"When we were first married," longtime E-R columnist Roger Aylworth writes, "Susan and I agreed on a division of labor. Susan hates to iron men's shirts, and I am no great fan of dishwashing, so I agreed to take care of my shirts, and my bride took over the sink duties. In the long run this has meant that the dishes almost always sparkle, and I wear a lot of wrinkled shirts."
Such is life at "Casa Aylworth," and now fans of Aylworth's family humor column can revisit the bouncing brood of seven kids and two parents, and new readers can become fans. "A Place in the Shower Schedule: 101 Favorite Columns" ($16.95 in paperback from Delphi Books, www.DelphiBooks.com) chronicles the sometimes goofy events surrounding a man still smitten with "the saintly Susan" (whom he married in 1970) and the veritable plethora of "widgets" and "grand-widgets" who have made their entrance along the way.
The author writes about his column that "what I wanted to do is produce 'feel good' humor, situations where people would laugh with and not at other people. . . . With six sons and a daughter I realized I had an enormous reservoir of material."
The columns are loosely arranged by category, such as "On Being Roger" (in which the author finds that wearing a tuxedo to work can add "woo-whoo to the world"--even at his advanced age); widget wars (including the never-enacted "bottom-otomies" of recalcitrant widgets); and "Getting Fit" (wherein Aylworth realizes that his "body warranty" has expired).
There are also tales of animals (what happens when Flashy the hamster gnaws through a water line feeding the dishwasher, for instance) and encomiums to "the coolest truck in the whole, entire world!"--a vehicle the author christens "MAH TRUCK!"
Parenting never really ends, Aylworth observes, but it's "the capacity to enforce parental edicts that fades. I discovered a long time back that true parental power begins to disappear very early in the kid-dad relationship: Real control peaks the day before the little guy grabs the spoon in his own tiny fist and begins to shovel the mashed peas into his own mouth without help."
Readers will want to shovel in the columns in this warm, wise and wascally book.