I had the privilege and pleasure to address The Young Matrons of Independence at the Lakewood Golf Club the other day, and naturally, as it happened to be Australian Day – the Aussie’s version of 4th of July – the theme was Australia.


I had the privilege and pleasure to address The Young Matrons of Independence at the Lakewood Golf Club the other day, and naturally, as it happened to be Australian Day – the Aussie’s version of 4th of July – the theme was Australia.
For those not in the know, as of course I now am, the Young Matrons is a philanthropic organization who raise money for charity, and what a lovely group of ladies they were.
I managed to blather on for about 20 minutes with scintillating bits of information about my home land, about the need for chewing gum up both nostrils if one is going to speak Australian correctly, and, among other things,  about the Aussie’s penchant for shortening any given name. 

As an illustration, I cited my own family. My oldest brother, Alan, got Al. My middle brother – well he was obviously a problem right from the start, as Dad wanted Christopher, Mum wanted Timothy – so his birth certificate reads Christopher, and we all called him Tim. My youngest brother’s naming obviously had my parents in a tizz as they appeared to be tired of this shortening nonsense, so he, of course, got E. Me? You cannot shorten Anne, you really can’t.  So – the Aussies lengthened it.
I opened up the floor to questions, and I was delighted to find at the end that I’d interested the group enough to go on for another half hour. When it was all over, I will confess – using a good Aussie expression – I had a thirst I could photograph. Note to self – next speaking engagement, take your water with you, you drongo.
Meanwhile, back at the house. Sir was I think just a tiny bit lips of string that I wasn’t going to have him join me. I suspect in the back of his mind we could have been the modern-day Burns and Allen, Lucy and Dezi – or more likely, Ralph and Alice Kramden. So I did what any good wife would do – I gave him a chore instead.
Now as you know, Sir and chores don’t get along all that famously, and as my chore involved the grocery store, I just knew he’d be muttering about the iniquitousness of it all as he crabbed his way to the shop.
So I cut him off at the pass. I obviously had a moment of boredom, or brilliance, the other night and thought that the actual thinking process involved in doing the shopping was the hardest part of the entire affair.
Off I went on my Excel spreadsheet, and in a columnar manner, recreated the aisles in the store, horribly logically starting from the left and proceeding in a regimental manner to the right.
I was relying on memory, which is not necessarily a good thing, but I know I got most of our habitual purchases pretty much in the right order.
All that was left was to print it out, grab my shocking pink fluorescent marker, and mark away all the items I needed Sir to get.
When I arrived home from my  elating speaking experience, I found Sir sitting at the kitchen table quite serene.  What a nice surprise, not a moan, not a gripe at all.
Well in examination of the fridge and the pantry, I realized he’d taken a bit of a liberty with my pink bits, and where “potato chips” had been marked, I really didn’t think we needed four different kinds.
“Dinner,” I understand is a little generic, but to give him credit he managed to buy cold cuts, a few slices of Swiss cheese, knowing I like the stuff, and – well – baked beans. OK, I thought, don’t complain – there is food to eat, albeit a little eclectic for one meal, but hey.  I didn’t have to think about it, and neither did I have to buy it.
It wasn’t till later in the evening that Sir finally burst forth. He just couldn’t keep it in any more.
“Your list is flawed,” he uttered.
“How so, darling heart, love of my life, peach of my cobbler?” I asked.
To paraphrase – although I had the items in pretty much the correct order, I hadn’t been as specific as apparently Sir likes.
“Well, you said ‘potato chips,’ but when I got to that aisle, there were just too many different varieties. I stood there looking stupid for 10 minutes just trying to make up my mind about which one to get. So I got four.”
Trying ever so hard, and failing, to keep a straight face, I did point out that he in fact is the majority consumer of potato chips, and I couldn’t frankly give a tuppenny damn about which brand, flavor, texture, size, sodium-content, fat-content bag he got at all. He eats them, I don’t.
But who am I to quibble? I had been pursuing something I really enjoy – public speaking – I arrived home to find food in the kitchen which I didn’t have to buy or even think about, and a darling Sir who, for the moment, had forgotten his desire to emulate George, Dezi or even Ralph.
One can be grateful for small, albeit temporary, mercies.