By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
I am finally going to meet Them. What will I say? Will They look anything like They sound? I've been listening to Them for three years now, but I've never seen either one. And you know how it is--a guy with the big radio voice, the Barry White soundalike who melts you down to your shoes--he never looks as good as he sounds.
Twenty minutes later, I reach a bland office tower on Mockingbird and Central Expressway, home of KTCK 1310-AM--better known as The Ticket--Dallas and Fort Worth's only 24-hour sports station.
There, on the fifth floor, I will spend the next three hours shoehorned into a broadcast studio only slightly larger than a walk-in closet. Sitting behind a long table, each tethered to a pair of headphones, are the objects of my affection: George Dunham and Craig Miller, the sexiest men on radio.
Fans of their 5:30-to-10 a.m. talk show know them better as the "Gentle Musers," a pair of longtime friends who would just as soon discuss the pros and cons of waterbeds as dissect the inherent evils of baseball's designated hitter rule. It seems there is no topic too obscure, too trivial, too mundane for the Musers to tackle.
And that is exactly why I couldn't stop listening after I stumbled across their show three years ago while station-surfing in my car. I am a "sports idiot" (a favorite Dunham and Miller term). What I know of sports could fit on a golf tee. But then along come Dunham and Miller, like Pied Pipers, melding Serious Sports Talk with minutiae--and suddenly I'm putty in their hands.
Consider these topics, which have all been fodder for recent discussions on the D&M show (which is, ostensibly, about sports): A kid's first day at school. What to do when an old boyfriend pops back into your girlfriend's life. Whether to even bother making your bed in the morning. What makes a lasting friendship.
Who ever said that sports shows can only be about sports? Not The Ticket's former program director, Mike Thompson, who recently told me why D&M--the entire Ticket talk show lineup, for that matter--work so well in one of the nation's most competitive radio markets.
"It's just a big Tupperware party for guys," Thompson said.
He wasn't kidding.
Often, the Musers invite you into their lives, like when Dunham revealed that his wife, Kelly, had in no uncertain terms banned him from ever using the word "broad" again when describing a woman. Or when Miller recalled a particularly lonely weekend--just driving around Dallas and stopping for a turkey sandwich at some "spare" fast-food joint.
Before I walked into the studio, I already knew these guys. And when at last I actually saw them, they were just about what I expected. Only better. More human. And a whole lot sexier.
That's not to say that either of them will ever grace a Chippendale's calendar. But as most women know, the real appeal is in the entire package. Dunham, 32, and Miller, 31, report to work each morning before sunrise looking like they're heading to a frat party. They wear gimme caps (classy ones, though, usually from some lush private golf course), polo shirts, and worn leather loafers sans socks. Dunham, the baritone, is 6 feet 3 inches with a mat of unruly, sandy brown hair, wire-frame glasses, and just the slightest married-with-children paunch. Miller, an avid cyclist, is the svelte single of the pair, a Peter Pan for the '90s. He has thick, wavy black hair tinged with gray at the temples. He desperately needs eyeglasses, but as anyone who listens regularly is aware, he will not let an optometrist near him.
So here I am, hanging with radio's most caring and nurturing guys. Sure, they're tough when they need to be. Sort of the Harrison Fords of the AM band. And they know their subject. Matched up against veteran sports gabbers like Norm Hitzges or Randy Galloway, the boys could easily hold their own with typical sports blather about the NFL salary cap or tired rehashes of the Pudge Rodriguez contract debate.
But nobody is ever gonna accuse Hitzges or Galloway of being sexy.
Dunham and Miller get a huge chuckle when I tell them my theory--that women should be their real audience, and that I think they're the sexiest guys on the air. That isn't an image either of them has tried to cultivate. After all, reaching the female market is the furthest thing from their minds. Women listeners barely register as a blip on The Ticket's radar. I am not part of the coveted male audience, ages 25 to 54, that Ticket advertisers lust for. In the latest Arbitron book, a quarterly ratings service and the radio industry's Holy Bible, Dunham and Miller ranked eighth of 35 stations among that audience for their time slot. KLIF's Hitzges came in seventh.
Surely, I tell them, you can't be surprised that women would find your show appealing. After all, you are the Gentle Musers. And women really go for that gentle male stuff.
