Stream of conversation

Ed
Ed Smith
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Other Half opened the door yesterday morning to our front deck and then stepped back in quickly.

"What's wrong?" I asked, seeing the look of mingled fear and confusion on her face.

It took several moments for her to answer.

"That big yellow thing up in the sky," she said finally. "What is it?"

I looked out the open door. It took several moments for me to recognize it myself.

"The thing you can't look at directly?" I asked gently.

"Yes," she said. "What is it?"

I know OH is getting up in years and her memory is not what it used to be. Still, I would have thought she'd remember this.

"The sun," I said hoping not to upset her.

"The sun?" She looked at me strangely and repeated it. "The sun."

Slowly her memory began to come back and her face brightened as she stepped out on the deck.

"The sun, the blessed sun. How could I have forgotten?"

"It's been a very long time," I said truthfully. "A lot of people have forgotten."

"Yes," she said, "but I remember seeing it once before. I think it was in St. John's when we were in there during March."

"No," I said. "I can guarantee you did not see the sun in St. John's during March month of any year."

"If you say so," she said doubtfully.

OH was born and bred in the capital city and has a mildly reproving reaction to anything said about it that isn't as beautiful as "The Republic of Doyle" makes out. (What a great job they do of that!)

"Everyone says so. You should listen to Randy Simms more often."

"Anyway," she said, "I'm some glad we're finally getting good weather. Perhaps it will last for Come Home Year next week."

"Perhaps," I said. "All those good people coming back to this lovely town deserve to have the sun shining on them. If it doesn't, they'll think they're in St. John's."

"That won't be good," she said. I was somewhat surprised to hear her say that.

"No? Why is that?"

"There's nothing for tourists and Come Home Year people to see in St. John's."

"My gosh!" I swore. "You've got to be kidding. What about Signal Hill and Marine Drive and Cape Spear and Admiral's Rock and the Fluvarium and the Rooms and - and -"

"Small potatoes," OH responded with vigor. "Out here they could see the 400 foot waterfall in Rattling Brook and the wonderful whale exhibit in King's Point. Or they could hike the Alexander Murray Trail in that same area or have a picnic on the beautiful sands of Nick's Nose Cove. I've seen caplin roll there in early August."

"So have I," I said, "but that doesn't mean they're there now."

"I know," she said, "but there's the beautiful Indian Falls in the George Huxter Park in Springdale. There might even be a salmon left looking for a fly on the water. I've seen you get them in August."

"Not every salmon fisherman is as skilled as I am," I said.

"Or as modest," she said.

"In fly fishing," I said, "as in sex, the truth about respective skills cannot be hidden."

There was no answer to that one. I didn't expect any.

"Or they could catch a ferry ride to historic Little Bay Islands."

"So they could," I replied.

"And there's one last experience they couldn't get anywhere else. They could drive along the street where that rich and famous writer, Ed Smith, lives. I'm told they're cutting off each end of Brinex Avenue for three days. For a loony you can drive slowly past his house. For a toonie you can stop and stare for two minutes. For a five dollar bill you can actually run up the driveway, knock on the door and ask for an autograph. You have to buy a book, of course, which is extra."

"No need to get nasty," I said.

"I think there is," she responded, "after that fly fishing comment."

"Well, just for your information, Ms. Smarty Pants, I'm doing an autograph session at Main Street Pharmacy on Wednesday, August 3, from two to four in the afternoon."

"Will people have to buy the books you autograph?"

"Yes, but the books will come from the publisher - I don't get the money."

"You already told me that," she said, "so stop whining about it."

"It just seems so unfair," I carried on, pretending not to hear. "The publisher takes 50 per cent of the selling price, the bookseller takes 40 per cent and the author who spends months and sometimes years spewing out that stuff gets 10 per cent."

"So why bother?"

"The fame and the glory," I said, with a straight face. "The fame and the glory."

"Yes," she said, "I can see the fame and the glory hanging over the house every morning like a fog. Come to think of it, it is a fog."

I know better than to continue a conversation with OH when she gets on like that so I decided to change the subject.

"Are you excited about having a part in the great Come Home Year variety show August 4?"

"I've read the part you wrote for me. It makes me look stupid."

"No it does not. It makes you look very much 'with it'."

"With what? I'm trying to explain why I married you in the first place and it's the first time it really sounded stupid. You want to know the truth? I think you're losing it as a comedic writer."

"You may be right. Perhaps I'm evolving into a stupid writer. Perhaps that's why I have more fans than ever before. Stupid is a lot easier to understand than funny ."

"I think you're right, which is why your variety shows are such a great success."

"Thanks," I said. "That should really draw out a crowd next Thursday."

Let's hope they appreciate stupid.

Geographic location: St. John's, Republic of Doyle, Signal Hill Marine Drive Rattling Brook Indian Falls George Huxter Park Springdale Little Bay Islands Brinex Avenue

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