#102 – The Christmas Towels

As I well know, every cohabitating couple owns certain items one of them detests. The objects holding pride of place on my friend’s hate list happen to be his wife’s beloved Christmas towels. Ned told me all about them today, including their untimely end this past weekend.

According to Ned, his spouse received the Christmas towels as a gift from her grandmother a few years ago. Perhaps because the grandmother passed away soon after, Susie came to value the linen cloths like family heirlooms. And she’s displayed them as trophies in their guest bathroom for the past two years.

Ned can’t stand his wife’s towels, but not because his Jewish faith takes offense at their Christmas theme, or even because the gaudy, multicolored items with Santa’s visage hang in the bathroom year round. What Ned objects to is Susie’s insistence that the towels remain purely decorative. She’s prohibited anyone from using the cloths for their intended purpose. Ned finds her ban particularly galling because he’s forced to employ paper napkins during his frequent trips to the guest bathroom, instead of the items designed for the job.

For the past two years Ned’s made no secret of his animus. Yet he now concedes his mouthing off a tactical mistake. Susie’s known exactly whom to blame should any harm befall her grandmother’s gifts. As a deterrent, she’s threatened to follow any mistreatment of her treasures with the immediate disposal of Ned’s prized golf clubs. The only way Ned wouldn’t suffer for harm to the Christmas towels would be if the guilt fell squarely on a third party.

Behold the “third party”: Susie’s brother and his five-year-old daughter, who visited over the weekend. As visitors, they occupied the guest bathroom. Ned couldn’t seek sanctuary there until the guests departed last morning. He hadn’t been in there more than a minute before he yelled to his wife: “Honey, you’re never going to believe the mess your brother made in here!”

To Susie’s dismay, her husband hadn’t exaggerated the bathroom’s sorry condition. Someone had clogged the toilet and, by the looks of things, kept flushing in a vain effort to free the obstruction. As a result the bowl had overflowed, spilling human excrement and water onto the floor. The waste might’ve flowed out the door if the quick thinking perpetrator hadn’t sopped up the advancing flood … with Susie’s Christmas towels.

Beloved heirlooms or not, even Susie won’t try to salvage shit-covered decorative items. So Ned’s finally gotten his wish, and functional hand towels once again hang in their guest bathroom. Susie blames her brother or niece for the crime; and she’ll likely do so forever, since she’ll never dare confront dearest bro about the incident.

While Susie didn’t point a finger at Ned, I feel a bit less trusting of his innocence. The timing of his bathroom discovery seems suspicious and all too convenient to me. During our videoconference this morning, I asked him if “just between us chickens” he’d had anything to do with the contamination of the Christmas towels? He denied any involvement, profusely; but I couldn’t help but notice the twinkle in his eye when he spoke.

One of Susie’s Christmas Towels – Before

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