He shops! He cooks!

Cherri Baer’s bright peach colored kitchen.

My husband, Bob, is a keeper! I always knew that, but I appreciate him even more in his retirement of 17 years. I cook hardly at all any more — and that's not because we eat out a lot. We don't!

He claims his cooking hobby began as purely a matter of survival when we began remodeling our 888-square-foot retirement home in Winfield. He remembers asking me about 11:55 a.m. each day, “What's for lunch?” I'd mumble a reply something like, “Don't bother me now. I'm busy.” The scenario would repeat itself at about 5:30 pm., as he inquired about supper.

Soon he was calling me about noon to the kitchen where a sandwich, chips and fruit would await. In the evening, meat, potatoes, a vegetable and cookies were served. Then he began clipping coupons from the newspaper, arranging them to fit the geographical layout of the grocery store.

“You go ahead and sand the sheetrock, honey. I'm making a run to the store!” 

I would stand there gaping as he left me. Later, he'd chat about how much money he saved because of the coupons and sales. Was this really the same man I'd been married to all these years?

What I wasn't prepared for, though, was hearing the happiness in his voice about the checkout people and other employees who became his friends. They'd talk about each others' kids and grandkids, family vacations and of course, the weather.

When he'd buy lots of hamburgers, chips and Pepsi, they say, “Oh, having all your neighbors over for a backyard cookout again, huh?” They were right. He will quickly admit to you that he'd much rather shop and cook than sand sheetrock or use a miter saw any day. I, on the other hand, enjoy building a deck or painting a room. I'm the one at our house who owns and uses the power tools. I love the results — two decks in our backyard with a small pond.

There are three shades of gray in our living room, so two vintage porch columns stand out. And then there is the kitchen wall and cabinet color I chose when we retired. It's a fairly bright peach hue, which I lifted from the mat surrounding a painting of apricots. Most people blink when they first see the color.

I think I was just ahead of my time in my choice. An article I read the other day says the color white in kitchens is out of style. Instead, people are using bold, vibrant colors.

HA! I beat the trend by 17 years.

Thanks to my husband for all those meals so I could concentrate on decorating to my heart's delight!

Cherri Baer, of Winfield, writes an occasional column for the CowleyCourierTraveler.

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