Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Shoebox

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years ... They had shared everything. They had talked about everything ... They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.
He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said. "That explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"
"Oh," she said. "That's the money I made from selling the dolls."

The above is a joke sent to me by my friend Julie. After I was finished laughing at it, I started to think about it. I don't know how to crochet, and I don't have such a shoebox in my closet. But maybe I should learn--because it does show a certain wisdom that I seem utterly unable to attain. A lot of women have been raised to keep quiet when they are angry, and sometimes I am that way. I have certainly had my passive aggressive moments--you know, like I can be royally ticked and when asked what the matter is I'll say shortly, "Nothing." However, most of the time I surprise myself by my willingness to argue over anything, and my seemingly unlimited capacity for nagging.

Our recently completed tree house is a great example. Matt made the offhand remark about a tree house back when we first moved into our house, but cautioned the kids that it wasn't going to happen for a long time--we had to paint the outside of the house, for example, and he couldn't even think of it till then. That project is finished, but the kids hadn't forgotten his promise (I think he had, though!) and so I took it upon myself to point out that this project should be taken care of before the kids actually all graduated from high school and left for college or parts unknown. Matt is a wonderful man--but he is a procrastinator of the first order. He is also a meticulous planner, something that my impatient nature kind of hates. Those two facts, coupled with the stupendously lousy weather we have had this spring, stretched the tree house project out over five agonizing weeks.

I don't need to go into the nagging itself, and I am the first to admit that hey, it worked! We have a wonderful tree house, the kids are having a ball. However, contrary to popular belief, I don't actually enjoy being a harpy, and it was only because I knew how patiently the kids were waiting, and how much fun they would have in it, and how much I need Matt to help me get the living room and dining room painted that I rode him so hard to get it finished. Matt and I have the sort of relationship where we are the best of friends and he expects me to be in charge--kind of an extension of homeschooling and spending all my time with the kids while he is natural that he doesn't want to step on my toes. So any picture you may have of Mrs. Oleson from "Little House on the Prairie" isn't on the mark!

However, what I'm trying to say is that I probably should try to have a mental shoebox of sorts, maybe save some of the really sarcastic remarks for myself. Or maybe I should learn to crochet and actually make the dolls. Ninety four thousand dollars wouldn't hurt, after all!


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