Proverbs 31

After a month in Montana helping my daughter 24/7 with her new baby, I felt a bit undone back at home. I never expected to wonder what to do with myself. Such is the life of a recent retiree.

When I mentioned my unsettled feelings to my husband, George, he said, “Have a seat. Let’s talk about it.” I sat in my usual spot on the couch, with him relaxed in his recliner across the room. He turned to Proverbs 31 in his Bible and began reading to me about the wife of noble character, the workaholic woman who works with wool and flax, prepares food for her family, buys a field with her earnings and plants a vineyard. She spins, weaves, trades, and feeds the poor, all while her husband sits with the elders at the city gate. I’ve read this passage many times before, but this was my first to realize….

“She’s the one doing all the work! Her husband is worthless!”

“He’s doing elderly things at the gate,” George said, and continued reading, concluding with, “…and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

“See,” he said, “he’s talking about her with the elders, praising her.”

“Big whoop,” I said. “That doesn’t count for much when he’s not helping with the work.”

“The discussions by the elders is their work,” George said. “And, it’s important work. Think about the old men we saw at Donna’s Diner. They were doing lots of thinking and talking about important issues.”

Let me explain Donna’s Diner. We were driving cross-country on our return trip from Montana, and found few dining choices in Moorcroft, Wyoming. (I guess we shouldn’t have expected much in a place with a population of one thousand.) There were a few bars, but we opted for lunch at Donna’s Diner II, touted for being the place where the locals eat. Their write-up on the Chamber of Commerce website mentioned special meals and pricing for senior citizens. And that’s about all we found inside. Old men. Most appeared to have long finished their meals; they were just sitting and talking…about the presidential election, local ranchers, the weather, the fly on the wall. Important stuff.

Two of them got up to leave and as they were walking out the door, one of the men inside yelled, “I have a question for you!” Too late. They didn’t hear and walked on out. So the man asking the question looked at everyone else and said, “Open forum: What do you add to Metamucil to make it taste better?”

Now there was an unexpected lunchtime query.

The questioner went on to say that it tasted to him like a dirty shirt. Yum. I was really working up an appetite for lunch while the other diners bandied ideas back and forth, ranging from orange juice to Jim Beam. No consensus was reached.

Big decisions being made by the elders at Donna’s.

After we finished eating and were back in the car, I asked, “Where do you suppose their wives were?”

“Probably at home doing crossword puzzles and eating M&M’s,” George said.

Hmmm…not typical Proverbs 31 women. Which must be why I didn’t hear a single word of praise about any of them at the gates…I mean, diner.

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