luck, Snuggles continued, “Well, something’s wrong. What is it?”

You gotta give Snugs credit. He’s learned that a wifely “nothing” always means something, usually Something Big.

Later, when I figured Snuggles was sufficiently repentant, I launched into a full-scale rendition of what is and is not an acceptable Valentine’s Day wife gift, complete with diagrams, Technicolor, and tap dance.

“I want a personal gift from you,” I whined, “not something I’d get from a neighbor or a casual friend.” I explained that kitchen gadgets and anything with a motor is paramount to a husbandly gift-giving anathema. “How would you like it,” I quavered, “if I got you a new power drill for our anniversary?” He lit up like a neon sign. “Well, maybe that’s not a good example,” I muttered, back-pedaling at the speed of light.

Yea verily, it’s hard work to keep a marriage–or any relationship. I’m reminded of an interview Barbara Walters did with actor Charlton Heston. Referencing Heston’s marital longevity, Walters asked, “What’s your secret?”

Heston smiled and held up three fingers. “Three little words,” he quipped. Walters paused and leaned forward to catch Heston’s next words of wisdom. He continued, “I was wrong.”

Actually, Chuck’s got it right. “I was wrong” isn’t a bad adage for mending a broken friendship or reconciling after a misunderstanding. Ditto restoring broken relationships with colleagues, neighbors, siblings, children, spouses, and most living human beings. “I was wrong” can also go a long way toward cooling simmering tensions, stanching Mount Vesuvius anger or thawing Siberian-tundra type hearts. “I was wrong “can be a big step toward reversing a wrong into a right.

Snuggles put those three little words to good use after the blender fiasco. In fact, he went a few better. For Christmas he bought me my favorite fragrance, without even a teensy-weensy reminder on my part. For our anniversary? Dinner out at the swankiest Italian restaurant in town. My birthday? My very own Jane Austen chick flick so I can avoid endless reviews of Sergeant Stryker and The Sands of Iwo Jima. And for the pièce de rèsistance, Valentine’s Day? I just said, “black.” The details are none of your business.