Monday, August 24, 2015

Ginger, Mary Ann, or Annie Savoy?

Dear John,
 
On the way home from work today I heard The Year of the Cat. Of course, it always reminds me of our last year of college. But today it knocked something else loose in my head. So I've been thinking about an inner struggle I had that I never told you about.
 
I'm clearly Mary Ann and not Ginger, and I'm glad. But there were times I wanted to be, as Annie Savoy said in Bull Durham, exotic and mysterious. When I listen to songs like The Year of the Cat, or Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, or anything by Stevie Nicks, I feel inadequate. I'm about as exotic and mysterious as a gingham apron. And I know that you like me that way. But there's still this little voice in my head telling me that I'm less than I should be.
 
I've always ignored that voice, first, because, as Popeye the Sailor said, I am what I am and that's all that I am; second, because you didn't want Ginger or Annie Savoy, you wanted Mary Ann. You wanted a woman who could hold an intelligent conversation on theology and then go and plumb the kitchen sink, who you could trust with a credit card,  and who knew what to do with a bushel of green beans. Your favorite lingerie was long flannel nightgowns - that says it all.
 
Bless you, you wanted just what I am. I didn't have to change for you, and I never wanted you to change. So I'll listen to those songs and know that you love me just like I am. Exotic, mysterious women make good songs, but they probably make lousy wives. I tried to be a good wife, and I know that you thought I was. I could have been better. But I made you happy, and that is what matters. I'm gingham and flannel, and I'm glad.
 
Thank you for wanting what I am. Thank you for being what I want. I like the symmetry.
 
Love you so much,
Joan.

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