Bill: Bill Manford here.
Still as rock-hard at 88 as I was at 18.
Mira: If the rock youre referring to has the consistency of boiled squash, then
you are indeed correct.
Bill: (pointing to wife) The forked-tongued seahag behind me is my loving wife of 70 years, Mira.
Mira: Has it just been 70? Seems
Nope, just 70.
I know because I mark every year down in my special little book.
Mira: (sincere) Really? How sweet.
Bill: Yep, I call it my years
of burden book. I figure if I get to 80, Gods got to let me in to heaven. I bet Job himself didnt accumulate more than 20 marks. Im a shoe-in.
Mira: I have a thought as to what to put my shoe in.
Bill: Careful Mira, it is our anniversary and after slaving
in front of a hot microwave all day to prepare a special dinner I would hate
to see you (yelling) DIE OF HEART FAILURE!!!
Nice try. But you know I didnt
spend a minute by the microwave but by the blender you toothless coot.
Bill: I thought I smelled your famous, blue-ribbon, pureed
(they sit down to eat)
Mira: Would you like some salad?
Bill: Cant, gives me heart burn.
Mira: Salad gives you heart burn? Since
Bill: Since always.
Mira: Youve had a salad every supper for every year Ive known you.
Bill: And Ive always suffered in silence. (patting stomach) Tough
Mira: You havent been silent your whole life and as for tough as nails, only if you believe that you recovered
from all the fatal ailments youve claimed to have suffered from the past seven decades. I have a little special book
too. I call it my what is Bill
dieing from now book. My favorite is your 1952 bout with bubonic plague.
Bill: Quit your snickering woman, I had all the symptoms.
Still think I just licked it. One good thing from years of eating your
vile swill is my immune system is well developed.
(looking below his waist) Good to
hear something on that prune you call a body is developed.
Pass the salad.
Mira: My hero.
Bill: What happened to us?
Mira: What do you mean?
Bill: I dont remember us being this way.
I remember the first meal we shared together.
Bill: Yep, 3rd grade, I knew at that moment I would
need to take care of you for the rest of my life. Snatched you right out of the
grips of despair I did.
(Move from table to sit on ground. They are
now 3rd graders; 1924)
Bill: (very shy)
Mira: Whats your name?
Bill: Billy. Whats
Mira: Mira Colleen McGillicutty. What ya got there wrapped in that ol dirty rag?
Bill: Nothin much. Sandwich and some carrots.
Mira: Dont see no meat on that sandwich?
Bill: Thats cause its my favorite, mashed potatoes.
Mira: Oh, (pause) you got any dessert?
Bill: I said I had carrots.
Mira: No silly, like good stuff? Lets
see what mom packed me in my pail. (looks in pail and starts taking inventory) Turkey
sandwich, fresh butter and crackers.Ah, here we
are, two homemade chocolate chip cookies. Want one?
Mira: Yeah, sure. Why not? You can even have the big one.
Mira: Hey, what happened to your eye?
Mira: How come its all purple and stuff?
You ask a lot of questions.
Mira: Its awful cold. How come you
dont got a coat?
Bill: (getting angry)
I aint cold.
Mira: Even your toes dont get cold in the snow sticken out of your shoes like
Bill: (silence, a cold
Mira: Im sorry, just stupid sometimes.
Still want the cookie?
Bill: Naw, sugar makes me
sick. Thats why I dont pack any sweets.
Mira: Dont your mommy pack your lunch?
Bill: My moms in heaven.
Mira: What about your daddy?
Mira: What, aint you got a daddy either?
Bill: (he reaches up
at touches his eye)
Mira: (realizing what he is saying)
Bill: (stands) Lunch
is about over, I got to be goin
Mira: It just started, plus you aint even ate your lunch yet.
Bill: Trying to lose a little weight.
Mira: (laughing) Billy, your as skinny
as that willow switch.
Bill: Bye Mira, (starts
to leave and turns back) Say, can I have that cookie?
Mira: Thought it would make you all sick and stuff?
Bill: Yeah, but Im tough as nails. (smiles)
Mira: (gives him the cookie)
Bill: (sits back at
table, old again) You know, after 500 years of marriage
Mira: (now standing) 70 years
Bill: I was going for how it felt, not actual number of years. After 500 years of marriage, I still enjoy eating meals with you.
Mira: Really? Then why so mean all the time?
Bill: Yep, no way I would talk to someone I didnt love the
way I talk with you.
Besides you give as good as you take.
Mira: We have had some interesting meals over the years.
Like your last year of school. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Mira: Which for you is something, because you usually cant remember yesterday.
Bill: I thought we were going to play nice?
Mira: Sorry, saw an opening.
Bill: You were beautiful, glowing, in fact.
Mira: And you were covered in filth.
Not my fault I had to work for a living. Hell, after dad left me in 29 when the market crashed I had
to quit school and fend for myself. Not many fourteen year old boys had
to make it on their own, even back then. Wasnt till Roosevelts New Deal that I even landed a decent job in 33.
Mira: (drifts forward, rubbing stomach;
1933) You were so strong and handsome. You were so proud that day telling
my about you new job with the highway department.
And I went and ruined it.
(running up to her, very excited) Honey! You aint goin to believe this. I just
landed a great job with the state highway department. Drop that ol sandwich, Im going take you some place really
nice! From now on you an I are going to have all sorts of fun.
Mira: Oh, Billy, thats great. Im
so proud of you. You work so hard. (eyes drift off)
Bill: Whats wrong. I
do something wrong?
Mira: Billy, I have news too. (pause) Im going to have a baby.
Bill: Oh, um
Mira: Oh, Billy Im so sorry.
Bill: (takes a moment) Sorry? Sorry? What for. I was going to marry you anyways. Well just do it sooner,
thats all. (rubs her stomach) Bet
that boy of ours will be tough as nails.
Bill: Sure a boy, what else?
Mira: I love you. (hugs and kisses him)
(Bill breaks free and walks back to table obviously disturbed)
Bill: (old again) Anything for dessert? Or did you just figure I wasnt worth it.
Mira: Whats wrong with you all of a sudden?
Bill: Ill tell you whats wrongWhats wrong is..I miss my boy.
Mira: Oh, Bill, Im sorry, thats
a meal I would love to forget too. (drifts forward 1951)
Bill, dinner will be ready in a
minute. Honey, the paper and mail is on the corner table if you want to read it before we eat.
Bill: (looks as if going
through mail, opens up a letter, and with a shocked face walks toward his wife) Mira?
Mira: (knows something is wrong) What is it Bill? (frantic) What is it?!