Panel 2: Now the appliances. In days gone by, that would have been his choice, but now he'll probably go for something Elly would like even less. Salad spinner: the quintessential Bad Gift. Whiz Chopper: again, I don't wanna know. Blend-All, Cheese-o-Matic and Easy Toast.
Panel 3: Scarves, gloves and handbags. Not bad ideas, I suppose.
Panel 4: That's utilitarian underwear, John, not lingerie. IOW, the kind of thing Elly would get for herself if she needed it. And of course, the woman (store employee?) is looking oddly at him. IRL, that doesn't happen often, since people are aware that at this time of year, men will venture into pink territory looking for gifts for their wives and SOs.
Panel 5: Well, I would stay away from books, since Elly has every opportunity to get those herself.
Panel 6: Thinking it over. Hey, John, you've been married over 30 years: don't you have some idea by now what Elly likes? Don't you feel comfortable asking? And why does the person in green have no forearms?
Panel 7: Oh brother.
Panel 8: I would love to see Elly's reaction when she opens the tool kit. Not that we will see it, of course.
Panel 9: Well, that's cool! For once, no lame pun or disgruntled look.
Meanwhile, let's take a look back at the beginning of the third stage of Lizthony. (First was when they hooked up in middle school; second was when they reunited in high school after...long story, they were apart for a while, that's all.)
Liz comes home for Christmas 2001. She's upset with Eric because of his unexplained absences and their lack of communication. She's not sure what love IS.
Mike suggests Liz accompany him to Gordon's garage (it's not a conglomerate yet). "Elizabeth?" "ANTHONY!" First sight of the pornstache. "Wow! Here I am, talking to that sweet guy I dated in high school!" "I never stopped thinking about you, Liz!" Gordon: "Mike, don't you know it's dangerous to light a fire in a gas station."
Liz primps for her NYE date with Anthony. April is skeptical, on the grounds that "You two are supposed to be 'involved' with other people." (Therese hasn't been mentioned yet, even obliquely. ???) Liz replies that "the other people aren't here," and the date is "for 'old times' sake'." (Enough "quotes", guys?) Anthony arrives; he and Liz each declare the other looks "amazing." April continues her protestations to John and Elly, while Liz and Anthony are out of earshot but not sight. "This could wreck their other relationships!" Elly, with smugly closed eyes: "Well, it's their business, April. We keep our opinions entirely to ourselves." Then, with April's back turned, John and Elly leap in the air and high-five each other.
Connie also declares the Lizthony date "good news." Elly says, "I've always liked Anthony, and the boy she's with now is nothing but trouble. Shadow figure, can't tell which one: "Well, maybe tonight the two of them will embrace at midnight, and discover 'the truth'!" Cut to Liz and Anthony at the party, embracing: "Oh, Anthony!" "I wanted you to know, Liz." "How long have you been engaged?" "Three weeks."
Liz and Anthony leave the party to go for a walk. "I'd like that," says Liz. Anthony: "I'll put my arm around you to keep you warm." Liz thought balloon: "I'd like that, too."
Liz and Anthony discuss how they drifted apart, and the fact that Therese had to go back to London (Ontario, I assume), although, "I wanted you to meet her!...But it's been a great evening. It's given us a wonderful chance to catch up!" Thinking, "And I wish you'd never started running."
Anthony returns Liz to her house at 4am, after having "spent the whole night talking." Liz: "Two friends had a wonderful evening together, and it's been nothing more than that. Goodnight, Anthony." "Goodbye, Elizabeth." Note: Liz has her eyes closed blissfully. Anthony is staring straight ahead, not smiling. Sound familiar?
Also, check out this thread from the r.a.c.s. archive. http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.strips/browse_thread/thread/b4052a952b04a4e0/c618353003755ad0?lnk=gst&q=goodbye+elizabeth&rnum=2&hl=en#c618353003755ad0