The Super Punt
BY CAPPY HALL REARICK
When it comes to food, Babe doesn’t dare complain about my cooking. Why? Because he doesn’t do kitchens, he does football and golf. His remote control speed-clicks to ESPN. He can catch a football with one hand and he easily swings a golf club in the right direction, but so domestically challenged is he that if he applied for government assistance, he’d get it in no time.
B.C. (Before Cappy), he was the Go-To guy who knew all about microwavable food. The day he married a Southern gal who knew how to cook was the day his epicurean fantasies came true. He hasn’t strolled down the frozen food aisle since strolling down that other aisle with me almost thirty years ago. Generally speaking, his culinary lack of interest doesn’t matter to me, but today it does, because a horrible stomach virus hit me twelve hours ago.
Having finally managed to fall into a fitful sleep, I am startled awake by Babe who is not so quietly pacing back and forth at the foot of my deathbed. It could be my delirium, but I have the insane notion that he may be concerned about my health or lack thereof.
“Babe, it’s only a bug. I’ll be okay.” My tone is sugarcane sweet but weak as a water sandwich. I sound like Melanie Wilkes in GWTW begging Scarlett to take care of dear Ashley after she goes to that big plantation in the sky.
When I look up, Babe is sneaking a peek at his Timex.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine, Sweetie,” he says. “But, um, I was just wondering …”
“Wondering what,” I say sweetly, still in Melanie Mode.
“Well, maybe you should eat something,” he says.
The man owes his life to the fact that he is pacing at the foot of my bed and not beside it. I shove the covers back faster than the speed of light and dash to the bathroom, breaking Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s world record.
Five minutes later, crawling on hands and knees, I reach my rumpled bed while holding a small plastic wastebasket clamped between my front teeth. Babe, on the other hand, is walking the floor as if he is a country/western song.
“What, Babe? Tell me what you want. Quick, so I can die in a quiet room.” I pray to the Kitchen Goddess that he won’t mention food again, at least before I can get a better grip on the wastebasket.
“I realize you’re not feeling a hundred percent, but I’ve got a nine o’clock tee time and I was thinking maybe you …”
I glare at him through sleep-encrusted, scary eyes and a mouth so dry it could hold a flame. Does he notice? Get serious. Indifferent, he hums to himself while trying to sink a practice ball into my bedroom slipper with his putter.
“Tell me, Babe, then go play golf so I can die in peace.”
He pauses in mid-putt. “You wouldn’t mind fixing me some bacon and eggs before you croak, would you?”
Back in the day, Babe was a college football linebacker and that may well have saved his life for the second time in less than five minutes. I reach for something heavy to throw at him. He dips left and then right as if he were Tom Brady dodging a tackle. I don’t know what it was I threw but it sounded like glass when it hit the wall. I hope it wasn’t Waterford.
While rushing from the room (as if going for a touchdown), he yells, “You could go to jail for that.”
For a tiny fraction of a second, I ponder what he might find to eat, but that thought flits through my mind faster than all the other things had raced through my body in the last 12 hours.
When I hear a noise in the kitchen, I think maybe the man has finally figured out how to pour cereal into a bowl.
Turns out, it is only the sound of the back door slamming as the ever-resourceful Babe makes a bump and run to the nearest Waffle House.
Huddled alone and experiencing what feels like my personal end zone, dying thoughts quickly turn to payback. If there is any justice in this world, then Babe will catch my bug and gain plenty of yardage running back and forth to the loo. When that happens, I will stand on the sidelines and yell like the cheerleader I once was.
You got the power,
You got the beat,
You got the spirit,
Now get on your feet!
Go team! Go!