Marsha and humble September 30, 2007




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Below is a rough outline of the rants from The humble Farmer radio show week of August 12, 2012




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1. If youíve seen me on television, you might get the impression that Iím quite a natty dresser. I spare no expense to look good for you, my viewers. But my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, is from Connecticut, where they have a different standard. And one day she asked me why I always wore such ratty clothes. I said, ďClothes donít amount to nothing. Itís the body inside that counts.Ē And she said, ďOh, donít make it any worse than it already is.Ē`

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2. My wife, Marsha, is the Almost Perfect Woman. When youíre been single for 51 of your 69 years, you know how scary some women can be, because youíve had the opportunity to read the service manuals on several different models. For some reason that Iíve never understood, some women canít just say what they have to say. They look at you and say, ďWeíve got to have a talk.Ē So one day I thanked Marsha because she had never said to me, ďRobert --- weíve got to have a talk.Ē And she said, ďTalk. What good would it do to have a talk with you? You donít hear half of what I say --- and I canít tell what you do hear because you donít say anything. You always say that nothing is worth discussing unless itís a life or death situation or if somebody is going to lose a limb. Youíre just like my father.Ē That can happen when you marry a younger woman --- her father usually is just about your age.

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3. Booth Tarkington wrote Penrod in 1913. Chapter 19 is a litany of the things Penrod consumed in one afternoon. Candy, lobster croquettes, an extrodinarily large pickle, a glass of raspberry lemonade, a box of sardines, and a half pint of lukewarm cider. Mug in hand, a gentle glow radiating toward his surface from various centers of activity deep inside him, he then ate a slice of watermellon, a bag of peanuts, a box of popcorn larded with partially boilded molasses, three waffles thickly powdered with sugar, a slab of Neapolitan ice-cream, and two and one half weniers. Because you might be eating right now, Iím not going to tell you what happened next. But Penrodís lack of intestinal fortitute came to mind the other night when, for the first time in our marriage, my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, was suddenly struck down. She never gets sick, so I couldnít believe it was the flu and I asked her what she had eaten since supper. Do you believe peanuts, popcorn, a large Dairy Queen chocolate sundae that a friend had left in our freezer, and a diet coke? Just the diet coke would have finished me.

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4. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and I were looking at a DVD movie on one of those little computer disks the other night. Marshaís buddy gave her a yearís subscription to Netflix. And I read on the screen that if you copy the movie on this DVD computer disk the FBI will batter down the doors to your home, you will be fined $250,000 and you will go to jail for five years. A good friend of mine got in a drunken brawl and blew a man away. Bam. He only served three years for killing a man but I would have to serve five if I copied a movie. Years from now, people will think of our era as that transitional period when a manís life was no longer worth as much as a plastic disk containing a Spiderman movie.

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5. For some reason that I have only recently begun to understand, my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and I get invited to a lot of art show openings. Although the art world certainly realizes by now that we are not patrons, we apparently provide the extra bony elbows that are required at a well-packed successful show, so we go just to help out at as many as we can. I especially like these art shows because all of the people stand in the middle of the floor drinking wine while looking around to see who is there which makes it easy to walk around the four walls and look at the paintings.