It is barely 7 a.m., and already the show is on its way to the cosmos. Dunham and Miller have just gone a round with "Ray in Allen," a regular caller and Green Bay fan who reduces them to hysterical laughter with his hyperbolic ravings about the Pack. Soon after, the topic of the day starts taking shape. It is one week into Cowboys training camp, and Deion Sanders has made it clear he will not be attending. He's going to finish out the season with the Cincinnati Reds, even though the team is something like 10 games back.
"That's as sorry as it gets," Dunham grouses. "For what the Cowboys invested in him, he shouldn't be playing baseball if it conflicts with the football season. He has no regard for the team. Teamwork, that's a foreign concept to him."
Miller: "Look. He's Deion. He doesn't need to practice. He'll show up for the regular season and he'll show exactly why he gets paid what he does. He does what he wants. That's the shape of today's sports world."
Dunham: "Well, I don't like it."
They wrangle over the Deion issue for a good, long while, taking calls along the way, most of which side with Dunham. Then, just before sliding into a long commercial break, Dunham leans into his microphone, looks across the table at Miller and says "By the way, I'm not mad at you."
Miller flashes a grin. "I'm not mad at you either."
They are a matched set, and they think alike. On another morning, with the Barry Switzer heat-packing incident still fresh, and the morning papers revisiting the same old sources, Dunham and Miller decide to bolt from the pack. Their producer, Mike Fernandez, gets Becky Buwick on the line. The University of Oklahoma gymnastics coach is Switzer's longtime squeeze.
In the on-air interview, Miller asks, "What's your reaction to the $75,000 fine Jerry slapped on Barry?"
Says Buwick: "There goes Christmas!"
Nothing and no one is sacred on the show. The conversation may start with a summary of the previous day's results in the Tour de France bicycle race, but it quickly devolves into a discussion of the anatomical discomfort of bike seats. Later, the topic will shift to the worst movie ever made. Miller is sure it is The Godfather, Part III, where a "spare" Sofia Coppola--as in "spare part," as in useless--struggles pathetically in a leading role. For good measure, Dunham will throw in a rundown of his weekend in home-repair hell. Miller will toss out a few self-deprecating remarks about his newly grown goatee (he has since shaved) or breathe life into his daily reading of the list of celebrity birthdays. Example: "John Derek, that spare who married Bo Derek when she was like, 21, turns 71 today. Can he really be that old? Boy, he is circling the drain."
Between the musings, Gordon Keith, D&M's 26-year-old comic sidekick, will offer up an authentically greasy impersonation of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, or thoughts on marriage from the thrice-divorced "fake Juan Gonzalez."
"It's just madness," Keith says after the show, in mock highbrow tone. "Simply madness."
What Dunham and Miller have perfected is the art of shtick (a word that is practically corporate jargon at The Ticket). So have their colleagues, Mike Rhyner and Greg Williams, the afternoon drive-time hosts better known as The Hard Line. (Rhyner and Williams hold the distinction of consistently pulling the highest ratings at the station, and they can be wickedly funny. But unlike Dunham and Miller, The Hard Line's humor is seldom subtle and predictably blue--"Stay hard!" is their motto, which I'm sure keeps the rednecks in radioland in stitches.)
But The Ticket didn't pioneer sports shtick. That honor, according to all the sports radio folklore I could gather, goes to Tom Bigby, program director of WIP-AM in Philadelphia, an all-sports station that started in 1987. The earliest format at WIP was straight sports talk. All X's and O's. Talk about team strategy and coaching change-ups.
But Bigby decided the format needed a bit of an overhaul a few years after its birth. Little by little, silliness began to creep in. Goofy promotions. Slightly off-color jokes. Talk show hosts were suddenly encouraged to veer off the topic of the Eagles' offensive line, and maybe chat up the worst dates they ever had.
"It works for us," Bigby says of his all-sports, much-shtick format. "It might not work for everyone. CBS owns one of the most successful sports stations in the country, WFAN in New York. It's hard-core sports all day and night. But New York also has nine professional sports franchises, so there's a lot to talk about."
Bigby is brash and completely clear about whom he wants listening. "Our format here is boy talk. It's all male-based and entertainment-oriented. When there aren't any big sports issues, it's kind of hard to force it. If there's nothing to talk about in sports, we find something else to discuss."
