Reprinted from May 1992
One of those kids with the long hair and out of tune guitar ought to write a song about my husband, RB, and his troubles with a certain safety chain.
One day a lady came in to purchase a new band. She was carrying a baby in her arms – who no doubt had contributed to her rash of broken watch bands and safety chains.
“None of them seem to hold up for me,” she complained bitterly. She held up the broken band for RB to see.
“No sweat!” reassured RB confidently. “I’ll just put this nice shiny new J-B band on your pretty watch and have you on your way in no time!”
She departed very shortly, happily admiring her new band.
“The easiest $5 I’ve made all week,” reasoned RB silently.
A couple of days went by and she was back, “I don’t know what happened to it,” she sighed helplessly. “It just fell apart.”
“The safety chain dangled in two pieces from her watchband. RB quickly reunited the safety chain with the band and she went on her way once more.
A week passed and the very same scene was repeated again. I suspect Junior had been tugging on Mommy’s band and thereby contributing to the breakage problem, but Mommy never let on one way or the other.
“It just fell apart,” she whined.
“I don’t know why…” RB snorted. “I’ll fix the blasted thing to where it’ll never come loose!” He snatched up the band and disappeared into the back room.
When he returned I noticed he had used an extra heavy neck chain section and two large jump rings, which he had soldered to the band. It did look sturdy indeed!
“There!” he announced triumphantly, “your safety chain problems are over!”
He adjusted the band on her dainty wrist and she was happily on her way again.
He winked at me. “She’ll never break that one, I’d bet my life on it,” he boasted.
RB shouldn’t have bet his life on such an uncertain subject, I’ll promise you!
The next day was Sunday and I had resolved to roust RB out of bed early enough to attend late church service. As we settled in the pew, I noticed the customer with the safety chain problem seated directly in front of us. I nudged RB and called his attention to her presence. She was holding the baby in her arms (Heaven knows what nurseries are for, seems folks with young ‘uns never use them).
Just as the minister began his sermon, the baby started to fret and whine as babies will, always at the most inopportune time. She tried to soothe him, but to no avail, and he cried even louder.
I’ll never know exactly how, but in the sequence of motions necessary for the lady to get to her feet, she evidently leaned forward slightly. The watch safety chain snared the hair of the lady sitting directly in front of her, and that poor soul happened to be wearing a wig. Without realizing what was happening, our customer moved down the pew and into the center aisle of the church with the lady’s wig dangling from her watch safety chain.
RB slumped down as far as he could and buried his head in his hands. The partially scalped lady bustled down the aisle in hot pursuit of her wig as the congregation tittered softly. The customer with the baby paused when she noticed her blunder and the hairless lady attempted to untangle her wig. In the process, the baby screamed louder and louder.
The minister, sensing the tenseness of the situation, stopped speaking and said, “Let us bow our heads for a moment of prayer.”
I considered continuing my observation from underneath the pew, but somehow I sat there and kept a straight face.
It was a relief when church was over. “Do you realize,” I said to RB, “your blasted safety chain caused all that rumpus?” He just shrugged his shoulders helplessly.
You would think this was the climax of the story, but that came the next day when RB looked up to find our lady customer standing across the counter, holding her broken safety chain aloft.
“See,” she groaned, “it just fell apart again. I didn’t do anything. I was just sitting in church and looked down…”
RB fainted dead away. Someday maybe I can tell you his reaction (after I revived him) to her explanation!