Fred’s last letter

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2005

Dear Friends: It is important for men to remember that as women grow older it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as they did when they were younger. When men notice this, they should try not to yell. Let me relate how I handle the situation.

When I got laid off from my consulting job and took &uot;early retirement&uot; in April, it became necessary for Nancy to get a full-time job, both for extra income and for health benefits that we need.

It was shortly after she started working that I noticed that she was beginning to show her age.


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I usually get home from fishing or hunting about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says that she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts supper.

I try not to yell, instead I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she finally does get supper on the table.

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. It is now not unusual for them to remain on the table for several hours after supper.

I do what I can by reminding her several times each evening that they aren’t cleaning themselves. I know she appreciates this, as it does seem to help her get them done before she goes to bed.

Now that she is older she seems to get tired so much more quickly.

Our washer and dryer are in the basement. Sometimes she says she just can’t make another trip down those steps. I don’t make a big issue of this.

As long as she finishes up the laundry the next evening I am willing to overlook it.

Not only that, but unless I need something ironed to wear to the Monday lodge meeting or to Wednesday’s or Saturday’s poker club or to Tuesday’s or Thursday’s bowling or something like that, I will tell her to wait until the next evening to do the ironing. This gives her a little more time to do some of those odds and ends things like shampooing the dog, vacuuming or dusting.

Also, if I have had really good day fishing, this allows her to clean the fish at a more leisurely pace.

Nancy is starting to complain occasionally. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour.

In spite of her complaining, I continue to try to offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won’t have to rush so much.

I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn’t hurt her any, if you know what I mean.

When doing simple jobs she seems to think she needs more rest periods.

She had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard.

I try not to embarrass her when she needs these little extra rest breaks. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. I tell her that as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me and take her break by the hammock so she can talk with me until I fall asleep.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Nancy on a daily basis. I’m not saying that the ability to show this much consideration is easy.

Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible. No one knows better than I do how frustrating women can become, as they get older. However, guys, even if you just yell at your wife a little less often because of this article, I will consider that writing it was worthwhile.

Signed, Fred

Fred’s funeral was on Jan. 25. Nancy was acquitted Jan. 27.

Fred’s attitude toward his wife seems very much like how many see the city fathers’ attitude toward citizens living outside the less and less significant downtown area (relative to the whole of Suffolk). OK, so downtown is to be the jewel in the navel of Suffolk. The high volume of real estate tax in-flow is very good for the city managers, and the council’s wish list. But unlike Fred, who is merely ignorant, they know they are pushing many toward &uot;genteel poverty.&uot; It clearly reflects upon management when city governments and school systems depend upon bloated assessments to pay the bills. Yet our council remains blissfully unaware of the fix we could be in, and too many citizens complain only to themselves. It’s called control and citizens have lost it, or never had it.

n n n

During World War II my Combat Engineer outfit constructed miles of road across swampy Rhine River dikes and three bridges spanning the swift current, each of them longer than the Kings Highway Bridge. We did it all in 57 hours while under constant artillery fire, bombing, and strafing. The American Ninth Army and parts of the British 2nd armored then crossed it. What’s the big deal about needing millions to replace the one that’s just been condemned? As old as we are I could still get the remaining boys together and build at least one in a day or two…easy with no one shooting at us.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at