The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 7, 2012

Mike Pound: Tough job, but someone must do it

By Mike Pound

— I had to work on Sunday.

But before you start to feel sorry for me or nominate me for Globe Employee of The Year, I should tell you that my Sunday work consisted of standing next to a large smoker grill full of spare ribs and talking about barbecue.

Every time my wife uses the word “work” in relation to what I do, she makes little air quotation marks with her hands. As in, “What time to you go to ‘work?’” or “How was ‘work’ today?”

My wife doesn’t think I work for a living, is what I’m saying.

On Sunday, I drove to Joplin to talk smoked ribs with Chris Howard. Chris is president of the Joplin Host Lions Club and a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. The Lions Club is gearing up for its annual Rib Fest on May 26 and on Sunday, Chris gave me some barbecue tips that will be featured  in Wednesday’s “On The Table” section of The Joplin Globe.

Some of the ribs that Chris had on his smoker Wednesday were mine. As part of the food page story, I purchased a few slabs of ribs for Chris to smoke so I could sample his cooking. I mean, it wouldn’t be right for me to write a story about smoked ribs if I didn’t sample them, would it?

I may be lazy but I do have ethics.

After spending about an hour and a half with Chris I took my ribs and drove home. While I was talking with Chris my wife sent me a text. I ignored it. Later, as I was walking to my car, my phone rang.

“Where are you?”

“Still working,” I said.

“Sure,” my wife said in a tone that meant she didn’t think I was  working.

My wife reminded me that I was supposed to stop at a store and pick up some plants.

“Oh, right. But you were supposed to write down the name of the plants and you didn’t,” I said in my “Got Ya,” voice.

“I texted the name to you,” my wife said  in her “No You Didn’t” voice.

I was beat.

When I got to the plant place, I looked for the plants my wife wanted. She said the plants were “water plants” but when I looked where she said they were supposed to be and all I saw was a sign that said  “pond plants.”

Part of me wanted to assume “pond plants” were the same as “water plants” but part of me didn’t want to sleep outside. So, I asked the nice lady at the store if they were the same. She said they were. I said I hoped so because my wife would likely kill me if I brought home the wrong plants and, with my luck, my wife would get a jury of married women and  would be acquitted.

When I got home with the “pond/water” plants, I asked my wife if I bought the right plants and, as I did, my life flashed before my eyes.

It was actually kind of boring.

When my wife said I did indeed get the right plants I breathed a sigh of relief. As a reward, I reached for a beer and got ready to sit outside.

“What are you doing?” my wife said.

I told my wife I was going to sit outside and drink a beer. My wife told me I was going with her to the large hardware/everything store in our town.

“It will only take 10 minutes,” my wife said.

Two hours later we left the large hardware/everything store. When we got home I told me wife I was tired and that I was going to sit outside and have a beer.

“Oh that’s right,” my wife said. “You had to ‘work.’”

My wife’s a riot.