Mike Thompson was a protege of Bigby's in Philadelphia. Two years ago, he moved to Dallas and took over as program director of The Ticket. (Shortly before this story was published, Thompson left The Ticket and took a job at another Philadelphia radio station. KTCK General Manager Dan Bennett says it was a voluntary departure, and that Thompson has been retained as a "consultant" to the station.) When Thompson came to The Ticket, the station was operating under its second owner, SFX Communications, which bought it in March 1995. The station began in January 1994, when Dallas banker Spence Kendrick led an investment group that bought oldies station KAAM and changed the call letters to KTCK. Kendrick's company, Cardinal Communications, sold out to SFX, which in turn sold to Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Broadcasting in May 1996. Susquehanna also owns KLIF-AM and KKZN-FM (The Zone) in Dallas.
Thompson charged into a format that was heavy on straight sports talk and light on entertainment. Dunham and Miller, refugees from sports reporting jobs at KRLD, had been at The Ticket since its beginning. They started as hosts of a midday show. Two other local radio veterans, Rhyner and Williams, were also in on the ground floor. Local sports gadfly Skip Bayless had the early morning slot; Chuck Cooperstein hosted the evening drive show. Both Bayless and Cooperstein were widely respected among their colleagues in the sports media for their knowledge of the business. They could quote stats endlessly and expound on team histories. Callers would trade arcane sports information with them for hours. Rhyner even coined a nickname for Cooperstein--"The Higher Authority."
But Thompson grew impatient with the same old sports talk. He had trained at Bigby's knee, and he wanted shtick. His job as program director required regular criticism of the talent. Of the original group, Dunham and Miller and Rhyner and Williams jumped on board immediately, Thompson says. They mixed sports gab with silly gags, comedy send-ups, and personal revelations ranging from lousy summer vacations to favorite sleeping positions. They were encouraged to talk about their families, their dates, their friendships. (Rhyner, for instance, refers to his wife as "the She Wolf" and his child as "the squid.")
The remaining talent was reluctant to embrace the change. They are no longer with The Ticket. Cooperstein, the most recent casualty, was fired in June.
The Ticket was gradually evolving into one big slumber party, complete with gossip, gab, and prank playing. And Thompson reveled in it.
"We wanted the format to be like talking on one big party line," says the 42-year-old Thompson, a rotund and gregarious veteran of numerous big-market talk stations. "Up until just a few years ago, talk radio wasn't discourse. It was just someone talking at you, droning on with a bunch of boring statistics and inside information. But you know what? People want to listen to somebody they like. They want someone they feel like they can hang with."
The proof, Thompson says, is all in the quarterly Arbitron ratings. The station consistently ranks among the top five stations of male listeners ages 25 to 54. And although Dunham and Miller frequently struggle in that age category to beat out WBAP and KLIF, their strongest competition in the 6 a.m.-to-10 a.m. time slot has always been KEGL-FM, former home of Howard Stern's show.
But when KEGL abruptly yanked Stern from its lineup earlier this summer, the bosses at The Ticket smelled opportunity. Ever since the sudden upset infuriated thousands of Stern fans, The Ticket has been running promotional ads urging the disenchanted masses to come over to the Musers. "The next [Arbitron] book will tell us if we're succeeding," says General Manager Dan Bennett.
And what of women listeners? Where KTCK is concerned, we are what researchers would call "statistically insignificant." In the all-important 25 to 54 age category (you know, the women who actually buy stuff), Dunham and Miller pull a paltry 28th place out of 35 stations. Rhyner and Williams place 29th.
Mike Thompson would like to make me feel better about this, to shine a kinder light on my insignificance.
"Ultimately there will be more women listeners," he says, eagerly. "Our women numbers do go up during football season. This state is just football crazy. The NFL drives this entire market. Even women."
But when I listen to the station's ads, I know better. There are pitches for prostate exams. Hair transplant clinics. And Vigor Fit, an herbal nutritional supplement that Rhyner endorses. He says it "gives you more bounce in the bedroom." I haven't yet heard an ad for penile enlargement surgery, but I'm waiting.
One morning, during a break in the show, Craig Miller puts this whole female-listener jag into perspective for me.
"Our numbers show that we get about one woman listener for every million men. So we have, uh, four women listeners."
God, I love this guy.
