There are days when things just don’t go well. The talking alarm clock stops speaking to me. My cell phone dies during an important conversation. I spill juice on yet another brand new T-shirt. I crack my head on the cupboard above the sink. It’s rainy and dull outside. Yesterday was such a day for me. I was wan, depressed, and limp. Charlie saw the situation and jumped into the breach!

“Ok, what do you want to do this afternoon as a fun diversion?” he asked. I, in my weakened state, could come up with nothing. We had seen all the movies, eaten out once already this week, and thanks to the economy, the budget was shot. I sank a little further down into the chair cushions and stared out the window at the empty bird feeder.

After a few minutes of reflection, he came up with a plan. Charlie’s plans are usually excellent. He knows how to spend a day! Our vacations never falter with Charlie at the healm. So I surrendered to his plan, and we got in the car.

The first stop was the music store. He said, “Wait till you see this; you won’t believe it!” He was right! Inside a darkened studio in the bowels of the store was a large box, more like a cabinet. It had a glass front, and it resembled those fortune telling machines at Coney Island—remember the movie “Big?” Inside the display were two antique accordions. Charlie eagerly pushed a button, and the lights came on inside the box, there was a loud WHOOSHING sound, and then the accordions began to play! As they played, Charlie informed me that this machine was probably the only one like it in the world (understandably, in my opinion, but I kept quiet)! The inventor had seen player pianos and decided to make a “player accordion” machine. The music store owner traded a couple of pianos in order to acquire the machine. Seeing it did cheer me up a little, but I experienced a fleeting stab of sympathy for the music store owner’s wife…

We got back into the car and drove out into the country, and spent a fun half hour shopping for pumpkins. I stepped in some slime, convinced Charlie that doing the corn maze in the rain would not be enjoyable, turned down the chance to go on a hayride (wet hay?), and finally purchased a pumpkin. We tasted some cider, bought some Apple Butter, and got back in the car. I was starting to cheer up!

The next stop was “Bed, Bath and Beyond.” Charlie chose this, because, as he told me, “I thought that shopping around would make you happy.” This man KNOWS HIS WIFE. We browsed, we tried on “Snuggies,” and discussed the merits and drawbacks of inflatable beds. We then discovered that in the front of the store was a MASSAGE CHAIR DEMONSTRATION set up. We tried them out! For twenty minutes, the two old folks sat in those chairs, and let me tell you, that SHIATSU setting really works! Picture us: Charlie in his corduroy pants and baseball hat, me in my jeans and Weight Watchers sweatshirt, sitting in the massage chairs, side by side. In the front of the store. In a mall. Probably two hundred people walked by and saw us earnestly testing the equipment…

Feeling energized, we returned to the car. After driving for about a half hour, looking at all the construction in the downtown area of Dayton, we began to feel a bit peckish, and so we decided to have dinner. Charlie gave me my choice of my two FAVORITE restaurants: MCL Cafeteria, which for all of you out-of-towners, is a cafeteria habituated by geriatrics, BUT IT HAS GREAT FOOD, REALLY! The other choice was my favorite pizza restaurant. Remember, we are operating under an austerity budget. Pizza won out, and we had a fun dinner. I even had a glass of wine.

By now, the trials of earlier in the day had been forgotten. Upon arriving home, we sat down to a full evening of Tivoed selections. One of my favorites, about burly tattooed men rescuing chickens in the Bronx, was on, followed by a show with one of Marion’s clients in it. Something about long-dead people being reunited with their families.

So what started out dismally ended up happily. My conclusion, in reflecting upon all of this, is this:


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