(Original Publication Date, 26 June 1991)
Panel 1: Judging from the change in outfits, it is a new day. Michael and Martha are sitting together on the front stoop talking while Elly looks at them through the window just to the right of the front door, which means Elly is in the kitchen. You can tell Michael and Martha are up to no good because neither one of them is wearing shoes. Elly gives us a theme where she complains that they are getting too friendly. This is a theme Elly will repeat with Rhetta in a few years.
Panel 2: The last time this topic came up was last October when Michael zinged Elly pretty well on the idea that he and Martha were both more knowledgeable about birth control than Elly is. Given that all of Elly’s children were “oops” babies, Michael had a valid point. For me, Michael’s response pretty much spelled it out that if you are a teenage boy going out and seeing your girlfriend every night without parental supervision, then mostly likely you are already engaged in the exact activity Elly is worried about.
Panel 3: “operating the equipment without reading the manual.” If this is something of importance to Elly, then maybe she should sit Michael down and let him read that manual. The only Patterson child I know that got to read the manual was April, and even then Elly went through a lot of effort to try and teach these things to April with the least personal interaction and instruction possible.
Summary: Elly prefers girls for Michael who don’t want to spend time with Michael. Why do I get the feeling that Elly would be happiest with an arranged marriage where Michael would not meet his bride until their wedding day?