I remember talking to a lady who laughingly told me she had four kids – if you counted her husband. I can relate to that.
Growing up, I remember being surrounded by strong women, especially my various aunts, who made us kids toe the line. Back in the 1950’s, they were short on patience with any lack of respect like backtalk. Maybe they embraced the belief that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ They certainly didn’t shy away from dispensing immediate justice to anyone’s kid.
A good example was when I made the cardinal sin of calling in on a friend. I mean, back in those days, you were left to your own devices all day, except for meal times – which were etched into stone.
As I recalled it years later, I never saw it coming… only a blur, really… when at age twelve, I felt the sting of a wet tea towel snapping across my face by my friend’s mad mom. My crime? – interrupting their lunch! It made my skin welt up like it had just been lacerated. The sudden shock of this left me standing stunned and staring at the front door… slammed-shut in my face.
As for any support at home? – nope! However, even if our neighbourhood acted like a ‘global village’ – my mom drew the line at abusive behaviour. She’d vehemently defended her family with a fierce temper towards other adults. But, most families set the example with a ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ type of discipline. So, best not to complain at home less you get punished twice!
So, what about women dealing with other strong women?
Take for example the quarrel between Tammy Wynette and Hillary Clinton – over Tammy’s song, ‘Stand By Your Man.’
“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman,
Giving all your love to just one man…
But if you love him, you’ll forgive him…
‘Cause after all he’s just a man” https://youtu.be/AM-b8P1yj9w
During a 1992 “60 Minutes” TV interview, when Hillary Clinton defended her support of husband and future President of the United States, Bill Clinton (despite his alleged affair with Gennifer Flowers) she trashed Tammy Wynette by saying: “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”
The backlash was swift and unforgiving – including from Tammy Wynette – who reiterated that “Nowhere does it say be a doormat and let this man walk on you.” So, unlike most ego-driven men, Mrs. Clinton apologized… fast! Maybe, she could sense a cosmic tea towel zinging her way. Sometimes, you just know… how much you’ve learned that your heart knew was true.
Nonetheless, for some reason, I remember women’s forgiveness much more than any punishment. I’ve seen the genuine hurt and deep disappointment in their eyes. And, it may have been a slow – two steps forward, one step back – journey; yet, I’m a better person, today… a better man – which began with my wife and two daughters. That’s my story: as salty tears fill my eyes, I’ve been saved by love.
As a wise man once told me, “Keep ’tilting‘ windmills’ especially your own!” I can be myself, but I’m… just a man.
That’s the way I figure it. – FP
As a special note: Some say, regarding the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, that she had an unparalleled sense of duty… others say to a fault. But, during her June 1997 Royal Tour to Canada, her visiting motorcade passed right through our small town. She looked right at us, but struggled to lower the locked limo window… to more personally wave back. To us, this small gesture showed she cared.
A strong woman, she never asked for the thankless job as monarch, but dedicated her life to it… her leadership becoming intertwined with the role, itself. Plus, she was a global force for peace and stability – highlighted by her reassuring voice and message of hope to millions at Christmas – anxiously received by people of faith, or not.