A Woman’s Touch

As I’ve been convalescing the past few weeks I’ve looked around our home. What is a “man cave,” anyway? He usually spends so much time around the country for work that when we’re together on weekends, we’re together. He doesn’t play cards or drink. He knows billiards but doesn’t wish to be alone in a basement we do not have at the moment.

A workshop, yes, while his younger brother was out canoeing and hunting deer, he built a workshop and invented things, like a micro-switch for the grain bin. Now that would be his kind of man cave.

As I contemplated my will and eventual demise I realize that I have decorated our home with artwork that is very feminine and beautifully framed. The quilts are from his mother, one flowery one she refreshed, from an ancestor and one she designed and made the squares in the seventies (we consulted on the design for years and made it of the seasons). Some are personal, such as of me as a baby, then cooking at the James Beard House.

Much art and photos are of dance. My kitchen is all me. Do you know what he brought to our relationship, actually our kitchen, besides his wonderful self and a work ethic that only belongs to someone who grew up on a dairy farm? One blue plastic colander his mother gave him to go to college. Of course we still have it decades later.

I’ll never forget those nine bulls 20′ away when I turned on the light on “meet the parents weekend” to use the bathroom. They stared at me, eyes shining so I shut off the light. They thought his father was getting up to feed them but it was three in the morning! Whoops. We married two months later, rookie mistake taken in stride by all. Not the marriage, the light and noise of the bulls.

My in-laws are being flooded out for a lake to serve a big city water. They have to move all the cattle. They must leave in 90 days. When I think of how his mother decorated it’s rational in terms of his and her needs and those of the “kids” who flew the coop years ago but love to come visit.

My husband has no interest in making a living space homey or attractive. When we met he was living in a man cave on the first floor behind mailboxes looking at a parking lot, with his dual-brained computer he built and string cheese wrappers littered between refrigerator and computer. Of course there was nothing on the walls.

Now we always have a view. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me! Everything in me wants to be with him for the rest of my life, but I know it will not be as long as his life. Every few years we have a two minute conversation with me asking him to re-marry after I’m gone and have a kid and he responds not to talk about that. He’d be a great father.

Should I will anything personal to my family? My parents’ wedding photos, beautifully framed. My father’s art (he took up art at age 80) of Tuscany and one Maori piece I love. The dancer’s pieces which should go to my brother, head of a dance company.

Or should I leave everything with suggestions if he does find another lifelong companion and hope that she is kind and caring, acknowledges that I did exist, takes care of my dog and most especially my husband and parcels the art she does not wish to have where I’ve designated. I do not wish to see him alone.

Oh, our wreath on the front door crashed yesterday with precious family ornaments. Pine needles all over the place. It’s in the guest bath right now awaiting judgment. I got it two days before Thanksgiving and think now that it may have been in storage for a month, as it is so dry. There are so many memories, ones we made for our years together of a snowman with a lasso, a reindeer in an apron delivering a tray of cookies, Santa on a bi-plane and me the moose lying atop a bi-plane with presents.

Santa in a kilt with bagpipes and me as the national flower of Scotland, the thistle. He as a moose riding a trout when his brother visited and they tried fly-fishing. I had to go “catch” three steaks for dinner! After all these years, there are more. Finger puppets, he’s the cow (dairy reference), I’m the horse and the dog is the dog. Now we’re all together on Dad’s evergreen tree, dairyman didn’t fall with the wreath, I rescued him and placed him back with us before the wreath fell.

We rescue each other, all the time. Cheers! Dee




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