You could say that Dunham and Miller are practically joined at the hip. These guys dress alike (except, as Dunham points out, Miller buys Ralph Lauren Polo shirts--with a capital "P"--while Dunham favors generic, small "p" polo shirts). They play golf together. Sometimes they drink beer together. Of course, they use the same Ticket-sanctioned lingo ("shtick," "beaten down," "sorry," "spare," and "whipped," to name a few). They drive the same model car--a Honda Accord sedan. Miller's is midnight blue; Dunham's is burgundy red.
Both are native Texans, but they moved around a good bit with their families. Dunham's father, a commercial roofer, moved his wife and five children to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Horseshoe Bay, Texas, before settling in Farmers Branch. Dunham graduated from R.L. Turner High School in 1983.
Miller was born in Amarillo and grew up in New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and Lancaster. The son of an insurance salesman and a former Catholic nun, he graduated in 1983 from Bishop Dunne High School. He has one sister, who lives in Austin.
They met in a 9 a.m. English class during their freshman year at the University of North Texas. They were sitting on opposite sides of the room. "The second day of class, George comes over to my side and says, 'I'm going to sit on this side. It's funnier,'" Miller says. Soon after, they were roommates at UNT's West Hall, and worked alternate Friday nights hosting a call-in sports show on KNTU, the campus radio station. That was after Miller convinced Dunham to change his major from business to broadcast journalism.
"I told him he'd have more fun," Miller says simply.
After college graduation, their lives quickly diverged. Dunham got married right away. He and his wife, Kelly, have two sons, Brent, 10, and Blake, 6. They live in a quiet neighborhood in Coppell.
Miller, as they say, decided to sow some wild oats. He lived for a year in Boulder, Colorado, bicycling with a friend. Dunham, meanwhile, battened down for a serious career, and went to work as a sports reporter at KRLD in 1988.
One year later, Miller joined the crew at KRLD, and the two were together again. KRLD is where the boys paid their dues, putting in long weekend hours and manning the phones at night. By 1993 the hustle was getting old. One night, over a post-Rangers game beer, Mike Rhyner (eventually of the Hard Line) told Miller he was recruiting talent for a new 24-hour sports station in Dallas. There were serious investors, and the market seemed ripe for it. He asked Miller to come along.
Dunham was a harder sell. With a wife and two kids, it was risky. "I was just starting to climb the financial ladder," he says. "But something about it just seemed right. And now I can't imagine I ever thought twice about doing this."
KTCK's Bennett says Dunham and Miller's fans can't imagine them not doing the show, either. "It hasn't gotten tired, not even close. We keep reinventing the thing, just putting a fresh coat of paint on it. Their fans love them."
The 43-year-old Bennett also manages KLIF, where longtime sports-talk fixture Norm Hitzges goes up against Dunham and Miller. Bennett sees no serious competition between the two. "Norm has a little bit of his own shtick, but nothing like George and Craig. They both play to different audiences," he says, ever so diplomatically.
What Bennett wants from his Ticket morning team is "a guy show with the fiber of sports running through it.
"Most guys are casual to moderate fans," he says, while sitting behind a neat desk at the station's sparkling new digs on Maple Avenue in Uptown. Very few sports stations can offer up only statistics and scores and hope to survive, Bennett says. Of the 150 all-sports stations nationwide, many are like KTCK, with no broadcast rights to a sports franchise. Relying solely on the strength of local and canned talk shows, these stations simply cannot live on a steady diet of calls from sports geeks.
And that's just fine with D&M, because they--proudly--do not cater to sports geeks. Tune in on any weekday, and you'll get plenty of analysis of the Mavericks' new draft picks, or predictions on the outcome of the Texas-OU game, or ruminations on what to do about Deion. But there's so much more.
Like where to meet beautiful and intelligent women. One morning, while sitting in the studio, I suggest off the air that Miller check out the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The Monet exhibit there is packing in the beautiful women, I tell him. And they must be smart, or why would they bother going?
After the commercial break, this on-air exchange took place between Dunham, Miller, and wacky sidekick Gordon Keith:
Miller: "Holly has suggested to me that I visit the Kimbell Art Museum to meet beautiful and interesting women. I might try that. I would do a smart woman, a woman like Jodie Foster, a world of good. I sense that she's very...unhappy. I'm not talking about a physical relationship, of course. I'm talking about intellectually."
