The Fruits of Love

Originally published in the Chesterfield Observer – February 2005

 

St. Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and that calls for a love story. Like all love stories, this one begins with a good bachelor party – mine. And it doesn’t end there.

It was 11 years ago and the best bachelor party I’d ever attended. For this, I thank my brother Ken, his meticulous planning and his utter disregard for the value of the security deposit he’d put down to secure a large conference room at a nearby hotel. The observance included several kegs, along with equipment for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor sports, including whiffle ball, Nerf football, Frisbee and lawn darts (the last two actually ended up as part of the same game).

During the festivities, my friend Donnie approached, hefting a large melon of some sort in one hand. “You know what this is?” Donnie asked, grinning.

“No,” I mumbled.

“This here’s something you’re gonna get real familiar with,” Donnie drawled. “This here’s a honeydew melon.”

I stared at him blankly, not just because I didn’t understand, but because I was staring blankly at everyone at this point.

So he threw it at me.

I didn’t catch it then, and I haven’t done a great job getting a handle on it since: the Honey-Do List.

I really don’t give the Honey-Do List the attention it deserves. I’ve never finished the attic (but in my defense, I didn’t start the attic). I haven’t sealed the deck in a while or painted the porch. It might sound like I’m lazy, but in fact, I’m just religious.

See, I believe God invented money for a reason. And that reason is the Honey-Do List. It’s not just me, either. My friend Darryl, who is of a different faith than I, shares my core tenet, believing God invented money to hire guys to take care of his lawn. Ironically, Darryl lives in the West End, where giant houses are packed so tightly that Darryl needs a lawn service like Charlie Brown needs a hair stylist. Regardless, Darryl does not store up the fleeting treasures of this world. Instead, he gives them to the lawn service so he can go play golf.

Who am I to question God’s wisdom in this matter? Unfortunately, it is often the holiest who are least understood – in my case, by my wife, Stacy. She disagrees with my interpretation and has on the rarest of occasions even implied ever so obliquely that my religious fervor might be closer to sloth than saintliness.

Yet Stacy loves me. Even after 11 years, two houses, and dozens or perhaps hundreds of Honey-Do Lists that have yellowed and wilted and crumbled away on the bulletin board, with not a single task crossed out, she still loves me.

And to her credit, I have never once come home from work to find a van parked out front bearing the slogan, “Handyman Inc.: We do the Honey-Do jobs that your honey won’t do.” (They might as well add “if you know what I mean” to the end of that marketing gem.)

Yes, it’s true love, despite all my faults (including my deep spirituality). We’ve thrown off the curse of the melon that was hurled at me 11 years ago, and we remain happily married. It’s a real-life love story and a fitting tribute to the potency of St. Valentine (and the power of money).

 

Retrospective Notes for The Fruits of Love

  • Today, as I edit this essay, Stacy and I have been married for 22 years and one day.
  • I have backslid a little bit from my deep spirituality, getting a little better at the Honey-Do List, but not enough for a reasonable wife to be pleased.
  • Yet Stacy has stuck with me, against all odds (as in, the betting odds set by my friends pre-marriage), and I am the luckiest guy in the world.

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Chuck Hansen’s books are available at Amazon.com: Nose-Sucker Thingees, Weeds Whacking Back & Cats in the Bathtub (a collection of humor essays) and Build Your Castles in the Air: Thoreau’s Inspiring Advice for Success in Business (and Life) in the 21st Century