Monthly Archives: February 2017

Henry had feminist issues…

I have been reading a lot lately about feminist viewpoints and the equality between men and women. As an historian, I’ve studied equality between the genders all through the history of man (forgive the gender specific term). The men who treated their wives with great respect and equality were definitely in the minority, especially among the ruling class.

The anti-feminist winner, however, has to be one of my most fascinating studies in history in the case of Henry VIII of England. Known by his contemporaries as “Bluff King Hal,” Henry gave women little reason to think he was a kind and benevolent fellow.

Henry knew the ins and outs of marriage and even more about handling a divorce without any squabble. In fact, you might say he was a master at matrimony and an even greater deviser of divorce.

First married to his brother’s widow, the Spanish Katherine, Hal lived peaceably in married bliss (for him anyway) for about 18 years and was considered quite the devoted husband since he had only had two or three mistresses during that time. Things might have rolled along well, but Henry had two problems: First, he had no son to be king after him and two, he took a strong fancy to his wife’s lady-in-waiting—Anne Boleynn.

Now, for all the men who have deserted their wives and failed to provide proper alimony or child support, consider the case of poor Katherine. She was forced to live in a falling down pile of stone, complete with rats and mildew. Her food had to be tasted by loyal servants to make sure she wasn’t “accidentally” poisoned…a fact which probably made it hard to hire “loyal” servants.

Anne Boleynn in her turn, failed to give Henry a son and her end was even worse than Katherine’s, because by then Henry knew how to chop to the heart of the matter, or in Anne’s case, the head. She was beheaded and Henry lost no time in marrying HER lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.

Had I been Jane, I’d have hired only ladies-in-waiting who were ugly or old, but it probably didn’t matter since Jane had the fortune to produce the long-awaited boy. She died in the process, which probably makes her the luckiest of Henry’s wives.

Not a man to be discouraged, Henry married wife number four, Anne of Cleves. He was betrothed without seeing the lady, whom he labeled “the Great Flanders Mare” on first sight. It is important to remember that by this time, old Henry was no Adonis himself and not the sweetest tempered of men, but it is said that on their wedding night, he was alarmed to be met with Anne’s hair on a tray, being carried out as he went in!

This marriage achieved the fastest divorce on record, since both husband and wife were eager to be released. Anne collected all she could in the divorce settlement and lived happily ever after without Henry, so you might say she was the happiest of his wives.

Henry, not to be discouraged, married another lady-in-waiting. In fact, his eighteen-year-old child bride, Katherine Howard, was a cousin to Anne Boleynn. She met the same fatal end, losing her head after Henry discovered she liked younger men than him.

Henry tried one more time, marrying Katherine Parr, a 30 year old widow who was already in love with someone else. It wasn’t wise to reject Henry as a suitor, however, so the reluctant bride married the old man.  Katherine was the most educated of Henry’s wives and for expressing her opinion (which conflicted with Henry’s) she almost lost her head. Henry did her the favor of dying before he could do it, which probably makes her even luckier than Jane Seymour.

Forgive this small history lesson, but with all the talk about equality between the sexes and feminist positions, I couldn’t help thinking of Henry and the women—all of them feminist in their own ways—who conducted their own form of gender wars with him. Hope you have better success in your own gender wars!

 

 

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Column, Humorous Column

It was that time again….

I knew it was time. It had been building up for weeks and soon I knew that there would be no more hiding it by shutting the door. Mostly because the door was not going to shut anymore. That’s right, you guessed it: it was time to clean the refrigerator again.

Time goes so quickly. It seems like I just cleaned the refrigerator and now here it is a year later and it needs it again. My least favorite chore in the house is this unappealing ritual which takes up time and effort and never leaves me with any sense of accomplishment.

Nonetheless, I resolutely began the process of going through the wilted lettuce, spoiled potato leftovers, and jars of mildewed tomatoes. Roy came in while I was deep in the refrigerator’s bowels, scraping something sticky off the wall and wondering  how it had managed to seep into the glass plating over the shelf.

“What are these bags?” he asked, pointing to two garbage bags, bulging on all sides.

“They are the results of my cleaning the refrigerator,” I announced proudly.

“You threw all of these things away?” he was shocked and slightly offended.

“Yes, I thought it was time for some of the things in this refrigerator,” I answered sarcastically. “Some of those items were mating with each other and adhering themselves to the refrigerator shelves. It was becoming a matter of national security.”

He was busy looking at what was in the bags. “I can see three juice bottles in there. Those were in the bottom of the fridge. What was wrong with them?”

