Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We've Come A Long Way Baby

The pictured newspaper article is from Housekeeping Monthly, May 13, 1955

It reads as follows:

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people.

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it. (emphasis added)

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. (emphasis added)

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Be happy to see him.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. (emphasis added)

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, the the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. (okay, now we're really getting going)

Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

don't greet him with complaints and problems.

Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

A good wife always knows her place.

(And we wonder why we can only have a female president if it is make believe and on teeVEE. This just wasn't all that long ago, the ERA has never passed and we still make 72 cents on the dollar.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fellow Humans

The images are awful, the stories beyond anything the word “tragic” can adequately express. The anger over inaction – the worst aspects of Bureaucracy rearing its ugly head at precisely the time we needed its best. There is fault to be had at every level, from the highest levels of federal government down to the lowest. Mayor Nagin seems the only one man enough to admit his part, “I should have screamed louder. I should have screamed louder.” The president certainly will not admit to gross ineptitude and a grievous error in judgment in thinking of FEMA as a figurehead branch of government that didn’t actually need people qualified to run it.

Our nations invisible - those living in poverty – those forgotten people that many of us walk by or ignore, either because we feel guilty or because we simply choose to not see that sort of thing – are loudly on display for us all to see, to acknowledge, to recognize their humanity and say to ourselves – do we have what it takes to persevere when literally everything has been stripped of us – everything including our dignity? Can we handle it? If faced with it, will we show our best side? Or our worst?

There are going to be a lot of parents who have lost their children – I can’t imagine anything more horrible than that. There are going to be a lot of children who will no longer have parents or guardians – these children will need people willing to step up to the plate and adopt them. They deserve no less chance at a decent and loving upbringing – in fact they will need it even more. They will need protection from predators. As the African proverb says, It takes a village to raise a child” and the U.S. needs to be that village.

There are therapists from all over the states who are taking special training courses right now to go to these people and attempt to help them through this time. I hope there are therapists for these therapists when they are through at the end of each day. I hope there are people willing to dry the tears of the policemen and firefighters who have lost everything along with everyone else, but who are still showing up to do what they do best. Some didn’t make it.

There’s a lot of work ahead. As a friend said today, they need supplies, they need money, they need professionals there to guide them through these changes, and they also need our willingness to let go of anything within ourselves that puts us against our fellow human beings. It’s only with a collective shedding of the holding on to whatever puts our mind against other people that will accomplish world peace. We haven’t done very well with that and we can do better.

There’s a supply drive at a place where I work out. It’s a great community of people – when a woman with no insurance lost her arm in a car accident – this group of people came forward, pitched in, and paid for her prosthetic. Those are the kind of people I want to stick around. And they’ve come through again, with stacks of boxes of supplies, clothing, dufflebags and sleeping bags to be shipped. I didn’t know what to contribute and started thinking about what I would want if I was in that situation – all I could think of was, new underwear. I don’t know why. It’s stupid, I’m sure, but I went and filled up the cart with multi-packs of every size I could find – male, female, boys and girls . . .

Let’s start thinking like a village. What can we do to clean up this mess we’ve made of ourselves as human beings? If any one of us has ever had a negative thought in our head toward another person, then we are part of that mess. It’s fine for those people who believe that its every man for himself – that everyone should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But its kind of hard to do if you have no boots. We can do better. We've got to.