The matter of a dowry, old-fashioned as it is, has come up for discussion several times within our family in the last few years. The first time was when Gill, expiring British visa in hand and no job in sight, was scheming to find a way to stay in the UK after she got her PhD. Someone (not me, I swear) proposed the idea of marriage as the answer to her problem. Having been through one husband and twenty years of less than marital bliss, I would only suggest such a ploy in dire circumstances. As I discovered, it’s much easier to get into wedlock than extricate oneself from it.
But Gill did somewhat seriously consider it. Reality came up a bit short. Although she is a delightful, funny, intelligent person, she also can be belligerent and forceful about stating her opinions. And her sense of humor borders on the black, great for some but not everyone’s cup of tea. Well, you might say, how about offering a dowry to some nice young man? Well, she comes with arthritis that will fuse her spine and Crohn’s that could mean (but we hope not) a colostomy bag. Then there’s the premature osteoporosis. The short bout of scurvy (a disease pretty mush eradicated centuries ago) barely merits mention. She has student loans, nary a goat or chicken to be seen and I refuse to give her the 24 mallard ducks that frequent my rooftop and yard for breakfast and dinner. So bribing someone (excuse me, offering a dowry) wasn’t a viable option.
Now Crazy D has moved in with his girlfriend and they are moving, in a month, to a new rental house together. Crazy D breezed through town today to show off his new car and pick up his mail.
I didn’t waste any time. “So when you move your stuff, are you taking your bed?” I asked hopefully. This is the huge teak king-sized sleigh bed that IS his room. You can barely move around it. It’s not that I want him to leave, but it’s time. The bed is holding me back.
“Oh, yes,” he said proudly. “That’s my dowry!” Of course it is…
“While we’re on the subject, would you be interested in a full set of lovely china? They were your Grandmother’s and it’s just sitting in boxes in the basement. Since you’ll have an actual house with actual storage room, it makes sense for you and Girlfriend to have and enjoy it.” I said this,realizing that Girlfriend had already confided she still had a set of china from her marriage. You can never have too many sets of china, I always say, one for everyday and one for special occasions. (Really what I’m saying is “Get this shit out of my basement!”) But I also want Crazy D to have something to remind him of his grandparents. Honestly I do…
I also anticipate that Crazy D will be taking his bike repair shop and work-related equipment from the basement. I will be relieved to have the basement back…I just hope the mice that call the basement home in the cold winter months don’t stage a sit-in when their hiding places amongst boxes and electrical chords, etc. are removed. Things could turn ugly.
Crazy D has been removing his stuff over the past few months in dribs and drabs. I suspect this will continue for some time. A pair of pants here, a tool there. I’m hoping there will be a mass exodus at one time with a large truck, but knowing Crazy D, I don’t get my hopes up. And we all know Crazy D is a bit forgetful and, dare I say, slightly disorganized. Why yesterday alone he made two trips here. He called after dark, when I was in bedtime mode, to ask if he could come over to get a card game that he needed to entertain their weekend guests.
“Do you know where the ‘Cards Against Humanity’ game is, Mom?”
I thought I might have an idea but wasn’t really wanting to get out of my lovely warm bed to go looking. “Hmm, I haven’t seen it in quite some time…”
“Uh, I hate to ask, but would you mind having a look?” came the timid request. “I know it’s a lot to ask, but…” I could just picture his sad, puppy dog eyes.
Up I leapt, going to the living room where I thought it might be. And it was.
“I found it,” I told him.
“Great! I’ll be there in an hour.” With that, he hung up and was on his way.
An hour later, I thought I heard his car pull in the driveway. I waited for the sound of the side door closing. Nothing. Then the phone rang. A long distance ring. I almost didn’t answer it since it was likely a telemarketer. But I did. “Hi Mom!” It was Crazy D.
“Where are you?” I asked, fearing he hadn’t left his place yet and would thus be keeping me up late waiting for his arrival.
“Uh, I’m at the door. I brought the wrong keys. Can you come down and let me in?”
“Of course you did…Be right down.”
I’m thinking that this latest move of his may be more disruptive to me and my schedule than when he was actually living here. Maybe Girlfriend can organize him. Although, after I give them the ‘dowry’ set of china they probably don’t need, she may not be thinking kindly of me.