Keith: "Oh please. You are shallow. Off the air, you've admitted you're shallow."
Miller: "I'm not shallow! Not the on-air Craig!"
Keith: "Yeah, right. Your world revolves around sports, beer, cookies, and your guitar. What kind of books do you read?"
Miller: "Lots. Loose Balls, Bootlegger's Boy, A History of the ABA. And I just went out and bought a James Thurber collection of short stories."
Keith: "That was four months ago!"
Dunham: "This is not a good idea. You start hanging out at places like the Kimbell, and you'll lose your support system. You'll just crash and burn."
Keith: "If you're injected into a high-culture environment, you'll fall apart."
Miller: "Wait a minute. I also read The Celestine Prophecy."
Keith: "That book was so lame."
Miller: "But it's a book! I kept thinking it would expand my horizons."
Dunham: "At least I admit I'm very simple-minded."
Miller: "The sophisticated women would love me."
Bill the Clown is sitting in The Ticket studio, looking entirely comfortable behind the microphone. He's wearing the clown's standard-issue big sloppy shoes, a massive red bowtie, a round red nose, a fright wig, and blue suspenders imprinted with a logo from Sears--the corporate sponsor of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. The Greatest Show on Earth is in town, and Bill is doing pub. Dunham and Miller are first on the day's agenda.
"First of all," Miller tells Bill, "I was shocked to learn that clowns are now corporately sponsored. But tell me, because I've often wondered, why do clowns wear such ill-fitting clothes?"
Bill, who obviously likes where this bit is going, mentions something about the apparel being part of an international clown dress code.
Dunham asks a few questions about Bozo and other favorite clowns of his childhood. And Miller gets the big finish:
"Tell me honestly, Bill. Do clowns get chicks?"
Later that day, I am discussing the Dunham and Miller show, and sports talk in general, with KLIF's Norm Hitzges. The 53-year-old broadcaster is a Dallas legend, with 12 years on the KLIF morning drive slot. He loves to talk sports. And he really hates shtick.
"I personally would never put a clown on my show," Hitzges says without a hint of irony. He's calling from his car phone. "Now I've done plenty of entertainment-oriented things. I've interviewed a zamboni driver. And I once interviewed the guy who changes the hole at the golf course.
"But hey, if I'm a listener driving to work and I've only got 20 minutes to listen to sports, I don't want to spend 10 minutes listening to a clown."
Like any glamour profession, the sportscaster pool in Dallas is a tiny one. And Hitzges points out that he likes Dunham and Miller personally. But let him roll for a while, and he makes it abundantly clear--this shtick posing as sports talk is a sign of the coming apocalypse.
"Every profession evolves, I know that. But not always in a manner that people appreciate. Walter Cronkite must absolutely shiver when he watches the way people deliver the news nowadays.
"I've been concerned about our industry for years," Hitzges says. He stresses that his thoughts don't necessarily apply to Dunham and Miller, but that "too many hosts these days don't know a damn thing about sports. All the consultants want to know about a guy is, 'Can he talk well? Is he glib? Will he talk about the babe he dated the night before?' Come on. Nobody cares about who's dating who, unless its Dennis Rodman."
The rage against sports radio shtick has been building for years--especially among the old guard like Hitzges, Randy Galloway (the veteran Dallas Morning News sports columnist is on KRLD weeknights from 6 to 8; he refers to his show as "wimp-free sports talk"), and Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Jim Reeves. Besides writing for the S-T for 28 years, Reeves has hosted talk shows on WBAP, KLIF, and until March 1 of this year, a show on KRLD. "I was dumped," the 51-year-old Reeves says. And perhaps, he concedes, that fact colored a June 19 newspaper column he wrote blasting The Ticket management for firing Chuck Cooperstein a few days earlier.
"Now instead of sports talk, more often than not you're getting something some folks are calling 'guy talk,' programs in which you're more likely to hear sexual innuendo than the merits of going for it on fourth-and-one or whether Johnny Oates should have gone to the bullpen in the 7th inning," Reeves wrote in his column.
"I just felt like when Coop was fired, I had the opportunity to say it's too bad the people who really know sports and can talk sports have to lose their jobs," Reeves says.
The Cooperstein incident did engender plenty of anger--especially in the ex-talk show host himself, who says that his sudden termination was a complete surprise. The day that Thompson escorted him into General Manager Dan Bennett's office, Cooperstein says, he thought it was to discuss his contract renewal.
