August was stressful.  A lot of it was good stress as when Mary Ellen came to visit for a week and I accompanied her to her 50th high school reunion at East High.  She hadn’t been to one high school reunion, and like all of us, thought that she hadn’t had a friend in the world when she was a teenager.  I said that was wrong-headed and that she should come.  I bullied her.  She came, but then I felt RESPONSIBLE for her having a splendid reunion.  It went well, but like I say, it was still stress.

Next the Ed Plummers stayed for a week.  I didn’t cook once. Well, maybe once. It’s stressful being the non-cook.  I love having them around because they’re all enormously funny.  One night, I was standing by the kitchen sink to get a drink of water wearing my brown jeans with a matching brown t-shirt over a white-t, and Ed said, “I see you’re wearing your UPS uniform.”  Water spurted through my nose.

My granddaughter Anne left for Germany for ten months.  I keep thinking I see her in the neighborhood, but it’s only a look-alike Anne.  A fake Anne.

Tom and I had to do a three-minute spiel at the Freshman Honors Conference at BYU for the Study Abroad in Vienna that we are doing next Spring/Summer.  “It has to be funny,” Tom said to me.  “Funny makes the difference.”

“Do not try to be funny,” I said.  “You won’t be funny.  You’ll try too hard.  Just make the announcement.  Be the straight guy.”

“Will you be funny?”  He asked me.

“I don’t know.  Don’t you try to be funny, though.  Don’t even try.”

He did as I said.  He announced the Study Abroad in Vienna.  I interrupted him.  I interrupted him many times.  He played straight man perfectly.  At one point, he turned to me and said with a concerned look, “Are you on something?”  More than a hundred freshmen signed up for Study Abroad.

“You were hilarious,” Tom said afterward.  “I’d rather have a hilarious wife than one who cooks.”

What if one day I wasn’t funny?  Gag me.

I’d already forgotten the performance and was now worried about money.  We’re going to end up homeless.  I’ve always known it. We’re stupid with money.

We’re browsing in the Bookstore.  I will die of stress if I don’t get hold of it.  I will go into spontaneous combustion.

And there on the remainder table was a paperback copy of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh with those beautiful E.H. Shepard ink drawings for three dollars.  I stood and read about Christopher Robin and my old friend Pooh.  “Sing Ho for the life of a bear.”  I bought it and keep it in my bag and take it out when I’m waiting in line,or in the car, or for the movie to start.  I forgot that my life is rich with friends and relations, honey, balloons, and walks leading nowhere special.  I could still be surprised by a heffalump.