Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blethic and Boys

For new readers, Blethic is 'blog ethic.'

This is the quirky Matronly combination that addresses both readers and the real life subjects of the Matron's ruminations.

For the first, she feels an obligation for five days a week of posts. Let's just say the Matron should be a politician: establish any kind of relationship, constituents or readers, and she is compelled to be the over-achiever and worries about what the 'people' need. Imagine if all politicians felt this way. This brings up the past two silent days: sorry! There's a story behind that and it's coming.

Regarding the second, the Matron is of the belief that she can tell her own story, but not someone else's (without permission). The tricky part is where those two meet. Scarlett's theater life or Merrick's struggle with school are their stories, but also the Matron's. So she tries to do the high wire juggling act on these.

There's the sum of Blethic. Honestly? She thinks she should copyright that word.

Tuesday, yours truly skipped blogging because she ran an all-day technology retreat at her college and then went tripping the light fantastic with a friend: the perfect combination of work and play, but with no time in between.

Yesterday, she had the best intentions of a pithy post. But.
At 8:30 a.m., a good friend of John's--who owns his own construction/landscaping/handyman business--showed up and said: "I'm here to rebuild your retaining wall." Out of the goodness of his heart. The said retaining wall is no small task --this would be the very pretty brick wall that encases their entire front yard and is currently a dangerous, crumbling mess. If you're a small child and you stand on this?


Now, the Matron and her husband had elaborate work plans and child-monitoring and driving established for the entire day. They tossed those plans. John put on work clothes and toiled beside his friend for the day, in 90 degrees and blazing sun (remember, this is Minnesota so we're really at our best at freezing level and in snow).

John and his friend did hard, long, difficult labor. They destroyed and rebuilt a wall, hauling bricks and shifting dirt. They dug, stacked, and hauled while wiping sweat out of their eyes. They spent 9 hours digging and building, eventually covered in dirt, brick dust and bugs.

The Matron made sure she wore a clean pretty apron and stayed within the safety of the kitchen. where she could watch the blood, sweat and tears ensuing outside and say: "oh my!"

In a completely uncharacteristic move, she spent the day serving the men. In the spirit of the clean pretty apron, she set out iced lemon water and frosted glasses (and yes, someone had to FROST those glasses and that would have been her). There were cherries, grapes and apples for grazing. She ran in and out of the house, making sure the men were thoroughly fed and hydrated.

Lunch? Shrimp, broccoli and pasta in a peanut sauce -- plus a green salad and cool beverage, all artfully constructed in a shady area in the backyard. She even spread a lovely table cloth and secured a vase of flowers.

And as the men -- big guys, both -- were digging into their food and clearly enjoying their drinks, the shade, the respite and dare she say it? The service from a not entirely unattractive woman wearing a skirt and clean pretty apron and saying: "what can I get you?" --

Please forgive the complete disregard for punctuation in the above paragraph.

While all this was happening, yours truly was transported to the many, many times she served boys -- Stryker, Merrick and all their friends -- the lunches, snacks, service. She looked at these two big, aging (nearing fifty!) men devouring an enormous lunch that she created (and which took a long time) who happily said "yes, thank you" to a woman adding more food to a plate and realized that even these big reliable men remained, at some level, boys being fed by a woman.

In a good way.

She was happy to do it.


Irene said...

I would have been quite happy with that lunch too. It sounds like Indonesian food, which is my favorite. I wouldn't have wanted to build a wall in 90 degree weather for it, though. Kudos to those guys. And to you for wearing the apron.

Daisy said...

Lunch sounds delicious. We've been remodeling, which should be a four-letter word, and my role has been mainly "Keep the regular home routines running."

I'll bet your wall looks great and you're very grateful to the friend for rebuilding it!

ilyanna said...

There's such a difference between voluntary and obligatory service. I, too, love to take care of (feed) people I love, but resent when my foolish husband comes to expect it. I'm glad you took the time to relish your part in the landscaping project.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I know! I love seeing the boy in the man, it makes them all seem so sweet.

There's a quote I love from an Irish song: "Merry-hearted boys make the best of old men." It's true.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I have a post in draft about just that sort of satisfaction--though I'm not a pretty apron girl--I'm a Williams-Sonoma chef's apron gal.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of the saying the French women have--something about pleasing yourself while pleasing others.
And Ilyanna says it well about service as an act of love vs. coerced behavior

unmitigated me said...

Well done, all 'round, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

My husband would like me to come and take lessons from you. Of course, this is the same man who called this morning and announced that tomorrow morning is the day we are remodeling the bathroom.
Said bathroom is on the south side of the house. Tomorrow will be a very humid 100+ degrees. And we still have to purchase the new (used) vanity, paint, and wallpaper removal tools.
Suddenly, I want to find a pretty apron...

MJ said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes ~ I think it was the realization that I no longer have 2 tables/chair sets in the diningroom and found the photos for the top of the piano this morning. The kitchen reno is coming to an end! Hope your wall is now retained!

Susan said...

There are times when it is a pleasure to serve - and that sounds like one of them.