That’s Joe – on the right – next to his beautiful wife Angie. You may remember this picture from my blog about his 90th birthday party last summer. Well now he’s 91 and still just as sharp. We’re in Wisconsin watching the news together on the couch, which is when most of his bon mots come out (as opposed to rants, more common in our Beaufort house) He says I can share two with you free of charge.
The first came up when Gary wanted to know where the key to the family’s 1974-era pontoon boat might be. It wasn’t in the usual place, which didn’t matter because Joe follows his own advice.
“It’s easy to feel stupid as you age because you forget where you put things. So just buy two or three of everything you commonly need and scatter them about the house. Viola – you double or triple your chances of finding it!”
The second piece of wisdom came after Joe asked me what I’ve been typing all day. I actually took my laptop with me to finish a chapter on the Byrne book. He asked who proofreads for me and I told him Gary usually has first look – before it goes off to my real editor – Susan Kammeraad Campbell at Joggling Board Press. He considers his job to catch cliches, mushy stuff he thinks will bore readers and the occasional error of fact. Like this one that slipped into my description of first approaching Byrne’s garden I won’t say how many years ago:
“The air smelled of salt, wisteria and bolting rosemary.”
Gary said “Rosemary doesn’t bolt. The rest’s okay.” So I confirmed it with my garden guru Will Balk, changed it to bolting cilantro, and sent the chapter off to Susan.
Joe thinks that was a bad idea. “You should leave a few dumb things like that in. That way when the book comes out and critics complain, at least you’ll know they really read it.”
Now that’s some 91-year-old Midwestern logic for you. Hmm…bolting rosemary might have to go back in.