Shimmering golden seas spanned the globe. The last of the afternoon’s sunshine spilled through the nearby window, highlighting the globe slightly, understatedly. My eye was drawn to it repeatedly. A story certainly accompanied it. It occupied a space in a home packed to the brim with such items, each clearly given floor space because of rich memories: Balinese doors from a family home of decades past, walls of wooden African musical instruments, prestigious community awards stacked many frames deep against the baseboards and mountains of travel books earmarked and filled with scraps of notes protruding from their borders. It was a home filled with mementos of many adventures. One would spend days exploring and still miss something.
This visit I picked the globe, with ruby red crystals dotting countries, to ask my hostess about.
“Our kids gave it to us for our 50th anniversary. The rubies mark each of the countries we’ve visited,” she explained as she gently spun it counter clockwise “Oh! There are a lot of countries we’ve visited since then,” she exclaimed.
Add the task to a very ambitious to-do list!
I was the guest of a woman who graduated from a Chicago law school in the mid-40’s – 1940s. Though in love, she at first resisted moving to Oklahoma. “I wasn’t sure I could live in a segregated community,” said the Chicago native. Her two female classmates in law school – both young African American women.
Her Tulsa bred suitor cleverly proposed with a challenge. “Marry me and change it!”
It was a marriage that would launch a lifetime of marvel and incredible contributions. And the globetrotting hasn’t begun to stop!
Each person has a story. Most yearn to be told. Each deserves a limelight. Without such tales I wouldn’t have a job or cocktail conversation.
This afternoon I passed the magazine rack at Safeway. My eye fell on Fast Company.
Cover story: EXTRAORINDARY WOMEN.
I wish these articles had been written in the 80’s when I had a bit longer runway ahead of me and could have been inspired by the sisterhood instead of momentarily discounting my less extraordinary accomplishments.
How, I wonder, do male readers respond? Do they think, “Ah, my equal at last!” or “I’ve done more, where is the story about me?” or “Great. Another ball buster.”
All this thought took a fast moment, mind you. I had gone to pick up bathroom tissue and was quickly on to comparing carrying an economy pack through the streets of Portland to exiting a drug store in Tulsa in the 80’s with boxes of tampons. With all my powers of observation I have never (thankfully) seen a fellow buying condoms, hair growing tonic or… fill in the blanks, as you most likely know more than me.
When I lug 6 bottles of wine home in a carrier, I build semi-athletic looking arms and most everyone strikes up a conversation: “Where’s the party?” “Your evening looks more promising than mine.”
Carry a 30-pound bag of dog food several blocks and you get smiles all along the way, but bathroom tissue… nothing but silence and averted eyes. Still I buy the economy pack. The JUMBO one that fits in no brown bag yet made.
Last time I made such a purchase, Pepperidge Farm cookies were on sale. Now that’s a backbone-building combo when one unexpectedly walks home from Safeway with a handsome, younger male neighbor. Of course I didn’t think to look in his shopping bag. Wonder what I would have found if I wasn’t being so typically self-conscious.