In our village, we only have the one pub, which is run by Dan and his wife, who is affectionately known as Our Mary. There used to be many pubs in our village, but the times being what they are, we’re down to just the one, which is aptly called “Home away from home”. What with the exceptionally high unemployment figures in our region, more than half the adult males spend more time there, than they do with their families.
Thus anything affecting Our Mary indirectly affects the whole village. It is a sad but true fact, that Our May is grouchy in the extreme, when she is on her P.M.S. or some such feminine mystery. It would therefore not be uncommon for a man to come home in a foul mood and have his wife comment: “Oh, it’s that time of the month again is it?”
Yes, our village life functions in mysterious ways at times. The wife and myself have five children, one of whom is called Mary. But if the missus were to inquire about the well-being of our Mary, I would have to ring the pub to find out what the latest news about her was, as our daughter is simply referred to as Mary. Let me point out, that our family is not the only one where this principle applies.
My little Mary is a wonderful child, but somehow she doesn’t seem to get her fair share of attention from us. Whether that is, because the others are more energetic or just needier, I could not tell you. I try to stay on top of this issue, but I must admit that I fail at times. Don’t for a minute think that there is anything wrong with the girl! I believe that she is being more considerate than her siblings, even if she looses out because of it, which makes her even more special in my eyes.
One evening, as I made an inconsequential remark about Our Mary, I detected a wistful look in my darling Mary’s eyes. I noticed this, because when it comes to my loved ones, my emotional radar is always working full blast. I decided to redress this situation. Come ten p.m., bedtime for all our gang, regardless of their ages, I beckoned her over. She was a bit unsure, because this was an unusual occurrence.
As any parent can tell you, it takes about an additional hour after the announcement of bedtime, for your offspring to really settle down. So you have to be strict, if you want to get any sleep yourself. My Mary settled on my lap and looked up at me with a quizzical look on her angelic face.
Before I go on, I should point out that my sofa has its back facing the kitchen, where my spouse was holding an impromptu jam session, involving assorted pots and pans, which was basically a signal that yours truly should come and join her and get on with his kitchen duties. That would have to wait, for this was important!
Furthermore, as any married man can and will attest to, any married lady anywhere in the world, seems to have developed super-duper senses, when it comes to keeping track of what her hubby is up to. I did not entertain even a shadow of a doubt, that my one and only would hear every syllable of what transpired and this between each and every cling and clang of her rhythm section. Having firmly established this incontrovertible truth, I can now get on with the rest of my story.
I whispered in my daughter’s ear: “Honey, I’m going to tell you a little secret. This will be between you, me and the telly! OK?” She nodded eagerly. “Do you know, why I don’t call you “Our Mary”? She shook her head uncertainly.
“That is because somewhere along the line, I stopped thinking of you as Mary. Now, don’t get me wrong, Mary is your name, which Mummy and I gave to you when you were born and you will always, for as long as you live, be our daughter Mary, whom we both love to bits.
But somewhere along the line, I started to think of you as “My Little Kitten”, because you do so love to curl up on my lap, with your curly head against my heart and sigh in contentment. There were times when I thought, I could almost hear you purr. And that’s why I think of you as Daddy’s Little Kitten! Make sure you don’t tell anyone, you hear!” She had a delighted grin on her pretty face, when she fairly skipped up the stairs, to go to bed.
Next, my wife, the mother of my children, which makes her kind of sacred to me in my mind, came and hugged my tight and whispered in turn: “Hon, I just fell in love with you all over again! Now come and dry them dishes!”
Now you, reader, please tell me: without love, would life have any meaning?