AN ARGUMENT WITH THE OLD WOMAN
By Don Marquis
Chapter Seven, “The Old Soak and Hail and Farewell,” 1921
The Old Woman and me had quite an argument last Sunday,” said the Old Soak. “It ended up with her turning a saucepan full of hot peas onto my bald spot, which ain’t no way to treat garden truck, with the cost of things what they be.
“But I won one of these here moral victories, even if she did get the best of me and chase me out of the house.
” It all come about over some pie we had for dinner on Sunday. It looked like mince pie to me when she set it on the table, and I says to her why don’t she make some rhubarb pie or apple pie or something, for this is a hell of a time of year to be having mince pie. And mince pie ain’t no good anyhow unless you put a shot of brandy or hard cider into it. She knows I orter be careful what I put into my stomach, which is all to the bad since I can’t get the right kind of drink any more, and I told her so.
” ‘Well, then,’ says she, ‘this ain’t mince pie. This is raisin pie.’
” ‘Raisin pie!’ I says, and I was shocked and scandalized. ‘Raisin pie! Good lord, woman, are you crazy? You don’t mean to say you’ve went and took hundreds and hundreds of good raisins and went and wasted them thataway by puttin’ ’em in a pie! It’s the most extravagant thing I ever hearn tell on! Ain’t you got sense enough to know that in these days raisins ain’t something you eat?’
” ‘Well, what are they, then?’ she says.
” ‘Raisins, I told her, ‘is something you make hootch out of, and you know I’m reduced to makin’ my own stuff these days. And yet here you be, puttin’ at least a quart of good raisins into a gosh-darned pie!’
“Well, one word led to another, and, as I said, she hit me with the peas. But I got away with that pie. I won the moral victory. I got that pie fermentin’ now, in the bottom of a cask full of grape and berry juice and other truck I picked up here and there. No, sir, there ain’t goin’ to be no raisins wasted around my house by eatin’ of ’em in this here time of need!”
The Old Soak was silent a moment, and then he said: “This here installment of my diary of booze takes up that very point of quarrellin’ with the Old Woman.”