I told Dave the other day that I needed him to be funny. He had managed quirky at breakfast and mildly amusing when he asked me if I had the bills all paid, but he had done nothing to really write home about. That was the problem. Not to put any unfair pressure on him or anything, but I had a column to write, and I needed fresh source material. Nothing I write seems to receive the approval that writing about Dave does. He’s a crowd pleaser. Never one to let me down, he was more than willing to jump into the breach. “So, Michele, do you want me to buy a new tractor and not tell you about it until you see it in the check register?”

Coleman michele
Michele and her husband, Dave, live in southern Idaho where they boast an extensive collection of...

“No, Dave,” I said, “that’s old news. You’ve already done that.”

“Well, I could buy a new implement and not tell you. I could really use a new roller harrow.”

"No, Dave, really. We’ve been there, done that.”


“Dave, you need to be funny in ways other than spending money behind my back. You need to branch out.”


It was my own fault for even bringing up the subject. Who is ever successful at being funny on purpose? I just needed to have more faith; I needed to trust the wheels of time and let them turn. If left to his own devices, Dave – just being himself, just being a farmer on the farm – never disappoints. Something is always bound to happen.

Sure enough, a few days later, we were getting ready to go to a family baptism on a Saturday. Nothing is harder for Dave than putting on a white shirt and tie on a Saturday. It goes against everything he stands for in terms of justice and the freedom of mankind. That said, he was ready to go before I had even started to think about it, which is also normal for us. Dave always wants to be half an hour early to any occasion we grace our presence with, and I always tell him that I have plenty to do in those precious 30 minutes. While he’s busy being early, I can be finishing up half a dozen things that I’ll never get to otherwise.

Of course, Dave doesn’t know how to wait patiently, or more accurately, he doesn’t know how to wait patiently, impatiently or any way at all whatsoever. So while I was changing, he took off to check some water. Now it’s vital to the plot of this story to know what David is riding these days. We have a little Honda 50 that our neighbor the genius mechanic got running again after we’d let it sit for a really, really long time. We don’t know exactly how many years it was out of commission, but our youngest is now 14 and she never rode it, so it had been awhile. Once we had it fixed, we had a new conundrum. Who was going to ride it? None of our kids are exactly lining up to provide us with grandchildren any time soon.

Of course, Dave had the solution. His motorcycle is 20-something-er-other years old and needs something-er-other fixed on it, so now he’s riding the 50. He looks like a Shriner in a parade minus the hat as he takes off to irrigate each morning – knees around his ears, shovel balanced across his belly. I take it as a sign that we have officially reached the age of not caring how embarrassing we are to our children.

Anyway, David couldn’t wait around for me to get ready to be on time, so he took off on the 50 and by the time I was dressed, he was back. We were talking about this and that as I was gathering my purse and whatever, when he turned around, and I gave a gasp. He had mud splattered all up the back of that clean white shirt – a perfect splash frozen in time from shoulder to shoulder. “David,” I said, “you just ruined your shirt. You’re going to have to change it.”

“It’s fine,” he said.

“It is not fine, you’re a mess. Go change.”

“Michele, you worry too much. Here,” he turned around, “just brush it off for me.”

Just brush it off? What exactly did he think he had splashed through – powdered sugar?

“This is beyond the power of brushing off, Dave. You are wet – wet and muddy.”

“Then it will dry. Really, Michele, no one is going to notice.”

This was the point of the conversation that I did myself no favors. I had asked Dave for something to write about, and he had delivered. Why didn’t I just let him go? Be himself? Go to church with an eruption of mud up his back? I probably could have written about it for months. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking in literary terms. I was in proprietary mode, and I gave him the look – the look that says, “I am not going with you anywhere looking like that.” Dave huffed back into the closet to change. Two minutes later, I heard him say, “Hmm, well, I guess there is a little bit of mud on here. Got me worse than I thought.”

I knew the real reason he didn’t want to change. He owns exactly one short-sleeved dress shirt, and he really, really, really didn’t want to wear a long-sleeved one. But at that point, even he knew he was defeated. So, he took the only recourse he had left to him. He refused to shave. He headed to church with a porcupine on his face and a smile from ear to ear.

I guess a man has to seize the day, or in this case the Saturday, any way he can.