Self-isolation leads to wife-beating

By Sam Piatt

Blame it on the coronavirus: Isolation. Stir crazy.

And, finally, a wife-beating in our little home.

In the 65 years of life, I have shared with Bonnie Sue Mercer Piatt, I had never raised my voice toward her, much less my hand.

She was always a stay-at-home mom. Preparing breakfast, packing lunches, and having a hot supper on the table for me and our three little urchins.

Clean and fresh-smelling clothes and a clean house. Her job was much more demanding than mine.

Somehow, she managed the little paycheck I brought home every two weeks so that the bills got paid and there was enough money in savings for a summer vacation.

When there was a disagreement and things got a little testy (like, in the early years of the marriage, when she poured all my beer down the kitchen sink), I had the perfect way to handle it. I grabbed my fishing pole, slammed the canoe in the back of the old pickup, and headed for the Kinniconick. The singing riffles on the stream, a battling, leaping smallmouth on the line, and I soon forgot what the argument was about. And so did she.


I’ve almost forgotten what brought on the beating. Oh, now I remember. It was about my coffee cup.

Some of our grandchildren made a visit to our nation’s capital last year and brought us back two beautiful coffee mugs. There’s a picture of the Capitol and Abraham Lincoln. My name’s on mine, her name’s on hers.

I don’t care if she puts her cup in the dishwasher. But I’ve told her repeatedly, “Don’t put my cup in the dishwasher.”

The handle might break off, or the artwork becomes obscured. I wipe the inside of mine with a clean paper towel and hang it back on the rack near the sink for use again.

Well, last Wednesday morning I was at the sink hand-washing a couple of pans that we don’t clutter up the dishwasher with. The afore-mentioned wife was standing close by, supervising – making sure I got them clean before putting them in the cabinet.

I wanted to put my cup under the Keurig spout so I could have my first cup of java ready when my chores were finished.

My cup wasn’t hanging in its usual spot.

And, yes, you guessed where it was.

I opened the door to the dishwasher and removed the cup with the name “Sam” on it.

“I thought I told you to never put my cup in the dishwasher!” I said, in as angry a voice as I dared muster up.

She gave me that oh-hum-who-cares look.

It was more than I could take. I swapped her across her upper back with the dishrag. A wet dishrag.

The smoke coming from her ears and the little daggers shooting out at me from her eyeballs told me it was time to vacate the premises.


I called my fishing buddy, Creighton Stevens, and the next day, when the temperature would hit 74, we hooked my boat to his truck and headed for Grayson Lake, 50 miles away.

The lake was much lower than we had anticipated, considering all the rain we’ve had this spring. The 50-foot waterfalls tumbling down over the cliffs were running full and heavy.

The water was too low to launch at Caney Creek, on the headwaters, so we turned around and drove back to the Bruin ramp.

We weren’t the only ones to get bitten by the early spring (March 26) fishing bug. The big parking lot was filled with pickup trucks and trailers. (I hoped they all hadn’t beaten their wives before they left.)

We launched the boat and headed up the lake. The water temperature was 55 degrees. We stopped at a likely-looking spot where a fallen tree and brush pile protruded out from the base of a cliff.

While Creighton was still positioning the boat with the anchors, I caught our first crappie. In fact, I at one point had him down 3-0, highly unusual. He always beats me (except for muskie fishing). I haven’t forgotten the 15-0 crappie shellacking he once put on me on Cave Run Lake.

The fishing wasn’t really all that hot. We wound up with 12 crappies and bass.

When I got back, I was talking with my neighbor, Dr. Greg Hudson. He had been up on Caney, and when they found it was too shallow to launch, they fished from the bank. They got 10 crappies.


I was kidding a bit, of course, when I wrote earlier about me beating Bonnie with a dishrag. We both got a laugh out of it, actually.

But this morning (Saturday) my cup was in the dishwasher again.

It startles me when I see statistics revealing that almost 50 percent of marriages these days wind up in divorce. Did they not take the vow, …’ till death do us part?

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

By Sam Piatt

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.