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6. My friend Sandy has a beautiful daughter who is getting married soon. I said that the daughter is beautiful, and she is, but she also has that extra long term lasting inner beauty that you canít see and that you only become aware of after youíve known her for a while. Which makes Sandyís daughter very much like my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman. Sandy said that they are presently planning the wedding, and because Sandy is a very smart man I have no doubt that his daughterís wedding will be just like the one Marsha and I had 14 or so years ago. Perhaps you were at our wedding, but in case you werenít, and in case you are also getting ready to get married, you should know that there is lot of planning and actual on-site preparation that can exhaust you. This is what you have to do to prepare for a wedding. First decide where on your backyard you plan to have the ceremony. We were lucky, because Gramp Wiley had just built a new doorstep for his trailer and had thrown the old one away. So we simply dragged the old doorstep over to our back yard so we could stand on that. Next we wrote up an invitation that said that we were getting married, I canít remember now what day it was, but you put the date and time in there. And you say that everyone is invited to a pot luck wedding and to bring food. And of course you have to put your address in there so your friends and the idly curious can find it and then you run that wedding invitation in all the newspapers so that everyone knows about it. People who say that weddings happen by themselves and require no planning donít know what theyíre talking about. You have to put your ad in all the newspapers to invite everyone to come and to bring food and you have to get a minister. Because I married a widow Marsha simply recycled the minister sheíd used the first time which saved us a bother. Then you get a mess of sawhorses and 4 by 8 sheets of plywood and that makes your tables which you put out on the lawn to hold the food. Around 300 people showed up at our wedding and everyone seemed to have a great time. And if you have the right kind of friends, youíll have enough food left over to last you a couple of weeks. You can see why more and more people are tying the knot that way. It doesnít cost you anything. No one feels slighted because everyone is invited. We even had an auction afterwards, that was written up in the Maine Antique Digest with photographs, and what we sold at the auction paid for the ads in the newspapers, so we broke even on the deal. Oh, and our marriage has already lasted 14 years. Iíve been to some expensive weddings that didnít produce a marriage lasting past two children. Tell me if you had more fun at your wedding.

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7. My project for this week is hooking up the telephone line in our bedroom for my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman. There is a telephone outlet in the bedroom but it doesnít work and I canít remember how that outlet got there. Our house was built in 1811 so the outlet isnít part of the original construction. I know I put that outlet in there, but I canít figure out how I did it. Iím probably going to have to run another line in, but Iím going to sleep on it for a while. If you are lucky, you are able to think about projects without rushing into them, because in some households there are people wielding great power who want it done now. Do you know who Iím talking about? Donít think about it --- just do it. John told me that he started to restore a Volkswagen for his daughterís high school graduation. But John hasnít finished it yet and sheís now 29 and has a three year old son. Does that tell you something about a manís propensity for procrastination --- or is it an indication of his daughterís struggle with our educational system?

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8. Are we born incompetent or is it thrust upon us? After 20 years of being married to Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, I now wonder how I survived my 20 years between 34 and 54 as a bachelor. I might now be compared to an appendage that has atrophied from lack of use because I no longer know how to do anything. What do you suppose would happen to me if I ran through a load of wash and hung it on the line? There is no way on this green earth that I would do it right. If youíre married to a Type A woman you know what happens when you try to help by making the bed. Yes. She tears it apart and makes it right, with the corners tucked in and the sheet folded down at the top --- even though Martha Stewart couldnít tell the difference when the bedspread is on. You finally give up because she says it is easier for her to do it right the first time than it is to tear your work apart and then do it over again. Mow the lawn and she mows it again the same evening with the blade set down to the dirt. Help her with the dishes? Only if you do want trouble in your marriage. You might have heard some of our young so-called experts bleating the mantra, ďYou have to work at a marriage. Marriage takes a lot of work and effort.Ē This is not true. I never worked at our marriage and I never will. For 20 years I have simply stood back and got out of the way.

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9. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, recently put a small card on my desk and asked me if Iíd look up her friendís website. Of course the website that her friend sent was wrong and I had to Google around until I found it. In the process I read the note that her friend had written on the card. In this note Marshaís friend described her husband as open and caring. I showed it to my wife and said, ďOpen and caring. I hope you never describe me to anyone as Open & Caring.Ē And Marsha said, ďSheís a psychologist --- she talks that way.Ē

