Ya gotta love my neighbor, Estelle. She was on my doorstep the second the fire truck left. I still had tears in my eyes from the smoke. Don’t ask me where she got the casserole at eleven o’clock at night. It’s not like she needed an excuse to come over, since we’re best friends. I took her to the scene of the crime right away. Ed was still in there surveying the damage.
As soon as he saw Estelle, he looked for an escape route, because, of course, he thought he was going to be the subject of a verbal feminine firing squad, so he headed out the bedroom door with his famous parting comment: “This is another fine mess you got me into, Ollie.”
He gets that from the old black and white Oliver and Hardy films, and you have to see one to realize how funny this is. It did just what Ed intended – it made me laugh out loud. His sense of humor is the single best thing about him. It’s why I love the guy so much after all these years and not a few fine messes.
Estelle looked around the bedroom and took it all in- the blobs of melted wax across the top of the charred nightstands, the tattered ashy remains of the drapes, the smell of burnt feathers. She quirked an eyebrow.
“Our 25th anniversary. Romance. Candles.”
“Ed put out candles? On the nightstands?”
“I know. I know. All these years of forbidding lit candles in the house and suddenly the man goes ballistic with candles. I have to say it was pretty romantic coming home from work, having the great filet mignon dinner in bed with the candles glowing all around. It would’ve been perfect, except that the knife was a little dull, and the tray was a little wobbly and Ed bumped the first candle with his elbow. They went down like dominoes.”
“Wow! Well – ya gotta give Ed credit for the romantic gesture.”
“Oh I loved the romance. It was great. The fire – not so much.”
“It looks like the wall got a little scorched too.”
“Oh yeah. The furniture, the wall, the mattress and bed. Everything’s gotta go.”
“Yeah… Well, I was ready to remodel a little anyway. We’ve had this stuff since we got married. 25 years. Styles change.”
“What do you think about going shopping with me in the morning?”
“I guess Ed and I will sleep on the sofa tonight.”
“How long do you think it will take for the clean up?”
“Probably about as long as it takes for the furniture to come in.”
“Well, it’s an ill wind that blows no good, as they say.” We grinned at each other. Estelle was right. There was no time to waste. I was gonna get a brand new bedroom for my anniversary. Quite a present. Ya gotta love that Ed.
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