Pine Nuts: Singing in the house |

Pine Nuts: Singing in the house

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Writing Pine Nuts is something I do to occupy myself when I have an urge to sing but my wife will not allow me to sing in the house.

I love to sing, though when God was handing out that talent, well, I was at the back of the line and got left. So I took to writing.

At first I wrote poems, but either they didn’t rhyme, or when they did rhyme they didn’t make any sense. While reading my poems aloud and hoping the good woman might shed a sympathetic tear, she would guffaw, like a camel, so I gave it up.

Next I turned my writing ambitions to advertising. A Mexican restaurant was about to open in our village and the owners solicited my marketing talents. Their concern was that the locals might suppose Mexican food would be too spicy to even try. So I dispelled those fears with a sure-fire slogan, “Our Food Is Not Too Hot!” When not a single customer crossed their threshold in 10 days they closed up shop and I was right behind them.

I took to writing occasion cards. I wrote a beautiful card for a flower shop that was moving across town, “Your scent wafts across our town!” But it somehow was delivered to the business next door, Bulgo’s Funeral Home, and I received a life-threatening letter in the return mail. So I quit that profession too.

I thought I might tackle a biography, so I selected a living politician and began, “The man I am about describe over the next 300 pages is of sterling character. Nobody I interviewed has see him drunk above three days out of the seven. The popular belief that he is all talk and no cider I have effectively allayed, along with the conception that he can swear like a fish monger’s wife, and was born hoggish after money. I might be constipated as to language, but I can write about this excellent fellow until hell freezes over, maybe longer.”

The book was never published. Before I could get the first chapter finished the preface leaked out and I received a certified letter from an attorney informing me that I would be hauled into court for defamation if a single word of my biography got published. At this indelicate moment I drawed out. I decided to write a biography about someone who would not sue me, myself. Once again I had 300 pages of material, but in the second chapter I ran out of malaprops, hyperbole, half-truths, innuendos and double entendres. So I cut-stick as the saying is, and went to writing obituaries.

My first obituary memorialized a person I knew personally, and who died owing me five dollars. Now, I am a forgiving person, but to die owning somebody five dollars is inexcusable. So I wrote, “John Doe died yesterday without a blemish on his record if you don’t count the five dollars he was owing me. We can only hope he has a niece or nephew or grandchild with the heart to make this shortcoming whole. Following settlement of earthly matters, may John Doe rest in peace.”

When I didn’t get the five dollars I took to writing Pine Nuts, this being column number 1,310, which has served to keep me out of troubled waters, as my lovely lady still will not allow me to sing in the house.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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