Monday, May 28, 2007

A Call to Worship

I fall to my knees.

Drawn not by fear, or need, or any force of conviction – simply drawn by an intangible magnetism. A slight tug on all my limbs like a minute increase in gravity that urges me to kneel and prostrate myself and bow my head.

And when I do, a brilliant light peeks through clouds of darkness and spreads a burnished and visionary carpet around me of green gilded with gold. I remain with head bowed, sensing that the light is too blinding, too bright to look in the face of.

I grope at the earth, the soil of time – as old as creation, itself. I dig my bare hands into the ground. I seek deliverance like a frantic soul rocked by an earthquake. Hoping I will find reprieve—through penance. Repentance through covering myself with dirt, clay, and the rotting fecal material of cattle rather than sackcloth and ashes.

I do the thing I am only gently compelled to do, yet too weak to turn from. Despite the manure embedding itself under my fingernails, and sharp blades of grass cutting my hands, and slow-bruising stones pressing into my legs, I remain kneeling and frantically groping at the gritty soil.

And then from nowhere a breeze comes rippling, rippling, and suddenly and unexpectedly tosses my hair into an upward sweep. It strokes me with a warm gentle softness around my ears, forehead, and brows giving me the same ease and shivering-delight of a child when a soft brush is swept against his downy head.

Another, almost imperceptible, waft of magical air presses and holds me firm in sacred-worship-form. Worship of earth and day and light and life. And that same current of air makes indiscernible my physical discomfort.

I slip into another dimension. I am now only aware that I am among the resurrected. In awe and wonder I examine the tender and refreshing aspect of those recalled from their tombs.

I expected it. After all, this is my faith. So that being the case, why am I so filled with wonder at this trans-reversal? I guess because I had lost so much confidence in the faith. I was so filled with doubt. Doubt that resurrection can not come when death had been too long a sleep. That is part of my doubt but the other part of my doubt-blame falls on those who insist God’s voice is audible. What nonsense? Spirits have no physical voice-box. They are soundless. All that is spoken by God is spoken through forces and processes of nature.

But despite that analysis, my doubt is forceful. After all, these were cadavers trapped in the grasp of the terminator’s bitter cold and ice, and mold and decay for what had seemed to me, a never-ending season.

But here, in the garden, doubt flies like a helium balloon unanchored. Here I find the truth of the message of resurrection. And the marvel of it renews me, the light renews me, new life renews me, the breeze renews me. And so, deep within my soul, I too, am resurrected and reborn. Faith in resurrection is reaffirmed.

And so the unscheduled call to worship concludes. More than two hours have zipped by. Prayers are finished and I arise. An erect stance comes slowly as the separate vertebrae in my back slowly unlock one link at a time.

But that cursed perennial garden is cleansed, the dirt is fluffed, the weeds discarded. And as I make a pilgrimage back to house and home, with legs bruised, fingernails torn and hands chapped and dry, I wipe stomata from my brow. Bleeds of purged disillusionment and doubt.

As I withdraw, I smell the soot and charcoal stench of the damned. The stove is still on and supper is burning.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is a Tourist?

All of us think of ourselves as ‘tourists’ at some time or other in our vacation travels. And being unsure, as we are, what tourists do to segregate themselves from the natives of a particular locale, we re-color ourselves, in bright tourist clothes. And we do the obvious. Group around guides in the town square with cameras at the ready. Or ask a total stranger to take a picture for us. And of course we all wear sunglasses. But the rest of the time we just end up staring in a puzzled way at other tourists with the hope that we might pick up something more, some other subtle nuances on how tourists are supposed to act.

So, although vacation is a pleasant escape from our normal work-a-day world, don’t be kidding yourself. There is a job to be done while on vacation and we are all mindful of it though, for some strange reason, we never speak of it – the tourist thing. We know that being a tourist is far more than just being a traveler. In reality, the tough part of the job is to be a good enough ‘tourist’ to deserve the label while not in motion.

But because ‘being a tourist’ is a sporadic and temporary identity, we don’t know really what it is that segregates tourists (beside colorful loose-fitting clothes). We can find manuals on how to be a good camper, a good golfer, even on how to behave when visiting the queen, but there are no manuals with rules on how to be a ‘tourist’ (aside from marketing information about guides, routes, sights, restaurants, and hotels). But we don’t need so much to know what to see and where to go – we need to know how to do the job.

