A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, "You should do it because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee. The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee." Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee." Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me." So she fetched the Bible,and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says ... HEBREWS.
I didn't write that, y'all. I don't know who did, I just got it this morning via email from another of my sweet college roommates with whom I'm fortunate enough to still keep in touch on a semi-regular basis.
Hi Whit! (She reads the ol' blog from time to time.)
You know who I thought of when I first read that little joke, though? My brother-in-law, Jerry. My sister Jackie has been married to Jerry for sixteen-point-something years. Together, they've produced five incredibly beautiful, smart and sweet kids ranging from almost-12-years down to almost-18-months old, the elder several of whom my sister homeschools. As you can imagine, Jackie's a ridiculously busy SAHM (who is generally not actually 'AH' all that much anymore with 4 of the 5 kids involved in sports, music and art classes in addition to their schooling at home - in fact she's probably more of a SITVM - Stay-in-the-Van-Mom - than anything).
My brother-in-law travels extensively for his work. In fact, traveling IS his work, so he's gone many days each month, but when he's home (and even on the mornings he leaves at o-dark-hundred to hop on the next plane), Jerry brews the coffee for the household. And countless times I've even seen him pour Jackie a cup and take it upstairs to her in the morning.
She's never been much of a morning person, my sister. Jerry gets that.
As simple a gesture as pouring water, grinding beans and flipping a switch may seem, Jerry's daily coffee prep symbolizes to me (and granted, we're talking about a woman who can illicit deep meaning from the pattern her hair makes in the shower drain) my brother-in-law's understanding and acceptance of and willingness to serve the unique needs of his wife.
I wonder when he brought her coffee the first time. I wonder if they ever talk or think about this ritual and the meaning it conveys to other people about their life together? Will my nieces and nephews remember Dad bringing Mom her coffee? When my parents visit my sister's family, do they notice it? How does Jerry's tiny gesture play out in the lives of all the people who've witnessed it over the years?
As for me, anyway, I'm pretty sure neither of them knows I held this small detail of their marriage up as a symbolic example (internally, I mean) for my potential mate during the years I was single and tentatively searching for one (although for most of the time I was convinced I didn't want to find him), and now in my marriage to Al I look at it as an example for myself of service to my good-hearted, selfless (and hard to serve because he's always serving, much like my sister!) husband.
Well, they know now, I guess, and maybe now they'll also understand why I almost always send them a bag of special coffee at Christmastime.
(Incidentally, Al brought me coffee one cold morning after we'd first made the decision to date. Just brought coffee, out of the blue, from 35 miles away. He showed up at my doorstep with a cup of coffee and no expectations, just this sweet, loving smile on his beautiful face. And he handed that small but symbolically HUGE cup to me, and darn it, my resolve to stay single and free and ... safe ... crumbled a little.)
Thanks to our schedule around here and the automatic timer on our pot, I usually make the coffee in our household. But every once in awhile, when I least expect it, Al arrives unprompted at my bedside bearing a little of that Morning Nectar. And when he does, I thank him... really, really, thank him, and then I snuggle a little further down into my pillows, take a sip, and offer up a silent toast.
To Jerry! Long may he brew.
Who makes the coffee at your house? What are the seemingly tiny ways in which you and your spouse or significant other serve one another every day and what do they mean to you?