Different Strokes for Different Folks

Published 12:10 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

By Jan Penton-Miller

Does anyone like to wait? If so, I can’t relate to it because I’ve always wanted things done yesterday! My hubby, on the other hand, is a methodical person. I want to hurry things up, and he is totally fine with thinking things through for what seems like forever to me. I guess we balance each other out, so maybe that was part of the plan of putting us together.

Mike has never understood why I don’t change shoes and clothes for working in the yard or flowerbeds. He has special shoes and clothes for yard work, but I finish the job sometimes while he is changing into his yard ensemble. My thought is to throw those clothes and tennis shoes into the washer and get on to the next thing.

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I guess he does have a point. I may have 3 or 4 pairs of shoes by the back door waiting for me to clean them up while they are neatly arranged in the closet according to use and or color. Mike usually winds up cleaning my shoes for me while I’m off on my next project. While those differences could be a bone of contention when we see each other through the eyes of love, we appreciate the unique qualities that make us who we are.

Mike grew up in Columbus, MS, on First Street, surrounded by antebellum mansions. He is an only child and is absolutely the apple of his mother’s eye. His dad and mom met on the Columbus Air Force Base, where they both worked. Mike’s mom was a beauty, and when a dashingly handsome pilot caught her eye, that northern fellow quickly made Mississippi his home.

When Mike was a child, he and his friends found an open window and made one of the grander mansions into their playhouse. They uncovered a huge harp and plunked out tunes as the others sang along; they slid down the banisters and just poked around in general. The owners lived in another state and never knew, I suppose, that the First Street boys had made a clubhouse, of sorts, of their mansion. The kids were careful to put everything back as they found it, but I always thought that must have been a little daring and fun.

I grew up as one of six children running and playing and getting dirty. My grandparent’s farm was my favorite playhouse, and many times my siblings, cousins, and I were out until the lightning bugs lit up the evening sky discovering the great outdoors. Dirt, sweat, and stickers accompanied many of our adventures because, most often, we were running barefoot, and our feet were tough as nails.

With such opposite backgrounds, it’s no wonder that we look at some things quite differently. Many times, even now, I run around the yard barefoot and have to wash my feet with the water hose before coming inside for a rest or a drink. Mike just shakes his head and smiles.