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Reality TV versus books

Published July 28. 2012 09:01AM

So the other night, Harry was watching Turtleman on a show called "Call of the Wildman" on the Animal Planet television station.

He only gets away with watching it or something else like "Gator Boys" if I'm eyeball deep into reading my latest novel.

Of course when Turtleman was running around a room like the wild man that he is, chasing an angry raccoon that had taken up residence in a fraternity house, I admit I had to steal a glance or two every time he'd give his irritating Rebel yell ..."EEEEEEEEEEEEE!" to see what was going on.

This is what we're reduced to watching during rerun season of "The Big Bang Theory" and our new favorite, "Person of Interest."

While all this great TV is going on, I managed to finish my book.

"Sigh. That was such a good book," I said as I turned the last page.

No comment from the peanut gallery.

"Honey, if I die before you ...," I started, which immediately got his attention. I couldn't help but see the look of panic that crossed his face as his eyes took on that "deer-caught-in-the-headlight-look because he's heard this intro many times before and knows it doesn't bode well for him. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

Like the time I said, "Honey, if I die before you, promise me one thing."

"Sure," he said without a clue.

"Promise me that you'll burn our bed."

"Why would I want to burn a perfectly good bed? We just got a new mattress," he asked innocently.

"Because if you ever bring another woman into our bed I'll come back to haunt you! This was OUR bed. And it should remain forever OUR bed. Buy the new girl a new bed. OK?"

I think his response was something like, "Yeah. Sure. You got it."

Another time, "Honey, if I die before you, promise me you'll give all my good jewelry to Becky, my mom and Diane and Jennie Rose and Abby."


"You'd better. Because if I find out Wife #2 is walking around wearing my diamond heart necklace, I'll come back to haunt you so fast you won't know where to hide!"

I think he started taking notes then. His list is getting pretty long about what he can or can't do if I die before him. I think I've got him right where I want him, where the fear of living with Linda's ghost will not be as much fun as living with the real thing was. Hey! I was fun. I mean, I am fun!

Anyway, back to Turtleman and just finishing my book.

"So Honey, if I die before you, would you walk 3,500 miles for me?"

"Why would I walk 3,500 miles after you die?" he asked incredulously.

"Well, that's what Al did."

"Who the heck is Al?"

"The guy in this book, Al Christofferson. The title of the book is 'The Walk.' Al's wife, who he loves more than life itself, fell off her horse, is paralyzed from the waist down and while he's in the hospital by her side the entire time, his partner steals his business. Then his beloved wife dies from an infection. The bank forecloses on his house and the repo man comes and repossesses his Lexus and Cadillac. He's just so devastated after the funeral he's ready to take pills with whiskey so he can join her. But then he remembers the last word his wife said to him in the hospital just before she died, did I tell you that he loved her more than life itself? The last word she said to him was 'Live.' And so since he has nothing left, he packs a backpack and takes some Pop Tarts and proceeds to walk to the other end of the country. Did I tell you he lives in Seattle, Washington and he plans to walk to the farthest point in the United States which he determined by using a shoe lace and a Rand McNally map to be Key West, Florida? So, would you be that devastated if I died before you that you would walk across the country for me?"

"Tell me again why I should do this?"

"Because after I'm gone you'll see there's nothing left for you here and you'll want to get as far away from it all as you can," I told him.

"What about Trapper and Sassy? I'll have them to take care of," he argued.

"Diane and George can take care of your dogs until you get back," I reasoned.

"How old was this guy?"


"But I'm an old man!"

"You're in great shape. You could do it," I said with all the confidence of the wonderful supportive wife that I am.

"You're nuts! I'm not walking across the country. And stop reading books. They get me in trouble."

Oh, he doesn't know the third of it. "The Walk" by Richard Paul Evans, is the first in a three-book series. I'm so ready to read the second, "Miles To Go" and the third, "The Road to Grace."

I bet you dollars to doughnuts, this conversation is not over.

"Honey, you'd better start watching 'Man versus Wild' because you're going to need some tips when you begin your 3,500 mile walk."

"Maybe you'd better start watching 'Wife Swap,'" Mr. Smarty Pants said.

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