The Soupster thinks about matriarchs.
Musing on an evening stroll, the Soupster considered several of Our Town’s matriarchs — women who used an alchemy of creativity, smarts and grit to hold their extended families together and nudge or shoulder their brood toward success.
Some of these women looked bent from the weight of their responsibilities. But others seemed to thrive on their influence and importance – exuding, if not youth, a strong vitality.
Our Town’s patriarchs tended to get more attention, the Soupster mused again. Meanwhile, the matriarchs did their work while being paid 80 cents to the dollar. Surely, a more noteworthy achievement?
Strolling by the post office, the Soupster thought of the female postmasters who kept open this vital artery to the Lower 48. He passed by the former site of his former favorite breakfast place, where the griddle person, waitress and owner had all been women.
Then, he remembered the wives and daughters of men who passed away at the helm of the family business. These women had to learn very quickly to be the boss. Women who had no idea they would become bookkeepers or property managers. No idea they would raise rabbits or pilot boats.
Sometimes these women, when still only girls – were the ones in their families to step up to the plate, if their parents became infirm or unreliable. How many schoolgirls hurry home after classes every day to care for their younger siblings? No sports teams or student council for them.
Younger siblings can be a joy, but they are adult responsibilities. And maybe raising children is not an appropriate job for a girl at a time of life when she might need to be a bit selfish. Good training for a future matriarch, however, the Soupster mused yet again.
Then, Mack the Rogue — a local lothario — turned the corner. Mack knew the Soupster and was happy to drop the lothario act when the two men were together. For one thing, Mack stopped using his fingers to twirl the ends of his mustache.
“Soupster! Big Buddy!” Mack practically shouted, going full bore into Monster Truck racing mode. “When is it going to stop raining?”
“Stop?” the Soupster called back. “The rain hasn’t even started yet. It’s practically still summer.”
“Say, Mack,” he continued, a little quieter, “you know any matriarchs? I was just musing about matriarchs.”
“My mother was a matriarch,” Mack said, quieter still. “She had three younger brothers and she kept them all in line.”
“We need both the patriarchs and the matriarchs,” the Soupster said. “We need all the help we can get to hold things together.”
“That’s why Hillary Clinton running for president is definitely a good thing,” Mack the Rogue said. “Like her or hate her, the presidential candidates should get better from this point on, because we doubled the pool of people who are able to run.”
“Right on, Rogue,” said the Soupster. “Right on.”