Mothers Nurture - Wives Have A Different Agenda
The bishops chair, one of the oldest pieces of furniture in Sweden, about 1000 years old (AND STILL SERVICEABLE!).
Sometime in the 80s, my wife unwittingly stumbled across the answer to all our modern World’s woes. Now, she’s a lovely lass, and she’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met, but if I’m a fool, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. If I’m not a fool, she still doesn’t suffer me gladly. If I’m only a fool sometimes, she doesn’t suffer me gladly, at these times - or at any other time. So I spend much of my time talking to myself, a habit at which even the cat looks askance. Or else I make a nuisance of myself, and my opinions, on the internet.
It’s my opinions that cause the trouble. I think I'm being philosophical, she says I'm being nonsensical. So, I know my place. I really have no interest in the décor; I know that for sure, because she told me so, when we married in 1973 - and she didn’t need to tell me again. I spent the first couple of days putting forward brilliant ideas, which she charmingly gainsaid. Eventually, I realised I was well out of my depth. I decided that interior design, would never be my strong point, and that was the last time I interfered.
Anyways, she was probably bringing in more money than me - I don’t know for sure, because that’s another thing I was told to keep my nose out of - but that’s how we got along. She didn’t mention the amount of beer I saw off in a week. She ignored the ephemeral, electronic musical gadgets I bought, and then shelved - outdated and useless. For my part, I'd sit on whatever chair was provided, surrounded by her choice of wallpaper, carpets and ornaments - and I was happy with that.
But, I was still entitled to an opinion - I thought. Sometimes I’d come in late at night, and a piece of furniture wasn’t where I thought it should be. I once took a tumble, ending up with my feet in the air like a dead fly - and I was held responsible for the incident. That was okay; I got used to that.
Well, one day I was having a rant. I didn’t know then, it was a rant; I was a grumpy old man before my time, I suppose. I thought I was being profound; she thought I was meddling in her affairs. She’d rattled my cage, when she told me she’d ordered a new sitting room suite. I gave forth my opinion about the amount of material waste going on in the World; about the hours worked, paddling like mad and going nowhere, refurnishing a home, unnecessarily. “A chair is just a damn chair, as long as it’s comfortable,” I professed. “When did we ever wear a chair out in this house? When did anybody anywhere, in the entire British Isles ever sit in a chair for so long, or so often, that it actually wore out, could no longer serve its purpose, and they need to buy another?” I philosophised. I have her this time, I thought; don’t stop me now! “We’ve had half a dozen sitting room suites in about as many years”. I exaggerated. “My mother got her sitting room suite as a wedding present from her Dad in 1946, and she’s never needed another one.” She looked confounded. A brilliant, watertight argument, I thought. This time, that glib tongue of hers, is silenced!
“Well”, she said, “You should have married your Mother.”
Now, here’s the point about that domestic rant, which I never forgot; that was going so well until it hit the buffers. If consumerism ever does go out of political favour, if future generations ever do decide that profligacy is no longer sustainable - that lovely lass I married (apparently, mistakenly), had the problem solved years ago.
Mum died in the year 2000, and that living room suite she’d had since 1946 went out, along with all her other furniture. Some things went to a charity shop. Nobody wanted the suite; it probably went into landfill. It was still fully serviceable, but after a lifetime of loving, sentiment and care, it found itself redundant, at last.
I still miss Mum, and think of her often. I have a great respect for her, and her generation. I believe they were much more resourceful than we’ve been. They had much more to deal with in their time - foisted upon them, and out-with their control. However, I’m glad I didn’t marry her; horses for courses, please. Mothers nurture; wives - have a different agenda.
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