Tie Rod is worried about getting his peas out and what to get the Big E for Valentine's Day. Last year, he forgot all about Valentine's Day until about 11 in the evening, when she asked him if he had forgotten anything, and Tie Rod bolted to eat the rest of the banana pudding, which he had indeed forgotten.
When she finally told him it was Valentine's Day, he told her he had made her a Valentine and ran out to the garage and nailed a fan belt onto plywood in the shape of a heart. He never could understand why she never put that on a wall in the house.
Big E is hard to buy for. She flea-markets jewelry made out of kidney stones, so doo-dads are out. Her clothes sizes are ever changing.
Tie Rod was brought up in a family where, if a woman got mad at her husband, he went out and bought her a hat and it was all over. She won't wear a hat, saying she is getting to look too much like the queen already.
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Tie Rod told her she was somebody's 4-H project at the Expansion Service, whereupon he lost seven pounds from running from her and she toned up her pecs and abs by waving a rolling pin over her head as she chased.
But, as directed by the president in his Arizona speech, Tie Rod, when he is about to flip the Big E off his cell phone, mutters, "Desperately love you too."
The president wants innovation, and Tie Rod has been trying to come up with some. To get his Sugar Snap patch plowed before Valentine's Day, the mandatory pea-planting day, two things have to happen. First would be a thaw, something Tie Rod thinks may never come. He is a little tired of every year being the hottest and the coldest and the wettest and he wished the jet stream would go back to where it come from. He doesn't know whether to blame global warming on Massey Coal or not.
But after the worst winter since memory, the trouble now is, if you get a thaw, it will be mud, mud, mud.
The second prerequisite to pea planting is to get your ground plowed.
Innovation, thought Tie Rod. So this is what he did. He went down to the store and "let slip" to a local gossip-monger that his nephew Highway had buried cans of cold cash from robbing the Slab Fork Lumber Company in Tie Rod's garden until Highway could get out of prison and come back and get the money. Then, Tie Rod went to Tennessee for two days, and when he got back his garden was dug up from one end to the other.
As one who plants by the signs of the Zodiac, Tie Rod has been beside himself with anxiety since they announced the signs had shifted, turning Virgos into bulls. This shook his faith. Had he been having successful kraut, despite accidently putting it up when the sign was in the bowels? Is ancient wisdom worth nothing? Has the Farmer's Almanac been lying to us for all those years? Does Tie Rod's drugstore calendar contain false doctrine when it comes to the times to plant?
All those changes were as hard on Tie Rod as when they found all those other books of the Bible in those caves that had some weird stuff in them.
His wife is changing, the signs are changing and they come up with new Bible. Tie Rod said he heard The New York Times used to have 200 pages and weigh five pounds, but now has half that much volume. He guesses the Times are a changin' too.
Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney.