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Wedding Gift That’s Still Around

When Husband and I celebrated our anniversary recently, I took the rubber band off of a collection of 3” x 5” note cards entitled “Recipes:  Family Favorites and Other Things.”  Aunt Anne didn’t share food recipes; she wrote marriage advice as part of her wedding gift to us.

            Some directions are short and sweet.  ‘How to avoid a fuss with your husband – shut your mouth. How to live on a budget – have it printed on the rug. ‘Tis said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – sometimes it seems like the long way around.’

            ‘How to hold your man – tie him!’  Aunt Anne expounded.  ‘Tie him with a mixture of kindness, consideration, honesty, and truthfulness.  Leaven with common sense.  Spice with a pinch of temper and a good argument now and then.  Frost with lots of hugs and kisses.’

            ‘How to avoid in-law trouble – stay away from them.’  Aunt Anne had a sense of humor, and her sincere advice encouraged me to appreciate and respect Husband’s parents.  ‘Always remember your mother-in-law and father-in-law spent a whole lot of time and effort and money to produce that hunk of manhood and they are handing him, the finished product to you – for free.  Be kind to them.  In twenty-some short years you might be a mother-in-law.’

            Aunt Anne waxed on about money and marriage.  Although the working world has changed since 1969, there’s wisdom in her words.  ‘Let’s face it girls, it’s still a man’s world.  Oh, we get jobs and sometimes make more money than men and we vote.  We stick our little pinkies in world affairs, but we still rock the cradles.  In the biological process of filling that cradle, we are just as old-fashioned as our grandmas. 

            ‘For a time, we are dependent so it might be a good idea to remember how grandma managed long before the female executive came along.  She raised chickens, sold cream, taught music, and resorted to trickery.  She padded the household account.  She filled Grandpa’s wine cup and raided his pockets.

            ‘And she had the vapors.  Grandma swooned, looked fragile, and clung to Grandpa’s strong hand while sending messages with her fluttering eyelids that penetrated to the depth of his protective instinct. She just couldn’t wash the clothes so Grandpa hired it done. This isn’t the devious trick that it sounds.  Grandpa felt ten feet tall with a huge chest expansion and everybody was happy.’ 

            Aunt Anne gave Husband advice too.  ‘When your wife gets a spell of the contraries, get a cup of tea (maybe the kind with fizz on top), put it on this platter, and turn on the TV.’            

Husband’s small plastic platter and my index card box, covered with blue flowered contact paper, are long gone, but I’ve kept the cards for fifty-one years.  Since Husband and I are now home together 24/7, I need Aunt Anne’s advice as much now as I did as a young bride, maybe more.