Friday, June 28, 2013

Pickin’ Potato Bugs ‘n Livin’ the Dream

Deep in every woman’s heart, no matter how practical she is, lives a die-hard romantic. That’s the reason commercials promote products displayed against a field of wind-blown wildflowers, stunning sunsets, or white sand beaches bordered by intensely blue waters. All the while, a simple but sweet tune plays behind the scenes if it’s a TV ad. These commercials aren’t designed for men. Trust me.

After the early dating years, much of the romance that attracts lovers in the first place gets lost in daily survival. It’s hard to set a candlelit table for two when a ball game begins at 6 p.m. or cattle need fed before the winter sun sets. It’s difficult to maintain that passionate gaze that connected you and your sweetie back in your courting days while a toddler and infant throw their evening hissy. As a couple adds anniversaries, a few special occasions have to make up for a lot of get-through-the-day-chaos.

Despite messy, unpredictable reality, the essence of the sweet young thing who wanted Prince Charming to swoop her away on his white charger keeps fanning her ancient dream. Why else would so many women keep romance novelists busy writing and selling books enough to fill jillions of library shelves? Why else would Hallmark devote an entire channel to happy-ever-after endings? 

Folks, mostly female, reading those novels and watching those programs are typically between the ages of 30 and 54. According to one source, the Hallmark Channel’s family friendly programming was listed number 1 with 96% audience retention. Those viewers are loyal too.

So what’s a long-married guy have to do to add sizzle to his true love’s life? According to my husband, he should invite her potato bug picking. He’d tell you timing was important because both dusk and dawn add that special ambience. If you make it a contest, that really spices up your together time.

I guess it must work because we met in the garden the other evening for a round of insect collecting. I wasn’t familiar with the nymph stage of these hungry critters so he graciously showed me several of the little orange and black squishy bugs before the competition began.

Once I understood what to look for, we each took a section of potato plants and began searching. Remembering that I appreciate chivalry, he was ever the gentleman and let me have the area with the most obvious snacking creatures. While those were easy pickin’, I quickly learned to scan the undersides of leaves to increase my chance of winning.

He already knew this species is particularly fond of hidden regions of potato plant anatomy and had significantly more bugs in his jar. Seeing his half-full container inspired me to double my efforts. I swished potato plants so wildly that the objects of my hunt tumbled from their dinner table to the ground below. 

The extra time I spent searching for lost prizes gave my darling more time to increase his Kerr jar’s contents. Soon, I had to admit I’d lost the game. 

While that might have upset a more competitive woman, I looked up to see the moon rising against the fading blue eastern sky. Evening’s cooling breeze blew my hair away from my face and riffled through the oat field behind the garden, making rolling waves. Birds flitted past, adding their simple but sweet songs to our evening. While standing knee high in potato plants, I realized I was living the dream those advertisements promote with the best fella a girl could find.

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