The man who resented magnolias stopped raking and looked at the tree as if he had just woken up, then looked at me, laughed and said, “My wife was the one who had to have this house.” He is no longer part of the household. I don’t think his wife’s lack of awareness for her ex-husband’s aversion to magnolias contributed to the divorce, but it might represent a general trend.
After I had written my post yesterday, a friend and I exchanged emails about an acquaintance we have in common who just announced her engagement. We, the dowagers, do not know the fiancé well. We do know his feelings seem more important in the relationship than hers, here in the courtship phase, when he is supposedly on his best behavior. (Just ask Mrs. Camellia why she figures that, Honey, she will count the ways.) The acquaintance is smart and beautiful. She thinks she loves him. Maybe she thinks love means patiently waiting for him to take her into consideration. We know the bride-to-be's family, and it would appear this young woman is tumbling along the lines of family fractals. While we hope the stars in Cinderella’s eyes aren’t blinding her, my friend wrote me, “I guess we do what we have learned at home. At least there won't be surprises. For the observers, anyway.”
Yesterday I came home from having my hair cut with a new bit of gossip. “Did you hear Skeet and Lola are getting a divorce?” I asked my husband. They both work in my husband’s place of business, and maybe ten years ago Skeet left his wife and children to take up with Lola. “Oh, yeah,” my husband said, “Skeet’s walking around like he doesn’t know what hit him.” “He wasn’t expecting this divorce? What happened,” I asked. “The women at work, they all take Lola’s side. They said he was gone too much, and Lola got tired of him hunting while she sat around waiting for him to come in out of the woods.” Where we live, hunters start hunting as kids and never quit. Nobody could marry a man who hunts and have any doubts where he would be during hunting season. My husband, who doesn’t even read my blogs, added, “Tell me she didn’t see that magnolia before she moved him in.”
So many of us can’t see the trees because of the enchanted forest, but that tree we’re pretending isn’t really there or it doesn’t bother us so much? --it’s a magnolia. If we can't stand magnolias, the stardust will always turn to grit. And we're going to think it's somebody else's fault.