Seldom a Dull Moment
Joe was a bronzed and blond hunk of a guy who worked for DWP in the daytime, lifted weights and sun-tanned himself in his spare time, and tried to enforce upon his family a rigorous policy of health food for every meal, whether he was home for meals or not. Edna was a slender, pony-tailed cop who got a kick out of strolling through the San Pedro jail at night playing raucous lullabies for sleeping prisoners on the bars of the jail cells with her wooden nightstick. Joe and Edna lived with their two kids Jaye and Joey in a sagging Victorian house that endured splintered wood on the floors, cracked plaster on the walls, and trembling windows threatening to break free from their peeling frames. On the occasional day off when Edna eventually succumbed to cleaning the decrepit house, she thoughtfully played her long-playing vinyl records of calliope music full-blast, loud enough that the entire neighborhood could enjoy the music too. It was no wonder then that plaster was cracked, the floor splintered, and the shaky windows wanted to escape their wooden frames. Oom-pa-pa, Oom-pa-pa! Just like the circus! When Edna decided to teach her Airedale "Murphy" to jump an obstacle course in the backyard, clever Murphy ran around the obstacles instead of leaping over them, utterly refusing to do otherwise, so an exasperated Edna finally decided to show him how to do it---and in no time at all managed to shatter her leg in a severely bad way. That, of course, was the absolute end of Murphy's obedience instruction. One summer evening, my husband and I were having dinner in our tiny kitchen when a terrifying bellow roared from the rickety Victorian house next door, a bellow much louder than usual, so we ran to the window to see what in hell was going on over there this time---just as a chocolate milk carton came flying out the back screen door, followed by a cooking pot and a scattering of falling food, followed rapid-fire by yet another airborne pot, lid, and more indeterminate contents. Seems that health-nut Joe caught awful Edna in the act of feeding an open-a-box-and-add-water supper to their two hungry kids, and Joe who had come home unexpectedly early from the gym was having none of it.