Life & Times

Maybe she should’ve left a long time ago

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Every once in a while, Rusty gets lazy and somehow talks his wonderful wife Janet into taking over his column duties. She rescued him this week when he said he was “out of town.’’

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Hi, my name’s Janet. I’m Rusty’s wife. I got a call this past weekend from Rusty telling me that he was not going to be able to get back in time to get a column written.

He was working at an outdoor show in Memphis. Well, he told me he was working. He called me from a rib joint, and it sounded more like there was a party going on than work. Anyway, he asked if I wanted to write another column for him.

I was sort of surprised that he would ask me. He said that I received more favorable comments from a previous column I had written than he ever did. I told him I would think about it.

It’s a little harder for me to think of things to write about than it is Rusty. His brain works different than mine. In fact, his brain works different than most people.

Not long ago, Rusty and I went out with some friends for dinner. After a while, my friend asked me “Has Rusty ever done anything to make you think about leaving him?”

That got me to thinking, and I came up with several things.

Once, before we were married Rusty was going to teach me all about firecrackers. It was New Year’s Eve and Rusty showed up for our date with a bag full of fireworks. He was all excited and was telling me everything he and his cousin Coy used to do with firecrackers.

He made it sound like so much fun. Rusty’s good at that.

Well, we went out into the country, and he dug into his bag and handed me a firecracker and a lighter. I put the firecracker down on the ground and started to light it.

“What are you doin’?” he asked. I told him that I was going to light the firecracker.

“That ain’t the way you do it,” he said. He reached down, picked up the firecracker, and put it in my hand.”

“First you light it, and then throw it,” he said. He then demonstrated.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Don’t be such a ‘fraidy cat,” he said.

“Well, OK,” I said. Back then, I was pretty shy, and I was susceptible to his influence.

I lit the firecracker and started to toss it, when it went off in my hand.

I was in shock. Rusty looked at my hand and said. “Man, that hurts, don’t it?”

I should have left, but I didn’t.

I’ve never been real fond of bugs and such, and wasp and bees scare me to death. Rusty and I had not been dating long, when what I thought was a wasp started buzzing around my head. I started waving my hands trying to shoo it off.

“What are you doin’?” asked Rusty.

“It’s a wasp!” I said frantically.

“That ain’t no wasp,” he snickered. “That’s a dirt dauber.” They can’t sting.”

“Are you sure?” I questioned.

“Trust me. I know what I’m talkin’ about.” Words I learned to dread.

About that time, the dirt dauber, wasp, or whatever it was, flew onto my forehead and stung me. I yelled, and an egg-sized knot appeared almost immediately between my eyes. Rusty looked at the knot and said. “Well, what do you know, either that wasn’t a dirt dauber, or they’ve grown stingers.”

I should have left, but I didn’t.

Then there was the time that he wanted me to shoot his shotgun. I told him that I wasn’t really interested in shooting it because I knew it would kick.

“It don’t kick,” he stated. “I just kind of pushes you.”

“I really don’t think so,” I said.

“Come on,” he begged. Rusty is like a bulldog. He won’t let go of something, until it finally gives up or dies. Finally, I agreed to shoot the gun.

After Rusty picked the gun, and me, up off of the ground and dusted me off, he said, “Kicks a little, don’t it.”

I should have left, but I didn’t.

Once, when we were fishing, Rusty ran into a buddy of his. They talked for a while, then for some reason they got into a friendly argument about who could swallow the most live minnows. I am not making this up. Rusty won the argument. On the ride home, every so often he would belch and it would smell like a fish market.

I should have left, but I didn’t.

Another time, we were on a barge with a group of friends at a Fourth of July party. We were out in the middle of the lake, so we could watch the fireworks people were firing off from shore.

On each of the four corners of the barge were Tiki lights. They were filled with kerosene, and all but one was lit. Rusty unscrewed the top of the unlit Tiki light. I asked him what he was doing. He said more words that I later came to dread hearing. “Don’t worry. I know what I’m doin’.”

He tilted the Tiki light up, and proceeded to get a mouthful of kerosene. Then he grabs one of the lit Tiki lights and spews out a stream of kerosene onto the flame. A huge flame shot out over the water that lit up nearly the whole lake. Rusty explained, as he beat out his smoldering eyebrows, that he and one of his friends, Greg Hunt, used to practice what they called fire eating back when they were kids, just in case they ever joined the Circus.

I should have left, but I didn’t.

I ask myself quite often; with all of the dumb stunts Rusty has pulled over the years, why he is still alive; either by unnatural causes or why someone hasn’t killed him.

I guess I’ll hang around to see what happens next. Every day is a new adventure around here.

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