This I Believe

Colette - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on December 1, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
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The Rituals…They are- a – changing

Women need a husband at Christmastime.

When I stopped having a husband at Christmas time, I at least had a wife, who was better than a husband.

Lucy, my housekeeper, homemaker, friend of 23 years isn’t here this season. Neither of us wants to admit she’s retiring. She is 63. And besides, there have been legitimate happenings these past six months…. her husband’s hip replacement, her daughter and granddaughter moving in after the eviction (she refused to take the near-do-well husband), her own knee surgery, her dog’s colitis. “You can’t count on me. You better get somebody else”. “We’ll see”, I’d answer.

In the meantime, I’ve been using a maid service that does no wifely chores…no putting laundry and all other miscellany away in their proper places, no freshly-ironed linen cloths on my bed stand, no flowers from the garden on the kitchen table, no surprise receptacles for my hair bands. No anything. The service only cleans. The house must be in order for them to do so. Although I AM complaining here, I have managed quite well… even enjoyed the sense of satisfaction of knowing where every thing is. But it’s a satisfaction I don’t want to live with for the rest of my life!

Right now I know that there are fourteen large, plastic containers up in the pantry that hold Christmas decorations.

Here’s where the husband or wife comes in.

My ritual with Lucy has been that I would climb up the five wooden steps, and hand her container after container. When alas, I would descend into the kitchen, and see them all stacked up, I always uttered,“WOW”.

And then left for exercise and chores.

I’d return home a few hours later to a transformed house…different choices each year…. All- out, full- throttle decorating.

Lucy is Italian. ( As am I. For my birthday one year, she decorated the house in tacky Italian décor. She put plastic on the furniture, and put knick-knacks from every drawer and crevice on all the surfaces. She did themes for all our birthdays.)

For this project, she would clear much of the downstairs space, and replace it with Christmas…Christmas…Christmas! Even the doorknobs and mirrors were singing.

She and I would hang lights outside on the doorframe and the railings, (a husband chore). We’d hang the most beautiful of the ornaments from ribbons in all the windows (on a ladder…husband chore).

Lucy did all this when I did have a husband at Christmas time.

So here I sit before you on November 29th.

I have no husband. I have no wife.

Peace be with me.