There are five words that my husband has said to me every day for the last 30 years.
“You’re the most beautiful woman.”
His five-word phrase is far deeper than superficial compliments. These words embody the depth of my husband’s soul, his core values and his reason for living.
“Have you thought of dinner?”
It’s quite impressive that he’s managed to ask the same question for 10,950 consecutive days.
It’s also a little insulting.
Hey, buddy, maybe instead of pondering pork chops, I was mentally solving trade relations with China.
But I could have been.
Usually he poses the question late afternoon. “Have you thought of dinner?”
Not even a little.
It’s not that I’m opposed to making dinner. I have the time and I enjoy cooking.
It’s just must we have dinner EVERY night?
Like neighborhood stop signs, can’t it be optional?
I say 5/7 nights is plenty.
That’s a solid 71%. Not honor roll, but getting the job done.
And what defines dinner?
Sometimes I’ll make an elaborate cheese plate. I fill the platter with an assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits and crackers. It’s got your four basic food groups so I think we can all agree, THIS IS YOUR DINNER!
“Delicious,” my husband said, polishing off his weight in Gouda. “So, what’s for dinner?”
I’m tempted to remove his limbs with cheese tongs.
But why ruin perfectly good tongs?
You’d think I’d get a reprieve from this question, but his consistency is unwavering.
He can be on a business trip 3,000 miles away, and still he’ll want to know my deep and profound thoughts on this all important meal.
“You’re not even here,” I answer.
“I was just wondering what you were having for dinner.”
Like a dedicated postal worker, neither rain, nor sleet nor surgical procedure can deter him.
“Have you thought of dinner?” He asked a couple nights ago.
“You’re having a colonoscopy tomorrow,” I answered.
“So, Jell-O,” I said.
“Magnesium Citrate,” I answered.
“That doesn’t sound like a real meal.”
“It’s not,” I said.
He sighed. Clearly the idea of a liquid dinner had cut him to the core.
“But we’re having something special tomorrow night,” I add.
His eyes grew wide and his expression turned to pure joy. He spoke slowly, “You’ve already thought of tomorrow night’s dinner?”
No, but I acknowledged there would be dinner tomorrow night.
He gives me a hug. “Thanks hon, you’re the best!”
It’s the thought that counts.
And those are my five words.
— January Gordan Ornellas
January Gordon Ornellas is a comedy writer whose stories include everything from colonoscopies to triathlons (equally torturous). Her article, “Rookie’s Triathlon Lessons,” appeared in the LA Times (June, 2019). Two of her other stories, “Gobble, Gobble” and “Almost Taken,” will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Laughter is the Best Medicine (April, 2020). She is currently working on a book, My Nest Runneth Over. January also enjoys writing for her blog (midlifebloomer.com), traveling and spending time with her husband and two adult daughters.