Dinner at Mrs. Stepford’s

I had a great dinner at Mrs. Stepford’s house tonight. It’s Mr. S’s band night and he doesn’t come home for dinner. Wednesday night dinners are getting to be an institution either at my house or hers. On cold winter nights, we like to spend an evening laughing and we’ve found that Wednesday programming on the television is scheduled just as we like it.

I like Doc Martin, that BBC comedy of an asocial doctor in the tiny seaside community of Port Wenn. Mrs. S likes Little Mosque on the Prairie. I admit that it has a wacky Canadian sense of humour and I like it too. Then there is the new Sophie comedy slash drama, also Canadian, that can get us rolling in the aisles.

I thought dinner was the black bean soup that was filled with vegetables and it should have been enough. However, Mrs. S had a spaghetti squash concoction in the oven, topped with spicy sausage sliced in rounds. We had to taste it even if we had filled up on the hearty soup. It was just heavenly. She has a way with spices that is most agreeable.

While we were just beginning the new wine discovery, a Cano Casecha 2005, a red that is best taken with food, Mrs. S. got a call from Lindsay, a single mom whom the Stepfords have figuratively adopted into their family.

Lindsay is a nurse and like many nurses I have met, she has a bawdy sense of humour. She’s full of life and fun; but she is also full of woes with her two teenagers that are being, well…., teenagers, pushing the limits as far as they can go.

Tomorrow, Lindsay is bringing over her son to do some labour for Mrs. S., clearing up the basement which has been torn apart for some renovations and needs serious help before anything further can be done.

I was sitting across the pinewood kitchen table as Mrs. S fielded a call from Lindsay. I only got one half of the conversation, so some critical information is missing here.

“Tell Lindsay to come over while there’s still a portion of wine left for her.” I insisted, since I had brought the wine.

Mrs. S relayed the invitation then sotto voce, her hand over the mouth piece, “She can’t come tonight but she’ll come tomorrow.”

“Come to the gym with us,” Mrs. S. commands Lindsay.”We’ll lock Peter in the house and he can do his work while we are away!”

“Tee hee hee’, she laughs, “A teenage abduction!” a wicked smile spreads over her face, one mixed with glee.

“She’ll come!” she relays to me. And then back to Lindsay, “Can’t you just see the headlines. Three portly seniors, ladies, overtake the Leisure Centre,” and she starts to laugh again as I shake my head from side to side, a wide grin on my own face.

“That’s what you get for going to all-women gyms!” she admonishes Lindsay, then….

“We’ll fix you up with some good looking gymnast!” she promises. “There are lots of shapely men around.” She’s always promising to do Yenta matchmaking for Lindsay (and for me and for any number of unattached mutual friends). I’ve not yet heard of any successful matches, though the intentions are well-meant.

She covers the mouthpiece again and says to me, “Lindsay has just lost twenty pounds. She’s looking pretty good now.”

I could just picture it. Three two-ton tessies hogging the treadmills, then elbowing the young bloods out of the way as we hilariously pedal our way through our aerobic preliminaries. we ladies have lost our inhibitions. We are not shy.

Later, using our practiced motherly glares, we will succeed in overtaking the rowing machine, the bicep and tricep building contraptions, the pulley activated weights. All the while, yours truly, a seasoned gym aficionado of six long weeks now pontificating on form and instructing these other two in the use of ten to fifteen different models of exercise equipment.

I just realized as I was writing this how similar the quiet chapel-like halls of the art gallery are similar in their concentration to these temples of body building. I realized that no one speaks to another whilst treading or pedalling or weight lifting. All the voices are low, with minor bits of instruction going on from time to time. It’s a serious place. People are there to make muscle. There is no time for socialization. If there are three of us there tomorrow, the others won’t know what hit them!


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