Sunday, July 6, 2008
Last night, while having dinner with close friends and after too much to drink, I made the remark to my girlfriend that I was "older, smarter and had more on my hips." Of course, I was intentionally misquoting Evelyn Couch in "Fried Green Tomatoes". My friend is a good deal younger than I and she was worrying about the swelling in the fingers of her painting hand. She's an artist. I was telling her to go see a doc instead of self-diagnosing. She wasn't listening and that's when I made the remark.
When I think on that scene in the movie, the "Towanda" scene, I think of women empowering themselves and what a struggle it has been. I think of what it took for my mother to pay off her second husband's debts after he'd cheated on her then ran his restaurant business into the ground. I think of my grandmother and her four husbands, three of whom she supported. I think of my best friend's mother, a nurse, who went back to college, while we were in high school, to get her masters degree, then on to a doctorate while still in her forties, raising four kids in the process. I think of Hillary Clinton running for President. What an amazing possibility that was. She could have made it. I really wanted to see her win; to see a woman with the ultimate power.
My girlfriend did not pick up on the quote. She's younger and faster for sure. And she's an empowered woman. She's raising four children, helping her husband run their business and promoting her art work through shows, mailings and a web site. She is the product of a strong matriarch. Her mother had six daughters. She raised them practically single-handed while starting and building a restaurant business. All the daughters are hard-working and successful.
What do we all have in common? A strong mother figure, a mentor, someone to set the example. We share, we trade secrets, we provide for the next generation. For those who don't know how, we need to teach, shelter and mentor.