Making music with your sweetie

Farm Forum

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

This quote from well-known American writer and illustrator Robert McCloskey pretty much sums up my present state of mind. You see, I’ve been working on our income taxes and after much deliberation, many discussions, several conferences, and a multitude of consultations, I have come to one earth shattering conclusion—I’m brain dead. In regard to doing the income taxes, I thought I knew what I was doing after listening to what I thought I heard I was supposed to do, but then I realized that I did not understand what I heard and I did not know what was meant. (If you can make sense out of what I just wrote, well, more power to you.)

Tax time mania annually creates a great deal of frustration and so much consternation that a person just wants to fly away to a peaceful paradise where there are no computers, cell phones, or paper documents like W-2’s, 944’s, 1099’s, etc. This tax time frustration dilemma often results in a body coming down with the dreaded disease known as the TTB’s. Read on for the trauma and the cure.

I’ve come down with the TTB’s

TTB’s are nothing more than suffering from the Tax Time Blues. Anyone who works with income taxes knows what I’m talking about. For instance, you might get the blues because your computer crashes and you lose all your tax data and have to start over. Or, you might get the blues because you can’t find a particular invoice to back up a check. Or, you might get the blues because hubby hasn’t decided if this expense should be in the repair column or the supply column. Or, you might get the blues because you just plain hate income tax time!

Cure for the blues

There is no tried and true cure for the TTB’s except to get your taxes done and sent off to the IRS, so you can forget about them for a while. But, I did experience a little relief from the TTB’s the other day as I snoozed in my green comfy recliner. I had a wonderful day dream about a farm couple and the way they used to do their income taxes. Oh, for the good old days….

Making music with her sweetie

Annmarie was a former country school teacher who gave up her career and married her one and only true love farmer boy. She loved the farm life and helped him raise lots and lots of white-faced sheep. Her farm life experiences were pure bliss for her except at tax time. Then she became a dark-eyed whirling dervish until the income taxes were completed.

Annmarie called this annual period of time “making music with her sweetie.” Well, you ask, how could it be such a sweet time if she became so irritable?

In reality, it wasn’t a sweet time at all. You see, Annmarie’s dearly beloved dishonored the one item in their home that she valued above everything else. At tax time, he would take their year’s supply of farming receipts and stack them atop her beautiful upright piano. Then, he would sit on her piano bench and sort through the piles and make more individual piles for repairs, supplies, fertilizer, seed, etc. The more important expense receipts would rest on the piano keys and the bulkier expense receipts would be placed on the top of the piano. With all that clutter, there was no playing of her precious piano and Annmarie became a dark-eyed whirling dervish.

Music was her other happiness and without it—not a good time. But good time or not, her hubby carried on his yearly piano ritual much to the chagrin of his wife.

The nightly ritual

Nightly, he would go through the piles of receipts and sound off to Annmarie to write down the amounts in the various categories. This scene played out for several weeks until each receipt had been scrutinized at least twice sometimes three times. According to Annmarie, her pencil eraser was worn down to the nub with the changing of his mind about the classification of a certain expense.

I can still hear her voice mimicking her husband: “Is this new tractor tire tube, a supply expense or is it a repair expense? What do you think?” Annmarie said she always gave him her thoughts, but he never took her advice. Humpf! Ah-h-h! Yes, the wedded bliss at tax time.

The rest of the story

And now you know the rest of the story and why Annmarie called tax time making music with her sweetie. Her hubby didn’t actually play a tune for her on the old piano, but his fingers certainly played over the keys as he reviewed the receipts. And if you think about it, her dearly beloved also sang a certain melody for Annmarie as he called out his specific expense column decisions as she wrote them down in her book. Can’t you hear the tune? I certainly can. The lyrics might have gone something like…

“Put this one in the repair column and take this one out of the feed column.

Can’t you hear me, woman? No, don’t put it there—put it over here.

I can’t believe you didn’t hear me. No I meant ya should put it here—

I know what I said, but I meant this….”


Hopefully, this little story brought you readers a chuckle and a moment of reflection. In any case, to help alleviate the TTB’S, try making some sweet music with your taxes this year.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. E-mail her at: