I have chronicled the story of how my old pal Skippy met a woman named Victoria at a wedding, and how these two eventually got married.
When they met, Victoria was a devoted churchgoer, while Skippy rarely set foot in a church. His only religious experience was as an amateur observer and collector of Bible verses, which he occasionally wrote down and stuck on the wall above the workbench in his garage.
Some readers may wonder how things turned out for the mismatched couple.
It must be said that their path toward connubial bliss was not without its challenges.
After their wedding, Victoria rolled up her sleeves and got busy trying to change Skippy and mold him into the kind of man she really wanted, the way women do.
Things settled into a routine for the newlyweds. She dragged him to church every chance she got, and he resigned himself to his fate. He would rather have spent his Sundays on a golf course or at the lake, but he was an agreeable fellow, and willing to make sacrifices to keep peace in the home.
The couple seemed as happy as any man and woman living under the same roof. Soon, however, a serpent arrived in their little garden of Eden to test the strength of their matrimonial bonds.
When Kaileigh Miller moved in next door, Skippy welcomed her enthusiastically as he would any new neighbor. He was a gregarious chap, and genuinely enjoyed talking to people and hearing about their experiences.
Victoria’s greeting, while not quite rude, was decidedly cooler. From her perspective, Kaileigh had three strikes against her. She was divorced, sociable, and rather attractive.
Skippy was willing to overlook these flaws, and did what he could to make Kaileigh feel comfortable in her new neighborhood.
Soon after she arrived, Skippy organized a party in the backyard.
The weather was extremely clement, but I couldn’t help feeling an apprehension of dark clouds on the horizon.
I spent much of the afternoon in my lawn chair sipping refreshing libations in the shade of a large maple tree. This vantage point gave me a good ringside view of the proceedings.
Things started off pleasantly enough, and everyone was having a grand time, enjoying adult beverages and playing games on the lawn.
However, it did not escape my attention that the more obsequious Skippy was in his manner toward Kaileigh, the icier the expression on Victoria’s face became.
As the day wore on, Victoria made comments that were increasingly sarcastic, all of which went right over Skippy’s head.
Although Skippy’s actions were harmless and completely above board, they were not what one might call wise.
When a guy has a new wife, particularly one prone to jealousy, it’s not advisable for him to pay too much attention to an attractive single female, even in an innocent and neighborly way.
Skippy kept yukking it up with Kaileigh, and Victoria kept getting madder. Skippy remained oblivious to the affect his actions were having on his helpmate.
I had decided to discreetly draw Skippy aside, and point this out to him, and remind him of the 21st verse in the fifth chapter of Jeremiah, about foolish people who have eyes but do not see, and who have ears but do not hear.
On that afternoon, those words described Skippy.
Before I could impart this wisdom, a serpent intervened.
It was not a Biblical kind of serpent; it was just an ordinary garter snake, but it set off a chain of events that had dire consequences.
About that time, our chum Beefy Biermann had been building a fire in one of those raised fire pits. It hadn’t been used for awhile, and the grass had grown up underneath it.
Beefy was hunched down next to the fire adding kindling, when the snake, perhaps aroused by the heat from above, emerged from the grass and manifested itself inches from Beefy’s face.
Beefy reared back in alarm, which caused him to collide with Skippy’s trouser seat. Skippy had been bending over, gallantly picking up a napkin Kaileigh had dropped.
The sudden impact from the rear caused Skippy to lurch forward, desperately grasping for something to break his fall.
He caught Kaileigh amidships with a textbook tackle and followed her to the turf.
Fate being what it is, Victoria emerged from the house carrying a tray of sandwiches at precisely that moment to find her husband on the ground, up to his ears in the Miller bikini.
Being a woman of action, Victoria didn’t bother asking for explanations. She dropped the sandwiches, and began pummeling Skippy with the tray, showing good follow-through and some snappy wrist action.
A few of the fellows restrained Victoria, and eventually got her calmed down. Explanations were made, and the party gradually resumed, albeit without some of the earlier lightheartedness.
I wrote down that verse from Jeremiah and gave it to Skippy to stick on his wall as a reminder that one should always pay attention, because antagonizing a woman, even unintentionally, is like throwing gasoline on a fire, and anyone who does so is likely to get burned.