Monday, April 02, 2007

Time Zones and Other Marital Challenges

It should come as no surprise at all to any married person reading this that the families we were raised in often bring unanticipated challenges to the marriage.
For instance, Mary, a friend of mine, tells the story of how she, as a newlywed, told her husband one morning, “I think I’ll make goulash for supper tonight.” He thought that sounded good, he allowed as to how he liked goulash. So Mary made a batch of goulash that she pronounced every bit as good as her own mother’s. When she and her groom sat down to eat that evening, he beheld his plate and a look of thinly veiled disgust flashed across his face and he said, “What is THIS?!”
Mary, who thought she had made a darn good supper for him, said, “Well, what did goulash look like at your house?” And that question became their I.D. tag anytime they were confronted by familial differences. It’s served them well; I think they’ve been married for over 40 years.
In my paternal family, my siblings and I are dedicated to being on time. And by on time, I mean, I feel like I’m late if I don’t arrive at least 5 minutes early. I think it is an inherited trait, because of what I observed when we hosted our first big semi-annual family reunion for the Descendants of Joel and Almina Gatewood. It was to be potluck at noon. At 11:45 cars filled with Gatewood descendants (I think the final tally was over a hundred attended) began to pull in. By 12:15, everyone who was coming had arrived, the food was set out and we were all in line filling our plates. Now observe my husband’s side of the family: the Carson picnic is held on the same Sunday every year, set for potluck at noon. I think most of them don’t even leave home until 12:30. In 30 years, I’ve never known them to start the food line any earlier than 1:30. I don’t intend this to be a complaint, it just illustrates that each of these families has its own Time Zone. I’ll bet there’s an allele for it in our DNA.
Somehow, it all gets sorted out and husbands and wives tend to find a middle ground somewhere in the midst of all their differences. Our children grow up in this middle ground and take their own preferences and traditions out into the world, where they will undoubtedly clash with some else’s.
So what did goulash look like at your house?

8 comments:

Brooke said...

I am always late to that picnic but I work until 1 on Sundays and i have a 45 minute drive on top of that.

Janell said...

Working Girls are always given special dispensation when it comes to punctuality!

Brooke said...

I have learned to get food on the way because by the time I get there its all gone.

LaDawn said...

I am like you: on time (5 minutes early) everywhere I go. In England it is a national past time to be late. It drives me crazy. I have parties that start at 7 pm and no one turns up until 8 pm. My husband will be late for his own funeral.

The fried chicken at the Carson Family picnic is all the incentive I need to get there early and now that Marc has sampled it he might just arrive on time if we ever get to that side of the Atlantic at the right time of year. I reckon he'd swim for that! And be on time!

Janell said...

If you don't get here in July, I know a place we can go to for fried chicken to rival the Carson's!

Brooke said...

where is that?

Stephanie said...

I have inherited the Carson late gene. Time is relatively relative. A little tongue in cheek. Is sense of humor inherited? I hope so or none of you will get my humor.

I think we will be at the reunion this year. By the way Janell, are you going to be putting together a new edition of the Carson Family Cookbook? I use the previous 2 all the time. If I can help you at all, let me know.

slw

Janell said...

Stephanie - yes, I'd be willing to put another edition of the cookbook together. I've used mine a lot, too. I'll try to get a postcard made up to send out requesting recipes and stories. I think Jeanette will have a fairly up to date list of addresses. As soon as I get a plan, I'll email you.