I spend much of my time in my office behind my computer looking out that skylight in my garage.

It was a great summer. Many of you stopped in at the farm to visit me and Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and we want to thank you. A few of you stayed long enough for me to run down the stairs and out of the office so I could actually talk with you. I usually emerge from that garage door you see over Marsha's shoulder. And I did have to run if I wanted to see you.

As you know, I lived on our farm --- without a garage or a wife until I was 54 years old. And when you live most of your adult life without something, when you do get it, you appreciate it. You use it every chance you get. So every time I come home, I open the garage door and put my truck inside --- even though I might be going out again in 5 minutes. A garage keeps the sun off my truck in the summer and the snow and ice off it in the winter. A garage is a good place to keep your truck. A garage is not a place to store boxes of trash that you'll never use or your kid's share of his or her divorce settlement.

When I married Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, one of the first things she did was to insist that I build a garage, with an office over it so I'd have a quiet, private place where I could work in comfort. That's a euphemism for --- she wanted me of the house. So now, when I'm not on the road, I spend most days up there in my office, at my computer, with a nice view of the driveway so I can see you when you drive in.

As you know, if you're a Maine native and you don't have three or four cars in front of your house, people who drive into your dooryard figure you can't be home. I've always thought I'd see more friends who stop in to visit if I had a junk car in the dooryard. "Oh yes, there's his car --- he must be home." But you have heard me say time and time again that if you don't see my truck in the dooryard, I'm probably home. If you see my Model T parked out front on warm days, I'm probably home.

Here's the way it used to go. I'd see you drive in. I'd jump up from my computer, run to the door, put my shoes on, run down the stairs, run out of the garage --- just in time to see the back end of your car pull out of my driveway.

I thought about getting one of those spiked parking lot devices they have in cities. Drive in and the spikes drop down. Try to drive out and the spikes give you four flat tires. But a thing like that was too expensive. So I thought I'd put a broomstick down at the end of the driveway with some baling twine on the end it. I'd tie the other end of the twine to the chestnut tree. The broom would be lying down on the ground on the other side of the driveway from the chestnut tree. At the push of a button right beside my computer keyboard at my desk, an electric device would lift the broom and pull the twine taught across the driveway. There would be a 2 foot square piece of cardboard on the twine that would say, "I'm Home" on it. You'd have to run it down to get out. I also considered hooking a speaker under the eaves of my garage. But I realized that most people who hear a voice coming out of nowhere would be scared out of their wits. "Hello there --- I'll be right up from the crypt."

And that was too complicated, too. So now, every morning before I go up to my office, I put out a big 3 foot by 3 foot sign, right where you have to see it when you drive in. It says: 22 Seconds = The amount of time it takes you to drive in, look around, decide that nobody is home, and drive out. 25 seconds =. The amount of time it takes me to see you drive in, get up from my computer, go to the door, put on my shoes, run downstairs in time to see the rear end of your car going out.

No, you still won't get out of the car when you drive in. And you still won't toot you horn, like high school boys used to do when they'd pick up your daughter for a date. But you do read the sign which gives me that three extra seconds I need to get out there in front of your car.

But now I think I'm even going to take down that sign. Last week someone ran over my foot.

September 27, 2002 Radio Script 
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October 25, 2002 Radio Script 
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