I grew up in the fifties and sixties. Kind of. Shirley says I never did really grow up. But, believe it or not, I was cool. At the sock hops I was cool. I could twist. I could shout.
BY DEAN MEYER
Elvis was the King. Or Bob Wills. But to many of us, Chuck Berry was the real king. He passed away this weekend. “Maybelline.” “ Go Johnny Go.” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.”
I twisted and shouted for an hour on Saturday. Until Mrs. Meyer lay the law down.
She can be cruel. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this. For months Shirley asked what I wanted for Christmas. I only had one wish. I wanted a pressure canner! Really! I’ve always wanted a pressure canner.
I got to thinking about when I was a kid and we would go to Grandma’s house in Nebraska. She would always open a can of canned meat for lunch. Home canned meat. It was always wonderful. Shirley reminded me that the reason she canned is because there was no refrigeration when I was a kid. And there wasn’t a Super Value down the street with shelves full of canned meat. And people aren’t dying from pressure cookers blowing up and getting sick from improperly canned foods. She is really a spoilsport.
I left notes around the house. I posted pictures of the best cookers from Wal-Mart and Cabelas. I left recipes for canned pork and canned chicken and canned beef.
She explained how she had to help her grandmother can when she was growing up a sickly child and couldn’t go outside with the other kids. I think it made her mean too.
Well, I will cut to the chase. She didn’t get me a pressure cooker canner for Christmas. Deep down I knew she would. I tore open my gifts like a child on Christmas morning. A jacket. Gloves. Socks. Underwear. Bridle reins. A new cinch for my saddle. No cooker. None. I was devastated. How could she be so cruel?
But being a resilient man, I figured out a way around it. Valentines Day! That was coming up. And I hadn’t gotten her a gift for Valentines Day for forty years. But this year I would.
I went to Ace Hardware and bought her the nicest pressure cooker they had. I’m that kind of guy. You should have seen the look on her face when she ripped that beautiful red wrapping paper off that box. It was priceless.
I have my own room now. And I have a lot more time for canning. If the Russians or Koreans shut off our electricity and you need canned meat, call me. I’m not letting my wife have any.
Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.