It’s great to have good neighbours

We were sitting around discussing tackling the latest upcoming spring supper with its expected piles of culinary delights.
“No, sorry I can’t make that one. I’m going into the hospital for a small operation on Monday the day after, so I have to ease off the feed bag,” I explained to a suddenly crestfallen Colonel Moeregard who already had his heart set on the gastronomic excursion.
“Yeah, I’m having him circumcised,” quipped my wife, the Pearl of the Orient, before anyone could guess at the surgical procedure.
“Well that would be a SMALL operation,” retorted Colonel Moeregard chuckling at his own repartée.
Everyone wants to be a comedian
The small operation—a hernia repair—went off without a hitch. We had prearranged and prepaid our funerals the previous week so the Pearl was not at all nervous.
Three days later, I managed to make it back to the debating table at the Bakery in Rainy River. The delicate nature of my constitution necessitated a gait more typical of someone several decades older than myself.
As I tottered up to the table I warned the dozen pairs of eyes trained on me, “I’m loaded with high power laxative and set on a hair trigger, so keep your smart ass remarks to yourself or be prepared to collectively suffer the consequences.”
The Runt seated next to me broke into a nervous sweat and whimpered, “Careful guys! I don’t think he’s kidding!”
Pickle got up and brought me a cup of coffee. The first time in recent memory he’s done that for anyone other than himself.
I explained the gory details of having ones guts repaired, and although no one threw up, there were a few queasy half-smiles.
“So you see I’ll be recuperating for some time and I’ll have to call on you to take over my chores for the next few weeks,” I explained as I trowelled on a double layer of peanut butter Val had so nicely supplied–out of sympathy no doubt.
Turning to the Runt, I asked, “Would you…”
“No!” exploded the Runt. Since being shamed, railroaded, and variously tricked into walking all night for the “Relay for Life,” the Runt has taken this defensive action to every question directed at him. It a matter of survival he claims.
“… like some potatoes from my garden again this year?” I continued. The Runt’s personal gardening accomplishments this year have been less than stellar.
“Er … yes I could use a few pails. Maybe you could set them at the edge of the garden and I’ll pick ‘em up when their ready. Just give me a shout,” advised the Runt as he turned his attention to his own toast.
“Oh, you’re more than welcome to them, but I’ll be out of commission on the labour front so you’ll have to dig them yourself. Matter of fact you’ll have to weed ‘em, hoe ‘em, and hill ‘em as well,” I explained as I feebly held out my cup for a refill.
With a sigh the Runt lounged out of his chair and returned with the coffee pot.
“But not to fear, I’ll be more than happy to supervise. Any day it’s dry enough, just stop by and pick up the lawn umbrella, my chair and the cooler for the wobbly pop. The tiller’s already at the patch,” I directed.
“Tiller? I think I’ll just bring the weed whacker and clean things up in one pass,” mumbled the Runt as he tied back into his toast, adding something about maybe buying his potatoes.
“No, just leave the weed whacking to Pickle. I think he’s volunteering to do my lawn work for the summer.”
Boy, it’s great to have good neighbours.

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