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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #1292350
Why would these simple things cause so much trouble?

                                    Pumpkins And Long Johns

                                          By SM Ferguson

    In my ten years as a physcologist, I’d never treated anyone quite like Mary and Joe Sedgewick. In their early seventies, Mary was a petite lady of soft voice and curly hair the color of snow. Joe was a retired construction worker who towered above his wife. Sparkling blue eyes, rosy cheeks and thick white hair, negated his imposing size. One could easily imagine them the perfect Mr. And Mrs. Claus had it not been for their dexterous talent to revile each other in their current predicament.

    I did not attempt to procure their addition to my practice. A colleague whose sole interest was to subject me to this doleful experience had referred them to me. They were now my patients. I, being a Doctor of sublime conscientiousness to my work was determined to set their problems right.

    Their forty-two year marriage seemed on the verge of ending in divorce. The problem was Joe’s prized pumpkin, nurtured to a size worthy of winning first place in our local fall fair. Mary had invited their family for Thanksgiving and was determined to see the pumpkin made into her famous pies.

    “The Grandchildren love my baking ”She explained.”Dr.Fox, it’s pure malice Joe won’t let me use that pumpkin.”

    “Now Mary,” I spoke.” In my opinion Joe does not mean to disparage you in front of your Grandchildren.”

    “That’s right,” Joe spoke up.” I just ain’t going to sacrifice my chance at winning for a fool pie.”

    “Doctor,” Mary exploded,” He’s the most obstinate old fool I’ve met. Can you do something to make him listen?”

    Joe’s look turned pensive.

    “What’s your side of this Joe?” I asked.

    “That pumpkin means a lot to me but winnings not the only reason I won’t let her use it. She ticked me off.”

    “Ticked you off?” I repeated.

    “She locked my long johns outside yesterday morning until they froze.” Joe glared. “I can’t live with a woman who’d do that.”

    “Now Joe, that sounds easily solved.” I spoke quietly.

    “I was in them long johns when she did it.” He exclaimed.

    I struggled to maintain my professional countenance

    “Is that true Mary?” I asked.

    “He went to get the paper, just walked right outside while I was talking to him.” She replied.” I figured he could stay out there awhile.”

    “How would you have felt if Joe got sick?” I asked.

    “He’s too ornery to get sick.” She flashed.” Last summer he ran over my roses with his new-fangled riding lawn mower.”

    “You sold that mower without even asking me afterwards,” Joe yelled.

    “I warned you I would if you refused to wear your glasses when you rode it,” Mary replied tartly.” I’m going to cook that pumpkin too.”

    “Mary, Joe.”I interrupted.” Is one pumpkin worth so many years of marriage?”

    “A man has to take a stand,” Joe answered.” I can’t be giving in, it’s my pumpkin and I’ll do what I want with it.”

    “You want your own way in everything,” Mary’s temper flared.” You mope around for weeks if I want us to try something new.”

    “Old things work, why fix them?” Joe crossed his arms.

    I realized each was equally culpable for their current situation. They were close to drawing me into a long discourse on their attitudes. I had no time for digression from the subject of the pumpkin. I saw no reason a marriage of two such kindred souls should end over something so silly.

    “Could you both compromise?” I asked.

    “Maybe.” Joe looked wary.
    “Compromise?” Mary asked.

    “Yes.” I looked at my calender.”The fair is scheduled three weeks before Thanksgiving, correct?”

    “Yes,” they replied together.

    “Joe could enter the pumpkin, after the fair, Mary could use it to make her pies.”I waited.

    “I’d agree to that.” Joe said.

    “I can live with that.” Mary agreed.

    “Then it’s settled?” I waited. They stared at each other.

    “No more destroying my roses?” Mary asked.

    “Not so long as you promise not to freeze me or my long johns again, woman.” Joe walked over to Mary.

    “Deal?” he asked.

    “Deal.” she smiled at me. “He’s grumpier when he’s sick.”

    “Enough woman.”Joe’s voice held laughter.” Thanks for helping us figure this out Doc.”

    “Your welcome.” I replied.

    They left hand in hand. I thought of the girl I’d proposed to yesterday. I hoped we’d become exactly like Mary and Joe.

Word Count: 698
Written For Fiction Writers Weekly Flash Story Contest.
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