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Dinner is Ready, Age 39

Recently retired from the California Department of Education, Andrew Laufer is writing a book about his life including periods as a butcher's helper, food service worker, construction laborer, animal research assistant, seasonal fire fighter, and janitor. In his youth, he hitch-hiked up and down the coast and out to Colorado numerous times providing context for hundreds of short stories.

My wife, Nancy, had an opportunity to go to Tucson, Arizona for a conference. My sister lived near there, in Sierra Vista, so I decided to join Nancy along with my one-year-old daughter. It was in the middle of summer and it was HOT.

While Nancy was attending her conference, I took my daughter to a museum where it was nice and cool. While carrying her on my shoulders in the museum, she discovered that when she yelped, it echoed a little. This intrigued her and so she kept doing it—yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, to the point of annoying the docent. It didn't bother me at all. Despite my urging to shush, she just kept doing it with utter joy, until the docent asked us to leave. I still remember the look on that old lady's face. So stern and concerned. To me it was no big deal and most people probably thought the same way. Be that as it may, out we went into the heat, while others enjoyed the rest of the tour.

We were in and out of the heat during the entire trip. It seemed downright cold inside with the air conditioning, and constantly going out into the heat and back into the cold must have lowered my resistance to catching a cold. We came back home to Sacramento Friday evening and I was feeling a little off. I worked the next day and the building I was working in had the air conditioning on full blast. I was freezing for hours while working at my desk. By the time I got home that day I was sick and had a fever.

Now, Nancy is not the nurturing type. She never has been, and I knew that when I married her. When I get sick, I'm on my own. Too bad, too sad. No matter how much I've moaned and groaned over the years, she rarely shows much sympathy. True, full grown men should take care of themselves and don't need to be treated like babies, but still, sometimes a little tender loving care is palliative.












Well, when I got home that day, I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well and went straight to my bed to crawl under the covers. Whatever I had was getting worse by the minute and all I could think about was getting warm. I usually made dinner for the both of us and the fact that her routine was disrupted, and she had to make dinner that evening, gave her more reason to disregard my rapidly degenerating condition. After an hour or so, I was half delirious and shivering furiously under the covers. Nancy came down the hall, abruptly opened the door to the bedroom and with a matter of fact demeanor said, "Dinner is ready." then shut the door and was gone. She didn't even give me the opportunity to respond. F-f-fine, I shivered to myself, I'll just l-l-lie here and d-d-d-die.

By the end of the evening, she finally realized how sick I was and a visit to the doctor the next morning revealed that I had pneumonia. Since the seriousness of my illness was confirmed, she was more empathetic to my situation. After all, had we not had access to medical care, I could have died.

Luckily, I'm a healthy guy and after 30 something years of marriage it is apparent that I get sufficient TLC from my lovely wife.

~ Andrew Laufer


















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