Humor Magazine

A Henway? Oh, About Four Pounds Or So...

By Pearl
Seems that my parents and Mary have done some sneaky bonding recently...
“When are you picking her up?”
“Who?”
“Mary!” I can hear my mother moving around her kitchen. Putting away the silverware, from the sounds of it, would be my guess. I move the phone from one ear to the other.  “Aren’t you bringing Mary with you for lunch tomorrow?”
“What? When did this happen?”
“Oh, you know,” my mother says vaguely. “We chat. I said you were coming up for lunch and she said she wished she was coming up for lunch and, well, you’ve seen her, haven’t you. All big eyes and – Paul! Close that door! For cryin’ out loud!” She sighs. “Your father enjoys aggravating me.”
And so I pick Mary up for the two hours’ ride north to my parent’s.
She climbs into the passenger seat.
“You look nice,” I say.
She pulls down the sun visor. “I’ll have you know,” she says, smiling at the image she finds in the mirror there, “that I am wearing lipstick just for your mom.”
“Not for me?”
Mary, a woman notoriously good at taking care of everyone but herself, has had chapped lips since we met.
She shakes her head, flips the visor up. “I used to wear it for you, but now I wear it for your mom.”
“Well whoever you’re wearing it for, it looks nice.”
It’s quiet as we let this sink in.
Mary speaks.  “You’re lucky, you know.”
I know what she’s talking about. Mary lost her mother when she was quite young, her father a number of years ago.
“You can –“
“Can I –“
We stop.
I keep my eyes on the road, hands at 10 and 2. “You can use them, if you like.”
Mary stares out the passenger window. “They know stuff, you know,” she says. “Parents and older people. Like how many cups to a quart.” She looks at me. “Do you think your mom knows that?”
“Yes.”
“I’ll bet she makes the best desserts.”
I don’t say anything.
But she does.
“Does she know how many feet to a mile?”
“Maybe not, but I’m pretty sure my dad does.”
This seems to satisfy her. “Seems like a Dad question, doesn’t it,” she murmurs.
I smile. “Hey, and if you’re going to ask my dad questions, be sure to ask him about his collection of literature, in particular his henways.”
Mary frowns. “What’s a henway?”
I smile. My father, the king of the clean joke, is going to love this.
“Oh, Mary,” I say. “Just be sure to ask, and just like that. My dad loves questions.”

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