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Who was that (un)masked man?

I put the tree up yesterday. That’s a little early for me. I like to do it on the Saturday before the First Sunday in Advent, but this weekend is unusually busy for us, so I moved it ahead a day. One must be flexible about these things.

As I was tossing on the last bit of tinsel – (I recycle my tinsel year to year. Haven’t had to buy any in over a decade. Rather proud of that.) – a stiff breeze sounded the little wind chimes we have at the front of the house. I says to The Mister, I says, “Wind chimes are tinkling.”

He looked up from his crossword.

“Too loud for you there, Missus?”

“No no. It’s fine.”

He smiled broadly.

“Cuz if it’s too loud, I can take care of that, you know.”

“Oh I know,” I smiled back. “And that won’t be necessary, thank you.”

Back a few years, I complained to The Mister that I hardly ever heard the small wind chimes, and we should get a larger set so we could enjoy the gentle, melodious tintinnabulation as we drifted off to sleep of a summer’s night. It was all very Zen in my mind. And not long after that, we found a set at a yard sale and wasted no time hanging them outside the bedroom window.

About midnight a breeze came up and blasted through the chimes with a mighty clang. I sat bolt upright in bed.

“Pa!”

“What?”

“I think I’ve been shot!” I said grabbing my chest.

Another clang outside the window. We looked at each other and said, “Oh. The wind chimes.”

I waited a moment. All was quiet. I carefully laid me down to sleep. But before I could get the other eye closed, another crash. “What is going on out there?” I says.

“Pendulum’s too light,” The Mister replied. “I’ll weight it down with something so only the stronger breezes will stir it.”

“That would be lovely,” I says. “But in the meantime, I’m going to sack out in the living room cuz I ain’t gonna get any sleep here tonight.” And off I went, pillow and blanket in tow.

Just as I was snuggling down again, I heard the back door close.

“Well, for heaven’s sake! He’s gone out to take care of the chimes now? What a dear man! Well, the least I can do is turn on the front porch light so he can see what he’s doing.” And, feeling every inch the helpful spouse, I proceeded to do just that, then tucked myself back in.

A few moments later, the back door opened again. And my beloved said, as he walked over to the couch, “Did you just turn on the porch light?”

“Ah, no need to thank me, my good man,” I beamed.

“Yeah. Wasn’t going to. You do know I was out there in my underwear, right?”

“WHAT?!” I jumped up on the back of the couch for a look and sure enough, he was standing there in his skivvies. “No, I didn’t know you were out there in your underwear! Whatever possessed you to do that?”

“Well, I didn’t want to take time to find my pants. And it’s dark out there. And it’s late. And nobody could see anything until YOU turned on the floodlights!”

“Whoa! This is MY fault?! Uh-uh! I was doing you a good turn! I was being helpful! How was I supposed to know you’d taken leave of your senses and…” I couldn’t continue. We were laughing so hard tears were starting to roll down our cheeks. When I could breathe I said, “I’ll bet you set some sort of land speed record running to the back door.”

“Oh, Superman would have been proud,” he said, wiping his eyes.

Thereafter, every mention of wind chimes conjures up the story of that night. And that’s how it is in families. Stories become immortal, to be told and enjoyed over and over. And if the narrative relates a time when perhaps you weren’t exactly dressed for success, or tells of a seemingly good deed gone awry, we should take it in good grace.

One must be flexible about these things.

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