Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2008

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Not in my ride! Not now, not later, not ever

This past weekend was a hang-around-the-house weekend. We worked inside and then outside while it was sunny and warm.

Both Dear Don and I had on our “chore” clothes; you know old jeans with paint stains and a hole or two. Big t-shirts with the same paint stains and a few holes of their own. It’s comfortable attire and only meant for home and not for public view.

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However, Dear Don decided he would like to go out for lunch and fill his SUV with gas. He didn’t want to change clothing because we would continue with chores when we got back home.

“Fine,” I said, “but we have to eat in the car because I’m not getting out looking like this.”

“We aren’t eating in my ride,” Dear Don proclaimed, indignant that I would even suggest such a thing.

“Oh please,” I shot back, “ We’ll be careful and we will use one of the beach towels you keep in there to cover everything up so we don’t make a mess.”

“No,” he said, “We are not going to eat in my car. I’ve never done it and we aren’t going to start now.”

“I promise to be careful and I won’t get anything messy.”

Off to town we went with Dear Don less than assured about the future cleanliness of his vehicle and me satisfied that the public didn’t have to be subjected to me looking like I did.

We pulled into Backyard Burgers and ordered at the drive-thru. After leaving there, Dear Don decided Starbucks parking lot would be the prime location from which to eat and view the surroundings. I thought we should have gone somewhere else, but I wasn’t driving and I had already made the stink about eating in the car so I kept quiet.

We pulled into Starbucks and I spread the big ugly Batman beach towel over everything in the front two seats, including the two of us. Well, almost everything.

We settled in to enjoy our lunch. About half way through I noticed Dear Don glaring at me with “that look.”

He was staring at the seatbelt (which I was still wearing) and there to my surprise and chagrin was a big glob of mustard. He didn’t say a word. He just stared. I quickly started wiping the mustard away, but it’s MUSTARD and it doesn’t just wipe away. All the while I am constantly looking towards Dear Don to gauge his reaction. It wasn’t good. To make matters worse I started laughing. He didn’t think it was funny, so I started crying.

Laughing and crying and trying to clean the seatbelt through tears. It wasn’t my finest moment. The whole time I’m scrubbing Dear Don was fussing, yak, yak, and yak.” I don’t know how you were raised,” he says, “ but we never wore our seatbelts while seated in a parked car.” “ What are you afraid of a rear end crash,” he mocks.

“No” I said, “we didn’t have seatbelts when I was growing up.” I felt terrible and now he was mad at me. I found a wet wipe and continued to clean the offending spot. Things were beginning to calm down when Dear Don said he was going to shake out the towel, the big ugly Batman beach towel, in the parking lot.

“NO, NO, NO,” I screamed tearing up again. “ You can’t take that thing out in public,” I cried, “Just put it in the backseat and I’ll shake it out when we get back home.”

“What?” Dear Don questioned. “The towel can’t be seen in public either?”

“Please,” I begged “Just leave it in the car for now.”

Dear Don was having a little trouble understanding my emotions and me at this point but he gave in and got back in the car. He continued to needle me about the mustard, the towel and not going into the restaurant.  At this point I am finally satisfied that I’ve cleaned the mustard stain and I laid the moist wipey on the armrest of the car door. Immediately he lost his cool again and scowled at my offense and me.

Before he had a chance to utter one negative remark I took my finger and jabbed it into the folded wipey (just because). To my utter surprise and dismay liquid shot out everywhere.

Oh boy, I’m in trouble now. Dear Don continued to scowl and in slow deliberate tones finally said to me,” I bet your Daddy beat your tail a lot when you were young.”

“Well, you can rest assured that if I couldn’t blame my deeds on my brother or sister he surely did,” I snapped, realizing quickly that I just can’t seem to keep my big mouth shut.

The only way to end this is to tell you that never again in the history of the world will we ever eat in Dear Don’s ride. And never again will I suggest otherwise. Uh Huh.

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at