Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I am re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. We’ll get back to our regular posting schedule in a few weeks.
The original “Peanut, Peanut, Who’s Got the Peanut?” posted back in December 2011. It’s been embellished a little since then.
* * *
The wind howled as it pulled a winter storm beneath the moonlit sky outside our Gig Harbor, Washington, home.
Waves of onion, garlic, coriander, curry, and fresh cilantro permeated the kitchen. Pork sizzled in the wok. Jasmine rice steamed on the back burner of the bright white stove. The matching overhead fan drew off the steam.
I peeled the foil seal from the can of peanuts and set in on the yellow linoleum counter next to the stove. I stirred the sizzling food.
When I picked up the can of peanuts, half the colonists vanished. I poured the stalwart survivors into the stir fry.
“Richard Cranium, would you come in here?” I asked, irritated.
Richard peaked his head around the corner, a sheepish grin enhanced his lean cheeks, which now dimpled over the hidden evidence.
“Where are the rest of the peanuts?” I asked, pointing to the can with a wooden spoon.
“What?” he asked, looking away from me. His voice reminiscent of a ten-year-old caught with his hand in the cookie jar. His jaw moved with clockwork precision.
“The peanuts that were in this can,” I asked, holding up the empty can.
He swallowed. “Where?” he asked, smiling, lowering his eyes to the floor. He ground a spot on the floor with his left foot.
“You’re not fooling me, Richard,” I said, working hard to keep an even tone. “Would you do me a favor? If I buy something for a recipe, wait until after I have finished the recipe before you wipe out the left over ingredients?”
“Anything you say, Fannie,” he said, wearing his devilish grin.
“I am going to hold you to that,” I said, giving him look number 22 from my mother’s effective arsenal−correcting errant husbands.
* * *
The next day, an arctic blast carpeted the neighborhood with a shag rug.
While making snow angels in the front yard, Richard asked, “Fannie, can we have Thai food again for dinner, I am having a craving for peanuts.”
Lifting my head, I asked, “You’re not pregnant are you?”
“Do we have any peanuts in the house?”
“Nope, I ate ‘em all,” he said, the twinkle in his eyes resembled Christmas lights.
I sat up and dusted snow from my green hat and scarf. “Then you get to drive me to the store.” His snow angel stretched a foot and a half longer than mine. His red coat dusted in snow. “Should I be investing in Planter’s stock?”
“Ha, ha,” he said, crossing his blue eyes at me.
We purchased two cans of peanuts.
No other cars sat in the customer parking lot.
“Shall we have a little fun?” Richard asked. “Buckle up.”
Putting the Love Wagon, a red Ford F150 with queen futon and disco ball, in four wheel drive, he backed up making a quick circle in the snow.
“How about a figure eight?” he asked.
The grin on my face double stacked my dimples. I grabbed the overhead handle.
He drove over the fresh snow stepping on the accelerator as he cranked the wheel. The back end of the truck slid to the right.
The local gendarme drove into the parking lot. The officer smiled, waved, and shook his head.
We stopped the truck. Flashing our best what-did-we-do-officer smiles, we waved and headed for home.
The peanuts disappeared in the middle of the night.
December arrived. We decorated the house top to bottom for the upcoming holidays.
The next time we ventured to the grocery store, I purchased two cans of peanuts.
When we returned home, our neighbor, George Gutierrez, the Dallas Cowboy’s star emblazoned on the garage door behind him, stopped shoveling his driveway.
“Hey, George how’s it going?” Richard asked. Gripping George’s ham-sized hand.
“Good, good, how about this snow?” George asked, with his soft spoken Texas accent. A contrast to his lineman’s frame. A dark, pencil thin mustache and goatee framing his mouth.
“Hey you two, I’m going to get the groceries put away while you chat,” I said, carting three bags of groceries into the house.
While putting away the groceries, it occurred to me, hide one container of peanuts for future use.
In the dining room, Santa, dressed all in white, sat on a blue stool with blue decorations around him. Placing one of the cans in the display, I stood back and admired. The blue can blent with the scene.
Richard searched the house for seven days looking for those peanuts, he tore the kitchen apart three times, cleaned out the refrigerator, moved all of the furniture in the living room twice, our bedroom once, even the bathroom and our office.
“Richard, thanks for reorganizing the pantry, it’s never looked so good,” I said, the wall, my defense against the heightened effect of gravity from the floor while shook from suppressed laughter.
“Very funny,” Richard said, thrusting his tongue out at me.
A few more days passed. We played “hot and cold”.
“You’re getting warmer,” I said, my voice warming up for the occasion.
He walked from the kitchen into the dining room. He searched behind the curtains and around the side board. He rounded the corner into the living room.
“You’re getting colder,” I said, wearing the I-know-something-you-don’t-know grin.
He faced me. And looked into the dining room.
“Warmer,” I said, the twinkle in my eyes reaching neon sign proportions.
Richard looked under the dining room table, feeling with his hands the areas he could not see.
“Any gum under there?” I asked, suppressing a snort.
“Very funny,” Richard said, exasperation filling his voice, “you are enjoying this way too much.”
He scanned the room again. Throwing his hands in the air, he marched out of the room.
“Richard, do you want me to tell you where they are?” I asked, rocking back and forth on my feet.
“No,” he said, grumbling something else under his breathe. Spreading his feet a littler wider than shoulder width and planting his fists on his hips, he said, “I’ll find them myself.”
On Christmas morning, Richard sat in the living room. While I prepped the turkey for our dinner, a string of profanity worked its way to the kitchen, a lid popped, silence.
We spent Boxing Day putting the Christmas decorations away.