Friday, November 12, 2010


Back when I was working, pre-retirement, I sometimes ate lunch in the teachers’ lounge at the small college where I taught.

It was always a crap shoot as far as who my tablemates would be. Sometimes I ate fast to escape the carping of a fellow teacher who just wanted an audience for his or her bellyaching. Sometimes just the right combination of people were at the table so it seemed more like a party than a 20-minute cram-the-food-in-your-face-and-run lunch session.

But occasionally, when the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, I’d be lucky enough to be at the same table as Myron, an art teacher at the college. He was a quiet, soft-spoken man of incredible talent—an effective, respected teacher. And a wonderful lunch-table companion. I’d always feel like a more enlightened person after I ate lunch with him.

I remember one conversation in particular. It was years ago by now—years. But I still remember what he said. Somehow the conversation had turned to the subject of marriage.

“When I come home,” Myron said in his thoughtful, quiet voice, “I feel like I’ve entered a haven. My wife makes my home a haven.”

I don’t remember what I replied. Knowing me, it was probably something inappropriate like, “Well, my goal is to make my husband’s home a hell-hole.” Whatever I said in response is immaterial. All I know is that word ‘haven’ has stuck with me all these years.

Haven. A harbor, a place where ships may shelter from the weather. A sanctuary, a place of safety.


I think about that conversation every time Tom walks through the door and I shriek like a fishwife, “The dryer smells like burning wires!” instead of “Welcome home, my darling.” Or if I warn, “Don’t track on the floor—I just washed it,” instead of “I’m so glad you’re home, sweet love of my life.”

‘The dryer smells funny?!?’ ‘Don’t track on the floor?!?’ Ye gads, not something a Haven-Creator would say.

So Myron’s wife inadvertently set the marital bar high for me, even though I rarely measure up. And I'm not being modest; I rarely measure up. But I can’t think of any compliment greater for a spouse than to have a partner sit at a lunchroom table of co-workers and quietly use the word ‘haven’ when describing ‘home.’


bd said...

Sounds lovely. Thanks for the reminder of what we homemakers strive for-but alas, I think it is in my genes to worry about the funny smell and blurt that out first.

Elaine said...

Oh, dear! Now I feel sorry for my husband. This ain't no haven! And I am the loudest one in the door, dropping things here and there, demanding food, inquiring after deliveries and service calls, etc. Myron's wife is a saint!

2to4aday said...

Tonight I came right out and asked Tom, "Do you think of this house as a haven?"

"A what?" he asked. We're both a little deaf.

"A haven," I repeated.

"Sure," he said.

Not exactly a Myron testimonial, but I'll take it.

Anonymous said...

Is a haven made by one or two? Does one get what one gives? Although this makes us all ponder what do we bring to the table---- Thanks for opening our eyes and thoughts to making our lives a better place for all to live.