"Was I ever wrong," says the 38-year-old Cooperstein. He's talking on the phone from his home on a recent afternoon, with his 18-month-old son babbling in the background.
What Cooperstein and his supporters believe is that The Ticket bosses found his noon-to-3 p.m. show too erudite, too fact-centered, too "shtick-less." Just, well, stiff. And while Bennett declined to tell me specific reasons for his firing of Cooperstein, you can tell what the station wants by looking at Cooperstein's replacement. Rocco Pendola is a 22-year-old New York native who signed on a little over two months ago after spending a year at a Pittsburgh talk station. He is loud, fast-talking, and brash. He's quick. He's smart. He talks a lot of sports. But he also once asked a female sports fan on the air when she last had sex.
"I never could figure out exactly what is meant by the word 'shtick,'" Cooperstein laments. "If I had a shtick, I guess it was that I was the 'higher authority.' [Mike] Rhyner put that label on me, but that's what it was. I know sports, and that's what the show was about.
"And I was sandwiched between Dunham and Miller in the morning and Rhyner and Williams in the afternoon. They have each other to play off of, and they know each other so well. It's hard to be funny when you're alone."
Employment in radio, of course, is nothing if not volatile, and Cooperstein understands that. For now, he is covering the national college game of the week for CBS radio. But if the industry keeps listing to the heavy-on-entertainment side, and there is every indication that it will, Cooperstein doubts he'll have another gig like he had on The Ticket.
"I thought I was doing what you were supposed to do on an all-sports station. But I guess I was wrong."
Dunham and Miller are discussing national sports stories culled from the morning paper. The night before, Boston Red Sox left fielder Will Cordero had walked up to the plate for his turn at bat, and the fans at Fenway Park greeted him with resounding boos and catcalls. It was their public reaction to charges he was facing for allegedly beating his wife.
"How sorry is that guy," says a disgusted Dunham. The Cordero case then segues into a long discussion about some sports heroes' flagrant disregard for women--and for society's rules in general. Dunham and Miller cite examples; Cowboys Michael Irvin and Erik Williams top the list. Weeks later, Dunham and Miller will take on the whole Nate Newton issue, discussing a Grand Prairie woman's allegations that the Cowboys star sexually assaulted her after they had ended a yearlong love affair. Newton is married. While he ran around with the woman, sometimes taking her on the road--with the knowledge of team owner Jerry Jones and coach Barry Switzer--Newton's wife remained at home, pregnant.
Even if the accusation of sexual assault turns out to be fiction, say Dunham and Miller, there is no way to excuse--much less understand--the way Newton has treated his wife and the mother of his children.
This is, I think, when D&M are at their best--when they take a big slab of sports news and whittle it down to a sliver. What Williams or Newton do off the field says something about them, but it says even more about society in general. Too many men have problems with violence. They just don't get it. And the sports world, by excusing or completely ignoring their shabby behavior, has to be held responsible.
The Gentle Musers see sports as more than point spreads and scouting reports. Sports is about politics, power, culture. Life.
But never forget, sports is also about shtick. Bundle it all together--the philosophy with the foolery--and you get quite a package. The sexiest guys on the air.
If you don't believe me, you can take it from Mary.
Last week, as Dunham and Miller were broadcasting their show on location from a North Dallas electronics store, they mentioned they were hungry. Not just once, but probably, oh, 14 times. What they wanted, what they sent out a plea for, was a peanut butter sandwich.
At 8 a.m., Miller decided to take action.
"How about this," he announced. "The first person to bring us a peanut butter sandwich gets a Ticket T-shirt. These are very rare items. George and I even have a hard time getting them."
Thirty-five minutes later, Mary (she did not give her last name) showed up, sandwich in hand. Except it wasn't exactly what the guys had in mind. The sandwich was spread with butter and sprinkled with peanuts.
"I'm sorry," Mary said, "but I didn't have any peanut butter. So I kind of improvised."
"Wow," Miller said. "That's, uh, great! You did this for us? How long did it take you to get here?"
Mary: "Oh, about 20 minutes. I dropped the kids at school and hurried home to make the sandwich. It wasn't any problem, because I just love you guys."
Mary, that makes two of us.