I love women. Okay, there it is, right out in the open. I love women. Who can say when this love affair started? I honestly don't know.
Maybe it was Francis. Francis was that drop dead gorgeous babysitter my parents hired for my brother. Somehow they didn't think I was capable of taking care of my brother when I was twelve. He was five then. So, they hired Francis to babysit my brother. And I would watch Francis babysit my brother. And after she put my brother to bed I would watch Francis watching television. Did I mention Francis was drop dead gorgeous?
We moved from the town where Francis babysat my brother. When we moved I'd grown beyond my childish ways. Maybe the reason I love women has something to do with Kay. Kay lived up the street from me in the new town to which we moved. Kay was something else. Kay taught me the joys of swapping spit.
I'm going to detour from this history of my progression through the various stages of learning to appreciate women now. This blog carries a PG-13 rating. I'll just give you a quick snapshot. That snapshot acknowledges the obvious fact that the men and women of my generation are much better lovers than the generations that followed us. We were more practiced, more attentive, never in a hurry. We certainly should be. We spent ten years in foreplay.
It was the Women In the World Summit 2012, just recently ended, that prompted my journey back in time remembering, as Willie, said, “all the girls I've loved before.” Things have really changed since those days when Kay and I were coming of age. Women have truly come a long way.
I was fortunate to grow up in the family I did. In an age when women were perceived as mere appendages of their husbands, the women in my family actually ran the show. I don't think I realized that until I was in my thirties. I'm sure my late realization was a direct result of those women's unique ability to let the men in the family think they were in charge.
Mama, my grandmother, had a fourth grade education. When my grandfather died she carried on for thirty plus years, teaching us lessons we never learned in the universities we attended. My great aunt, Mama's sister, when her husband died kept the auto garage he owned, the largest in Atlanta, running with even more success than he enjoyed. Looking back on it I can't help but wonder how many city blocks of downtown Atlanta my aunt owned.
And then there was my mother. Mother's birthday was last week. I have to admit I didn't realize what day it was until I read the acknowledgment on my brother's Facebook page. (But, then again, Mother always did love him best.) [:-), brother]
My mother was a child of the 1920s, and I have no doubt that she and my Aunt Virginia danced until the dawn at the dance clubs of Atlanta. She was a beauty. She was confident. And she had this view of life, far ahead of her day, that gender should be no impediment to whatever one wanted to accomplish. Mother should have had daughters to offset the troubles my brother and I caused. Mother was to be respected. No, let me rephrase that: Mother demanded respect. My mother had no hesitation of engaging in a wrestling match, a real wrestling match, with any adolescent male ignorant enough to think she wouldn't whip his ass in front of his onlooking peers.
The Women in the World Summit, as I said, got me thinking about those genteel Southern ladies who shaped me. The women who are their children have excelled, one was in the first class of ordained women in the Church of England, and one a successful businesswoman. As for my brother and me, we were feminist long before someone trotted out the word.
It was a joy to see that parade of twenty-first century women speaking and being interviewed at the summit. It gives hope for the world. I can attest from personal experience that we're all better when we're nurtured and inspired by strong, liberated women.
I got a hint that the strong woman will continue in the next generation of our family the other day. I asked my granddaughter if her boyfriend was going to be at a family function. “That won't happen,” she told me. I asked her why. “Look,” she said, “I'm a fourteen year-old woman; harmones are raging in my body; I have enough dealing with my moods. I don't have the energy to deal with some male's moodiness.”
So here's the end of this rambling remembrance of strong women and my affirmation that we'll be better still as humans when women are finally treated as equals in every aspect of life.
Thanks Mother; thanks Mama; thanks Aunt Virginia. And watch out world, my granddaughters are headed your way!