“The cranberry juice had mold on the top and the apple juice was so old it had turned and not in a good way,” I blew the hair out of my face and started on whatever was crusted onto the vegetable drawers.

“And the prune juice?” he pressed.

“It expired the year Tracie graduated from high school and she’s been out of the house for ten years. I thought it was time to give it a decent burial. Don’t disturb the dead, dear, let it rest in peace in that garbage bag.”

Roy gave up and left me to chip the ice off the freezer trays on my own. I only stabbed myself three times before I finally gave up. I put everything back on the shelves, including the excessive number of packages of butter. Apparently, I have been buying boxes of butter and burying them in the wilds of the refrigerator. Then, I would buy another package. At present, I have enough butter to grace the toast of an entire medium-sized country.

I decided it was time to sit down with a cool drink of soda and maybe a piece of cheese. Except both of them had been out so long they were an unpleasantly warm temperature. So, I got a glass of tepid water, dragged the now dripping and drooling garbage bags out the front door and turned on an old episode of I Love Lucy.

Thank goodness that job is over for another year, I tell myself. Now I can get on with doing all the things that I think are more fun…like having a root canal on a tooth that doesn’t need it or skydiving with a faulty parachute. Have a great week everyone, and if your refrigerator needs cleaning—don’t call me!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humorous Column

Life is a skating rink…so let it slide!

 

Although I love watching people engaged in the sport of ice skating, I have never desired to be good at it. The only pair of ice skates I ever owned were given to me as a seven-year-old child and I never made it past the stage where my father held me upright, while I tried to force my ankles to push my feet and the ankles always retaliated by folding like a couple of damp towels!

Since I outgrew those skates, I have kept my feet on un-bladed ground and limited my winter activities to cursing the snow! That is not, unfortunately, the end of my association with ice. And living in a place like South Dakota, I have had more than my fair share of opportunities to tangle with ice.

So far, the score is: ice: 10, me: 0. Driving on ice has always been problematic, because the car has even less experience dealing with ice than I have. Only twice have I turned a complete cookie in the road and that little dent in the front lawn that Roy thinks was done by the dog…wasn’t done by the dog, so much as I misjudged the driveway one icy day and I was lucky I only made one dent! I’m still going to let the dog take the blame!bear_on_ice

That would be bad enough, but I don’t walk on ice any better than I drive on it. There was the fateful January when a freezing rain came down for about two hours, putting a layer of ice on my front steps about two inches thick. After I had crawled down three steps and slid down the rest, holding on to an equally icy banister, I spent the next two hours with a hammer. I only ruined three steps, but all that ice came off.

A broken wrist is probably the worst ice-related event I’ve had, and that was also gained by trying to walk down a set of icy steps. After those events, Roy installed an ice-resistant material on the steps and my days of sliding down them have diminished.

Not so the ice everywhere else. On a year like this, ice has been prevalent no matter where you go. I had to take the dog for a walk one night and it was her, running faster than she should have and me, taking it in baby steps, crawling along. I’d have made it, but when I called her back to me, she came flying up on the ice, had all four legs slip out from under her. She came skidding towards me like a large, furry battering  ram and I took two hasty steps back before my legs slipped out from under me and we landed together in an awkward heap on the edge of the driveway.

I could live with all of this, but it seems that the mean streets of Aberdeen are out to get me this winter. Roy likes to go to the college basketball games and we usually get there late. That means parking in the dark some distance from the stadium.

On the first occasion, I dropped him off and went to do some shopping. I came back, parked and hurried towards the building. When my feet went out from under me, I hovered in the air and then came down on the one part of me that always provides padding. Nothing truly damaged but my dignity and since no one saw me, it wasn’t too bad.

On the second occasion, Roy and I parked and headed towards the building together. We were walking on the sidewalk side-by-side and suddenly, he was continuing to walk on dry pavement and I was skidding for my life on the ice on my side. Roy made a grab for me and that stopped me…from skidding. The only thing left to do, then, was fall and I did it..on my knee. You know that old saying about “big girls don’t cry?” Well, they do when they land on their knees on the ice.

The latest incident came just this weekend. The game was over and Roy said, “Let me go get the car.” Offended, I insisted I could walk…I was wrong. I made it all the way to the car and got the door open. Without warning, my feet found the only ice for a block around and slid, down and under the car. I was impressed; I didn’t think I could fit under the car, but there I was!

Anyway, this is the end of my story of icy frolics. I hope the rest of you are having better luck and that my luck doesn’t get any worse! Happy winter!

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humorous Column