There are times when retired married couples get bored, and they must come up with creative ideas to occupy their time. (Seriously, you can only watch so much “Wheel of Fortune” before it adversely affects your life. I went to a hobby store to buy a large block “A” for a project I was working on, and I actually told the checkout clerk, “I’d like to buy a vowel.”)
Well, on a recent trip to Georgia to visit the daughter and her family, the wife and I found ourselves with a free afternoon after having lunch at our granddaughters’ grade school.
“What do you want to do?” the wife asked.
“I think I’d like to buy a vowel,” I said.
“But you just bought a vowel.”
“I know, but I need a bigger one,” I defended.
“I saw an antique shop on our way to the school. Let’s go there. Maybe they will have your vowel.”
“Great idea, Vanna!” I said, and we headed the car towards the store.
Now when the wife and I shop anywhere, our habit is to separate immediately to avoid comments like, “What do you need that for?” “You already have one of those, why do you need another one?” “You’re going to pick that shade of lipstick? Seriously?”
So when we walked into the antique store, the wife said, “You go your way, and I’ll go mine, and we’ll meet back here in an hour.”
Off we went in search of a vowel or anything else that might catch our eye. Antique stores are awesome in that you run across so many cool things you remember from your childhood. I even saw a lady who looked like my fifth-grade teacher who flunked me in writing.
But right off the bat in the second aisle I went down, I saw it. It was stunning. It was majestic. It was sublime. It was — wait for it — a monkey lamp! Standing 27 inches tall, wearing a snappy bellhop uniform, this handsome monkey was holding out a torch in each hand with furry leopard-skin lamp shades. It was quite simply, magnificent.
“I must have this,” was my singular thought. “But the wife will never let me bring it home. I must walk away and never look back.”
I did walk away, two or three aisles away. But I went back.
“Maybe it doesn’t work,” I thought. “If it doesn’t work, I won’t buy it.”
Finding an electric outlet, I plugged in the monkey lamp. I made an embarrassing quite audible gasp in absolute awe. “It’s radiant. If I don’t buy this lamp, I will die. But I can’t. The wife will hate it.” So I walked away again, realizing the hour was up, and I needed to meet the wife up front.
“Well, there you are,” the wife said, paying the clerk for her treasures. “Did you see anything you like?”
“Yes,” I said.
“What is it?”
“I can’t tell you. I have to show you. I want it really, really bad.”
“Well, let’s go see it,” the wife said.
So I said “Close your eyes.” I took her hand and walked her over to aisle two and stood her in front of the monkey lamp. “Open your eyes.”
She made an embarrassing audible gasp and covered her mouth. My heart sank knowing she hated it.
“That’s the weirdest lamp I’ve ever seen. But, you know, I kind of like it. I think you should get it, dear, or you’ll always be sorry you didn’t.”
“Lance” the lamp now sits in a bay window in our family room, and he is, quite simply, stunning.
Raul Ascunce is a columnist for the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, a sister publication of The Lima News.