Cause when we are tourists we prefer to be seen as tourists. It’s an integral part of vacationing. I think in the back of our minds, it is even part of what we are paying for. It’s important that we understand it more fully. It is our identity in a foreign place where we have none.

And so I have to wonder, ‘Can being a tourist be so hard?’ Seems like it is, because despite my best efforts, I still feel a deficiency that is bothersome.

For me, this is an immediate concern because in a few weeks I am going on vacation. So if you know any specific tourist mannerisms, movements, looks, that will help me with this specific identity, tell me quick, before the plane leaves the tarmac. I will enjoy my vacation so much more if I know I’ve got this tourist thing down pat.

And when I do get it down pat, and I get home from vacation, what the heck—that’s one book-publication niche that isn’t over-saturated—so then I’ll write the manual. And you just watch that baby fly off the shelves.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New-Age Child-Rearing

When child-rearing is managed by the book, parenting is ultra-intensive. A hard labor every minute of every day. And so I have often thought. “Why is parenting becoming such a heavy burden, such a fearful task, such an overwhelming job?”

The answer is quite simple, now that I’ve thought about it. We choose to make parenting more intensive. So intensive that I am appalled at the many young mothers I know that are NOT having a good time. Instead they are so stressed and overwhelmed with parenting, they are in a frightful state. And so I think, “Why are we doing this, and when are we going to stop?”

I remember when I was a young mom. I raised my kids without help with housework. I was solely responsible for cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and 90% of the time – parenting. With strict gender divisions of men and women’s work, and with few labor-saving appliances, pretty much anything to do with home-comfort fell into my lap. So yes, occasionally I was overwhelmed.

I used to think, “If I only had a little more help,” but now I observe young mothers and this is what I see. Homes where child care and household duties are split right down the middle, and still mothers are even more overwhelmed. Far more than I ever was. How can one find a sensible explanation for that?

But back then, parenting was simple. Babies were to be kept warm, burped, fed, bathed, cuddled, and with clean dry bottoms. And for toddlers and youngsters there were no compulsory obligations outside of making sure they felt loved and safe, content and happy. And always, through all those childhood years, I assured them even when they had not the vocabulary to understand, that I would keep them safe and protect them.

Still, that part of it came naturally. Reading came naturally to settle them down for a nap but what did not come naturally was any obligation to seek expert opinions on every facet of their lives, or to entertain them with the sophisticated stimulation of flash-cards, or the obligation to run constant intercession in everything they did.

But now, heaven preserve us, one has to research the care and control of children daily. To be a good mom, that is. One must discover how to care for children by taking time to read stuff that is too scary to ignore. Starting with the introduction of solid foods, what to feed, how much to feed, when to feed, how to feed.

Mother intuition, that strong elixir of self-confidence, that initializes in a mom’s soul and psyche an accurate impersonation of how their child is feeling is being sadly weakened by expert interference. That innate intuition that made moms so sensitive that they could feel the heat of a fever or coolness through touch, that told them when children were simply out-of-sorts or racked with the pain of a tummy-ache. The thing that made them dare to recklessly give a little porridge to a crying babe to see if they would readily accept it. Can’t be doing that when instructions from the experts forbid such nonsense for another six months.

And now, with shared night feedings, even the super sensitivity is lost that made moms stir from a sound sleep at the slightest rustle in the crib adjacent to their bed. Of course, there is another reason moms don’t always hear baby’s cries. The other reason they don’t hear them is because the crib is no longer adjacent to the bed as if it had no proper place to dwell. The crib is now down the hall where it looks best in a brightly, tastefully, decorated nursery.

And oh yeh, the experts say its now okay for babes to cry. That is the latest word from the communication experts, that want us bending to every word they say, every phrase they coin, but, on the other hand, encouraging us to ignore a baby communicating a request for an unfulfilled need.

And so parenting that once was simple has become so complex that one must engage in lengthy, time-consuming journeys through manuals and source documents. Everything must be carefully adjudicated. Food must be adjudicated for every ingredient – vitamins, sugars, fats, and the like. And that leads to a further compulsory adjudication of source, storage, and preparation.

Children, in order to be all that they can be, must be emotionally and physically stimulated in pre-determined ways. With numbers, letters, music, shapes, textures, pictures, etc. Mothers are responsible to ensure their wee daughters have father relationships that will not impact in a negative way on their future choice of husbands. Mothers must ensure they every interaction will fulfill a purpose of good, positive, influence. To guarantee that, they must run intervention in every aspect, and waking moment, of their children’s lives. They must ensure their surroundings are put through a fine filter that gives consideration to every germ, bacteria, sound, fume, fat, scratch, and indoctrination. Time must be set aside for formal obligatory story time. Time must be set aside to translate into toddler dialect appropriate behavior rather than children learning through socializing with their own little friends what is acceptable and non-acceptable.

