Mia’s Grammy, Ruth, celebrated her 68th birthday with a hen party last Sunday. But this was not your typical ol’ lady party where guests come bearing gifts of slipper socks and crossword puzzle books (giant print editions) then sit and talk in hushed tones.
Something like that would never do for Ruth: she is not your typical ol’ lady. She is sharp, sarcastic and slightly eccentric. She whizzed through the first ten years of her senior citizenship on roller skates. A knee injury sustained from her smash-up with a trash can now has her shopping for a souped-up scooter.
No, Ruth’s party suited her with no cakes, no crosswords or men allowed. She didn’t want them “mucking up the ambiance.” There were piles and platters of catered Italian food, plenty of beverages, loud conversation, music and laughter. (I could have done without the LL Cool J party tunes, but Ruth loves him. She says he has lips so “scrumptious” it makes her “wanna smack somebody.” And it was her birthday. So, I kept my distance and didn’t complain.)
At the party, we discussed the usual topics of interest to women: you know children, nanobubbles, trade agreements, politics and select people we all together do not like. Finally, we worked our way around to discussing the fluff-headed thing you men seem to think we talk about exclusively – you.
And you mightn’t have come up at all if a few of the ladies hadn’t still been seething from pre-party skirmishes with spouses about babysitting, curfews and complaints that a trip to Ruth’s always results in drinking too much.
This sparked a conversation about a woman’s role in the family, how to tolerate the dimwitted-nature of the male species and whether or not a genuine fondness for your partner can be maintained throughout marriage.
I nearly choked on my fermented muscadine juice when Ruth announced with her ancient voice of wisdom: love and passion most certainly can last… but only if your husband dies of natural causes before you are beset by the urge to poison him.
According to Ruth, who was married for 45 years, passion is never the glue that holds a marriage together and only “single people and nitwits who read Avon books think otherwise.” In her opinion, marriage is a partnership of shared obligations and those unions, which survive inevitable conflicts, do so because the wife was likely too tired to pack up and bounce when the notion struck her.
“Men can’t be Prince Charming forever,” she explained, “This is why women have affairs with the milkman.”
Of course, I asked her if she’d ever been creeping with her milkman.
To which she answered, “No, we had cows.”
Then, after a brief pause, she said, “But there was this good-looking shoe salesman in town. Goooodness chile, he was something to look at, and after the baby was born, I made plans to put it on him as soon as my ass got skinny again.”
“And did you?” we asked.
Ruth took a deep breath and seemed to float back in time, as if collecting up the thoughts and memories necessary to tell of the torrid affair from her past.
Once the rest of us wiggled and settled in prepared to hear details, Ruth sighed and said, “Now honey, does it look like my ass ever got skinny again.”