On the way home from the golf course one afternoon, the conversation turned to women ...and wives in particular. Dad said that after almost fifty years, he still does not have a clue about what Mother thinks about. I reply that women are somewhat "strange," and he says that I do not know the half of it.

He asks if I remember the first summer that Mother went to Norway, and I tell him that I do - that was the period of time in which I got divorced from my first wife, moved from New Mexico to southern Indiana, met and proposed to my second wife; all within that six week time period. He tells me that when he picked Mother up at the airport, she was almost jubilant to see him, for the first time in years. She was "beaming" and wanted to know about everything he had done while she was gone. He was feeling pretty good about the whole "off to Norway for the summer" experience.

They arrived at the house and he brought in her bags. She unpacked and sorted her laundry and then went into the bedroom. Dad went into the den to watch some television while she started washing her clothes. The washer sounds are soon accompanied by loud noises in the kitchen, Mother "banging" around. He goes into the kitchen and asks, "What's wrong?" Mother's response is an "icy stare" before leaving the kitchen and closing the door firmly in retreat to the bedroom.

"She didn't speak to me for weeks."

"You mean she never told you?" I asked, and then, unable to restrain myself, I began laughing.

Here is the story...

While my father was at the airport picking up Mother, my sister and I were straightening up and cleaning the house in preparation for her return. This included changing the bed linen, as neither of us had any doubt as to when the last time they had been refreshed was.

I'm not sure whose idea it was initialy, but we both thought it would be a good idea to play a little "practical joke" on our parents. I said that we should get some of Dad's underwear out of the laundry and stuff it under the sheets at the foot of the bed; my sister said she had an even better idea, and returned from her room with a pair of red silk panties, with a zipper in the crotch.

I did not even ask where they came from.

The item was dutifully wadded up and stuffed over the bottom edge of the mattress.

There was an incongruity here, in that the sheets were clean and fresh, but my mother took no notice of this. She also assumed that the bed linens had not been changed since her departure and, as she was doing laundry, there was no cause to delay their removal and replacement.

I would like to have been a fly on the wall.

At the conclusion of this "confession" my father was silent for a moment. The only sounds were the tires on tarmac and the rush of wind past the windows. And if he had been able to control his laughter from that point, I'm sure he would have hit me.

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