Rewards and punishment have become an endless turmoil of conflicting philosophies about consistency. A consistency that is not necessarily fair, demanding an all-encompassing reinforcement of the value of each and every child despite the reality that the behavior of one is pleasurable and the other totally frustrating. Punishment has become a complex 12-step program that includes an immediate review, briefing, time-out, de-briefing, and summation. Positive reinforcement is almost as time-consuming. It is a 6-step program that must trap every good thing and make it into a grand event.

And then, there must be time for moms to schedule other obligatory things necessary for proper child raising. Time committed to loving themselves. That too, is necessary for a child to be raised properly. Sure there is that primeval instinct whispering in our ear that motherhood is a time of devotion and dare I say it – self-sacrifice? But how can one hold true to such Neolithic thinking in today’s sophisticated world? So certainly, parenting must include set-aside time for hair, nails, and body massages. This is a part of parenting that is not obligatory. It is compulsory.

Now you may well wonder why I am not discussing fathers here, but that would double the length of this rant into a grand epistle. Their duties within the modern task of parenting are just as long, just as self-propagating as the roll of mothers. Fathers must deal with another subset of complexities and filtering. They have specialized rolls to play in nurturing, physical development, and emotional sensitivity. The latest flowcharts of childhood development have expectations for both parents beyond comprehension. Every new day, child experts, doctors, or dietitians, add yet another burden to the heap of fears, warnings, and protocol to be ciphered, learned, understood, and translated into the parenting process.

And so, should I be surprised when I see today’s moms, even with dads that vacuum and do laundry and prepare dinner, more overwhelmed that I ever was when I was putting cloth diapers through a wringer and hanging them on a line? What is so odd about all of this is we seem, as a cluster, to think of vacuuming and laundry as ‘work’ while ignoring the hard work, time, and intensity we are building into sound parenting. Not a moment’s thought is given to how mentally-demanding the once simple task of parenting has become. Demanding enough that manual labor pales in comparison.

So I wonder if this constant tampering with the job description of parenting isn’t having a ‘watershed effect’. The ‘watershed effect’ is a ridge of highland that causes rivers to part and flow in different directions. Is this what is happening with parenting? Are we creating a high ground that is splitting what is beneficial into two streams – one beneficial, the other more damaging than helpful? Could it be that the damaging stream is carrying along confused parents so overwhelmed with fear and stress that they are more and more abandoning children, resenting them, even abusing them in ways that make us truly sick at heart?

How are you doing? All you people that were just fed, clothed, loved, and kept from harm? You must all be total dismal failures with every kind of emotional and social problem that ever touched the life of humankind. Sucks to be you, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Writ and Testament

An odd sort of blog, this writ and testament is for my family. But you may read it if you don’t mind involvement in, what some might label, a rather dark discussion. And if you do make that choice, please feel free to comment.

To my three daughters, there is so much to and fro about last writs and testaments being legally verified, probated, and authenticated. There is much to-do about them being blessed, signed, sealed, and witnessed by lawyers who rack up phenomenal fees for separation and execution of each one of these abstractions. The profusion and confusion leads me to believe that I can no longer expect expressions in a simple letter stashed in my safety deposit box to be upheld. But hey, if my writ is buried in my blog, who can defy its authenticity?

And so, firstly, I want medical intervention, but not extreme intervention, if I become critically ill. You know that for me quality of life has to do with simple basic considerations. My needs are like those of a child. So although I may some day be too sick to express my needs, I want little more than basic comforts. I want to be dry, clean, and warm. I want cotton bedding and comforting arms if I am sad. I want food and drink. And I don’t want any excuses that I might choke to death or linger if given either. If I choke to death, so be it. If I linger, Health Care may just have to redo their budget or cut-back expenses in some other budget designation. And girls, please forgive me, if these considerations force you to attend my bedside for three months rather than three days.

I know much of this goes without saying, knowing that each of you are of a mind that so closely parallels my own except perhaps, for a couple of other considerations.

I want fresh air, an open window, and a beam of sunlight. I want morphine for pain but girls, track those dosages, I don’t want extra to hurry me on my way. When bedridden, I want to be turned on my side – with a small quilt folded between my knees – cause you know my back kills me when I lie on my back for more than a few moments. And I would consider as a nice gratuity, soft Hymns of transport.