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10. For a month or so Iíve been draining some honey frames into a plastic tub. But I finally scraped the honey from the plastic tub into a steel pan and put that inside of a larger steel pan that was full of boiling water. And I soon had over a quart of honey that was warm enough to run through a funnel and a cloth which strained out all the visible impurities. While I was doing this, I asked my wife Marsha if warming up the honey would destroy any of its goodness. You know, destroy the molecular structure or break down any of the chemical properties. And she said that I didnít need to worry about what I did to honey because honey had been found in Egyptian tombs. Why is it that the Egyptian tombs are usually evoked as a symbol of reniassance or everlasting endurance? Suppose you asked Heron Breen if the 1998 cucumber seeds that you got at FedCo were still good. What you want to bet heíd say, ďWell, Mort Mather planted some cucumber seeds that he found in an Egyptian tomb and the cukes that were small enough to fit through the door won prizes at the Common Ground Fair.Ē I wouldnít eat one of those cucumbers because I can believe that anyone who did would probably have an uncontrollable urge to clutch an asp to his breast. But --- do you think you could find an 11th dynasty tomb in Thebes today where you couldnít walk in and stumble on a bundle of papyri revealing lentils, garlic or sesame seeds that are eager to burst forth into vigorous production? What do you know about the value of old seeds? Iím humble@humblefarmer.com and unless I hear from you Iím not going to say another thing on this topic because I just remembered that my grandfather was 57 when my mother was born.

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11. You might very correctly say that there is no validity in presenting a case by analogy, but there are times when an analogy might help explain a given situation. As someone who has spoken to hundreds of audiences, I sometimes compare entertaining an audience to a boxing match. Boxers and professional speakers both have the skills to give you a great performance. But the boxer doesnít know which punches he will throw until he is actually engaged in the ring. He has to see how things are going. The boxer and the speaker might hold back a bit at first and save his best for the final round, where other times he might find it more expedient to pound away with the best he has in the first three minutes. But yesterday I realized that living with my Type A wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, might also be compared to a boxing match because even if the boxer has all the skills and is stout of heart, he still might be overwhelmed by a more determined opponent.. The alarm clock rings and before my eyes can open to face a new day she reminds me that I have to take out two windows first thing so she can paint them. Before I can get the windows out, Marsha asks me to carry the wash up the cellar stairs, and while Iím doing that she says that the lawnmower has to be filled with oil and gas. I am not yet dazed but am reminded that I have to attend Sarahís wedding which is the same grange night that 3 bed & breakfast guests are coming for supper. At this point I have started to stagger but as I vacuum while eating my breakfast I am not yet on the ropes. While taking out the windows I am also filling the lawnmower with gas which is when I learn that the food scrap bucket is starting to stink and has to be thrown in the woods for the wild animals, and because they can eat and digest everything except pita bread, I donít even dare go down there, and the bottles and paper have to be taken to the dump, which isnít even called the dump any more and now looks more like a drive through restaurant. I think about this to divert my mind from the fact that Iím being hammered on the ropes and am on my way to the canvas. She is going to visit her new grandchild Maddy in Fort Kent for a few days and please use this bread first for my toast and be sure to do eat this and donít eat that and donít forget to make the bed while sheís gone and fix the cord in the fan and take a shower and donít forget deodorant, and if she says anything after that I donít hear it because Iím down for the count.

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12. Did you read that some hockey player stood out on the ice before a crowd of people and proposed to his girlfriend? It reminds me that more than 20 years ago while standing on a stage in front of 100 or so people, I asked my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, if she'd marry me. As I recall, she was sitting in the back of the room and her reply was, "Not until I check your bank statement." Luckily, she never did. Although our wedding warranted a two-page spread in Sam Pennington's Antique Digest, I don't recall as anyone saw anything unusual about my proposing from a platform and it never made the papers. My wife has never considered divorce. She knows that at my age it will be more expedient to simply sweat it out and pay off the mortgage with my life insurance. Anyway, I'm sure this nice young hockey player and his wife will enjoy many happy years of marriage --- as long as he is mature enough to always do what she says.

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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860
(207) 226-7442
thehumblefarmer@gmail.com
www.TheHumbleFarmer.com

© 2012 Robert Karl Skoglund