Dad and I were standing in the checkout line at King’s Department Store. I was about ten years old. I don’t recall what we were getting, probably motor oil or brake fluid; Dad didn’t shop for anything that didn’t blend well with testosterone. A man got in the line behind us who had at one time been a neighbor of Mom’s and Dad’s.
Dad asked about his wife only to be told they had divorced. He asked about Mom and how many children they had. Dad said Mom was doing well and added, “We had four kids … before we figured out what was causing it.”
The man laughed and asked how they kept their marriage together so long. Dad recounted the story of their success. “When Ernestine and I got married we agreed that I would make all of the big decisions and she would make the little ones. It wasn’t long before we had to make a decision and it dawned on us that someone had to decide whether something was a little or a big decision. We talked about it and Ernestine said ‘That’s easy. Those are little decisions; I’ll make them.’ You know we haven’t had a big decision yet and we haven’t any problems.”
I don’t know exactly how they made their decisions. I know we had a lot of family conferences to talk about the big decisions. They asked for our input about cars and farm projects and other big items. But they then talked alone and made the decision. I am thankful they involved us and seemed to want to know what we thought. I am also thankful they never seemed divided once the decision was made.
May 10, 2010