What I don’t want is to go into palliative care until I am drawing my last breath. Already I can’t sleep in a bed that has a grand oak headboard. When I am half-asleep and I awake looking up at a towering grand oak headboard, my mind starts playing nasty tricks on me.

And for those possessions I own, I want you to divide them equally except the stuff in my craft room. For that stuff, whoever is brave enough and willing enough to clean it out, that courageous person is entitled to additional compensation. Compensation, that I am sorry to say, cannot be provisionally provided through ownership of the goodies stored there.

Now I may be naïve but I hoping that with this blog I can supersede the many aspects of the legal system. And in that confidence, it seems I have no need to make all those extraneous determinations that society insists are pertinent.

Truth is, I am pretty chaffed by the modern philosophy about death that has trimmed medical intervention in an acute way (to reduce costs), while expanding legal costs to the departee that are as big as the sea and the sky. Seems like, if I follow all the terms of current protocol, there ends up being such a bombardment of concerns it could drive me to take desperate measures. Maybe even Euthanasia? The risk is real but as long as I have my wits about me, I will not allow that to happen.

And so, yes, I realize that if I am wrong, if a blog-writ is unacceptable and if I have no ‘legal’ writ, the Public Trustee will tie up everything. But, so what, if this writ is unsatisfactory, let him do that. I laugh to think what he will do with all those scraps of lace, dress patterns, quilt blocks, and scraps of fabric even if he does take my sewing machine. But by God, girls, if this blog post isn’t good enough, and he wants my stuff, let him be the one to clean out the craft room in the basement.

And in conclusion, when I have transferred, do what you like. I will be in God’s hands and it matters not to me at that point what happens to the ‘vessel’ I have vacated.

It goes without saying, but to any skeptical attorneys, barristers, or solicitors, this post contains the express wishes of Roberta Smith of Elusive Abstractions.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Trading Obligations

I’m in the livingroom at my computer, catching up on some blog reading. Hub is watching TV. He goes to the kitchen, I hear him sharpening the bread knife. Then he yells to me down the hall. “Would you like a tomato and mayo sandwich?”

“Sure,” I say, thinking how nice it would be to have something to munch on while reading blogs.

“Good,” Hub says.
“Do you mind making me one while you’re making yours?”

At the moment I have no smart comeback so I just ignore the comment. Two minutes later a carefully constructed sandwich cut into High-Tea niblets shows up on a sandwich plate on the corner of the desk.

Guess good things come to those who wait. Maybe not?

I finish my sandwich, take my plate to the kitchen, and Hub yells down the hall…“I hear the sounds of someone in the kitchen making tea.”

I was doing nothing of the kind, and had no intentions of doing so, but gee-whiz, did I have any choice?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well-Worn Comforts

I don’t know about you but I find haunting comfort in looking out my kitchen window at the same landscape, day-after-day and year-after-year changed only by high-in-the-sky or low-slanted sunlight and the color wash of the various seasons. In this I find contentment and I find similar contentment in my old tatty jeans, my gardening shoes stressed and faded by antiquity, and my old ravaged and worn living room rug. My old things provide me with caressing comfort that new things no longer provide.

Simply stated, the longer I have something, the fonder I am of it. Of course in my younger years I wanted everything new, fashionable, cutting edge, but I’m not like that anymore. With the progress of time, my things, concrete or abstract – landscapes, words, jeans, shoes, books, furniture, and even floor coverings have subtly formed a dynamic in my existence that goes beyond possession. As I age, I value as priceless that which ages with me. This is my new old-age perception that provides body and soul with a counterirritant for my physical and mental decline.

And so, in keeping with that perception, because I’ve had Hub for a very long time, he is right up there with the rest of my aging abstractions of indeterminate value. Like my kitchen landscape, Hub is precious because he has longevity on his side. And at this stage of my life, longevity positively doubles and triples the value.

I tell you these ponderings because for Mother’s Day, Hub installed new laminate floors in the living room and dining room.

So now I look at my new living area. There is a warm gloss and sheen to the new floors. But there is a part of me that misses the old silver-gray rug. I should have had a new rug years ago but I kept putting it off. Didn’t make good sense to get one with three dogs that come in and out at will through the dog-door regardless of the weather. So instead of a new rug the old rug was shampooed and shampooed. And surprisingly, despite coarse treatment, that old rug washed up nicely although all my arduous shampooing efforts could not erase the fatigue of its many years. How many years? I’m not too sure. Maybe fifteen, maybe more.

