(Original Publication Date, 28 June 1991)
Panel 1: As it turns out, Elly was wrong about Mike wanting to go to Uncle Danny's farm this summer and tells her so. She reminds him that he knows that they've had his airline ticket for more than a month now. This tells against him as a boyfriend because he kept that little detail from Martha.
Panel 2: John reminds him that last Christmas, he'd thought it was a great idea. Mike counters with "But that was then and this is now."
Translated into English, that means "Back then, Martha was kitted up like Nanook of the North but now, she's wearing summer clothing."
Panel 3: John pretends he's going to bend on this by saying that they will use the ticket and let him stay here if he manages to find a good job by an arbitrary deadline of either 13 or 15 July. (That's when he screams "SHOVELLING MANURE?")
Panel 4: When he finds Mike running a lemonade stand, John tells him "Let's define the word 'good'."
Summary: John is not really going to bend on this issue. Every letter that has him envy April the chance to work on the farm tells us that he honestly believes exposure to cattle, swine, jackasses and the farm animals they attend to will make a man of him.