So when sadness at the loss of something precious that I’ve had more than half as long as Hub began to wash over me, I said to myself, “There is one thing that is going to make me appreciate my new floor wholeheartedly.

When I see what is under that rug there will be nothing but solid relief that it was ripped out. Just one bit of mold, one crawler/larvae/tick, alive or dead, will make me feel absolute orgasmic ecstasy that the old rug is gone.

But guess what? There was nothing. Not even a dead fruit-fly. No mold. No disgusting thing whatsoever. Yeh, a bit of debris and powdery underlay, but nothing to make me click my heels together and happily kiss my old rug good-bye.

I share this final secret with you. Please don’t tell Hub but my appreciation for my new floors is somewhat blunted by sadness. I can’t help feeling like a little bit of my heart and soul went out the door with that old grey rug that we danced on so many times and that caressed puppies’ feet and my own for so many years.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Evolution of Political Correctness - Conclusion

Friend or Foe?

It’s truly odd to me how often scientific facts slip from public favor into a state of “re-call”. Every time I turn on the news there is another fact being dismissed or re-called. And although it shouldn’t happen, it does. Re-calls on once deemed healthy foods, or once deemed desirable products.

But although it only takes 10 or 12 complaints for a consumer product to be re-called, philosophical notions, though not near so rigorously tested, are seldom, if ever, re-called. Maybe because it so hard to track down the few individuals that direct the Social Conscience of a country. But even if we knew, I don’t think there would be re-calls. Problems may arise, there may be modifications, but still there is never an out-and-out re-call of any new ideologies. They are just given a new sophisticated name within the subset of ‘progressive thinking’ and let loose without proper introduction.

So we have ‘progressive thinking’ and within that subset we have ‘political correctness’. And for either one, there will never be a re-call. But, truthfully, if the two were more accurately named for what they are – say as ‘induced thinking’ and ‘cloned correctness’ – I think we might eventually reach a point in time when a re-call might be considered.

I’m one of the very few that would like to see a re-call. My reasons for thinking this are fairly basic. It seems to me that when internal whisperings of the mind are fenced in by superficial definitions, rather than set free, we destroy truth and the measure of who we are, whether good or evil.

Who determined that we must bite our tongues and speak pleasant reveries? Reveries that hide the darkness within savage breasts. Or conversely, reveries that cause questioning of the validity of the light that radiates from virtuous and commendable souls. It may sound Utopian, but utopian thinking is as impractical as it is idealistic and stylistic and so is political correctness. It leaves us in a superficially ‘nice’ place, but at the same time, a place where there is no obvious separation between friends and foes. It is a form of legalized voice-speak that destroys communication at the basest level.

So you might say to me, how can be benefit from having to listen to mean, distressing commentaries? Well, if ‘practice makes perfect’, the more crap we sort through the more adept we will become at sorting through crap. Young people need to hear some crap in order to learn to adeptly sort through concepts of good and evil. When all they hear is political-correctness, they cannot adroitly assess the overwhelming proportion of lies mixed with truth. It is hard to sort crap from salvage when gracious words are hiding the darkest of evil intent. When so many are living a lie.

Political correctness makes the enemy as invisible as the enemy is in the unending war in Iraq. It seems to me that even when troops eventually pull out of Iraq, the war will not end there. How can it when the enemy is invisible, and with that invisibility so easily able to infiltrate without causing a ripple? The same invisibility will come into play if we continue to pursue the idea of Political Correctness?

I would rather know who I am dealing with. Though I may not like what I hear, I nevertheless appreciate the little nuances or bold outrages that cue me to remove myself from association with some people. That suggest that I need to be on guard. If we want to protect our children, we want to know where convicted child-molesters reside. But even more so, we need to know where inauspicious hazards lie. And it may well be that the slightest latitude in casual conversation (if that conversation is not impeded by political correctness) can serve as an early warning system that an evil sickness resides within persons in our own community, family, or social group.

I think it is better to understand emotions than deny them. I think we are better off to understand that we will have days when others will cause us anger, sadness, disappointment, discouragement, and pain. Progressive thinking is learning to deal with it. Can we not accept this is how things are and return to honest interchanges cushioned by this simple bit of insulation?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never hurt me!”

I think the greater unrest is perpetrated by legislating political correctness. I don't know about you, but I am more frightened by invisible threats than visible ones.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Evolution of Political Correctness - Part II

Don’t Be Too Forward

If you are a woman and if you captured your significant other in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, than I have to ask you a few questions. Did he chase you or did you chase him? Did you reveal what was in your heart before he revealed what was in his? Did you call him when he didn’t call you? Did you ask any of these questions – “Will I see you again?” “Can I have your phone number?” “When can I call you?” Or did you introduce any of these topics into conversation --- Going steady? Exchanging class rings? Next date? Marriage? Wedding garments, rings, rituals?

If you did, excuse me, but weren’t you just a little bit ‘too forward’? Did no one ever educate you in the Not-too-Forward-Political-Correctness (NTFPC) policy for young women?

In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s – the NTFPC policy was in effect and rule number one was – men are in charge. They must be the ones to ask to see you again, ask for your phone number or broach the big question. Young ladies immediately lost all dignity and appeal by being brazen enough to reveal the intent of their hearts before he revealed the intent of his. And furthermore, most guys left nothing but a roiling trail of dust when assertive girls ignored the policy.

As a young women I had sound instruction in the policy. I understood the policy. But no one can be on duty 24 - 7, so sometimes when I was off-duty I did ‘sport fishing’. It was a nice break because when I was off-duty I could ignore the NTFPC policy and say anything I wanted to say, bring up any topic I wanted to, and tell some bewildered fellow to pick me up at 2:00 the next day. And then I could lay down the rules whether we were going to a dance, dinner, or shopping. Having broken the rules of the NTFPC policy, I pretty much expected I would never see him again, but so what – he was just one of those temporary catches that didn’t matter anyway.

But other times, I was doing serious fishing with only one thought paramount – to hold and to keep. And so, if that was the case I never ever said, “Do you want my phone number or where can I reach you?” I never said, no matter how lovesick, “Will you phone me?” I determined not to reveal the intent of my heart until he revealed the intent of his. Too ever-present was my real fear of a quick exit and a roiling trail of dust….

And that might have been all well and good but there was a spin-off from observing the rules of the NTFPC philosophy. I also, just realized the other day, that when in that catch and hold pattern, I never showed much appreciation either. I never said things I should have said. “I really had a lovely time. Thank you for asking me to come.” I never said, “I really enjoyed my evening,” or “will I see you again?” But that is the problem with Politically Correct Policies – they certainly put a damper on spontaneity. So you may well ask, if I never revealed what was in my heart, how did I catch Hub?

It is all quite amazing considering the impact of the NTFPC policy. I couldn’t be so ‘forward’ as to suggest to Hub that I was interested in marriage though that was my hidden hope. Everything I wanted to say, felt compelled to say, was so politically incorrect. Far “too forward”. So finally, at my wit’s end, I tried to diplomatically skirt the issue by suggesting that we go to the Marriage Licensing Office (MLO) for the purpose of self-education. It couldn’t hurt for us to know what getting married entails. It couldn’t hurt for us to know if, perchance, someday we might want to marry “ “ “someone” ” ” what was involved – if there was a waiting period, if blood tests were required, how much it cost, etc.

But the day we went to the MLO, the office was so busy, there was no time for explanations or questions. Before we knew what was happening, a clerk pushed us into a line-up and then with utmost swiftness and efficiency we were questioned, spun into a small chamber for blood tests, and out the door with a Marriage License in hand.

I brought it home, stuck it in a drawer, and there it stayed. But one day, while Hub was looking in the drawer for something else, the License resurfaced. He checked it out and that’s when he realized it had a fast-approaching Expiry Date. Had we discussed the matter? Of course not, cause it was up to him to bring the subject up.

And I never asked, which was how it was supposed to be. I never pressed, which was how it was supposed to be. But Hub, meanwhile, must have been frustrated at my reserved coolness about marriage and so he looked at the license and proposed in a rather oblique way with this stern ultimatum.

“If I’m not good enough to marry, I’m not good enough to be here, and if I’m not good enough to be here, I am walking out this door right now and you will never see me again!”

When he said that I panicked. And of course, I happily agreed to marry him.


When my kids were growing up, these were such busy years that everything remains a blur. But despite that I remained convinced that I passed on to them all the solid values of my upbringing including the NTFPC policy. But apparently not. Last week I had this discussion with one of my daughters and at the conclusion she looked at me in stunned silence, then laughed and laughed. “Oh Mom,” she said, “that is the funniest thing I ever heard. Will you be really dismayed if I tell you within those confines, I was much too forward.”