Saints get all the credit. I should know: I live with one. My husband is a saint, and no, his name is not Bernard. I need milk for my coffee; he’ll go to the store for me. It’s during a blizzard? That’s okay; he’ll drive. The car won’t work? He’ll take the bike. The bike has a flat tire? He’ll walk. His shoes are missing? He’ll go barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways. You get the idea. And I get my milk.
But I would like a little credit for myself, folks. He may be a saint, but I am the saint maker. Where would he be today if I didn’t cry, moan, yell, slam cupboards, pout, and stop talking to him because he once again failed to read my mind. My thoughts (as you know) are very simple, so it shouldn’t be that hard.
No one realizes how creative a woman has to be to come up with new ways to try his patience. If I didn’t do this, he would get flabby and all the other saints would laugh at him and throw sand in his face. I am like a heavy weight he has to lift up everyday, the barbell that keeps him strong. You can call me Barbella, AKA the Saint Maker.
As much as I would like to take full credit for his saintliness, I won’t. Midwesterners are famous for their kindness and humility. My husband proved that by marrying someone from Texas, where even our anti-littering slogan is belligerent: Don’t mess with Texas. (Note to readers from Texas: Bless yer pea-picking hearts; y’all rock!)
It took me four years of living in Wisconsin to discover the source of their kindness. As sure as fish will fry on Fridays in every restaurant in the state, bratwurst will cook on barbecues throughout the summer. These are a cow’s or a pig’s “wurst” nightmare: German sausages made of chopped meat, usually grilled but sometimes pan-fried, and often poached in beer before the grilling. (Note to non-German speaking readers: “wurst” means sausage.)
Yes, all that kindness comes from German sausage, or brats, as they are affectionately called. You need to drop your jaw and make the vowel sound “ah” as in “father.” Otherwise, you’ll mistake them for those other people’s children that keep corrupting yours.
Here’s how it works. The small Midwestern child sits in the back of the car looking out the window. All school year he has been learning to read; now it is summer and his parents are taking him and his sisters to the park. He likes to read the signs, and the one-syllable words are the easiest. At the stoplight, he turns and looks at the familiar restaurant. They’ve put up tables and chairs outside, along with a large grill. A freshly painted sign hangs over it all: Brat Fry. The child’s jaw drops, but he is too afraid to say “Father, what does it mean?” He learned in school that “a” has the sound of “apple.” He is a little Newton, and the apple drops on his head, knocking some sense into it. No one needs to tell him again to be kind and stop acting like a brat.
Now you know.
30 thoughts on “In which I reveal the secret to Midwestern kindness”
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
That’s what makes me so dangerous. 🙂
Good husband, you have trained him well. teehee My husband is in need of a turne-up. Do you have rates on obedience classes?
I never knew mid-western children were so funny!
I like to take a little of the credit. If there were obedience classes, my husband would probably sign me up.
Started my morning with a great laugh. Thanks!
Glad it made you smile.
Very cute and I won’t deny that a bit of bratwurst does wonders for my attitude too. 🙂
Is the brat fry a big deal in Indiana as well? I hope the bratwurst has helped you behave.
My ex was a midwesterner from Illinois. Definitely didn’t go to the same school. Bummer!
Must have been a poor reader and pretty dumb if he let you go.
We have so much in common. Only my saint is from California so I get to take full credit. 🙂
Maybe we’re twins separated at birth in different years. It could happen, but only if you agree to appear more humble and not take all the credit for making your husband a saint. False humility is the first rule of saint makers.
I have never been to Wisconsin but it surely seems like a place to be at!
This was hilarious!
I completely agree with you that you are the saint maker! I always tell my boyfriend, people think he is nice because I have made him that way 😛
Wisconsin is a great place to live, and I would like it better if it weren’t so cold. About the saint making: it’s thankless work but we must be diligent.
My Hoosier husband is also a saint. I have not been taking credit for making him the man/saint he is. Although sometimes it is difficult to be married to someone so perfect. I am certain if we ever were to divorce there would be legions of people saying “I wondered how long he could put up with her crap…”
I suffer by comparison to my husband, but I feel it is my lifelong calling to bring him to perfection.
I have spent years of my life wondering what the secret to Midwestern kindness was and now you have done the saintly think and revealed in your blog! How can I ever thank you enough?
No need to thank me. It’s what I do. Those kind of things keep me up at night too.
‘Preciate the Texas holler! Even though I’m a transplant (still, showing no signs of rejection after 2-1/2 years).
I also appreciate the insight into How Saints are Made, because now I realize how thoroughly I have been doing my part, lo, all these years. On the opposite end of the spectrum, seems to me that Brats come in all sizes and age categories, and I can think of a few big ‘uns that oughta be fried too. I shall mention no names, lest anyone I nominate be reading this comment column, but I’ll bet you know a few such oversized-toddler cretins too! 😉
Surviving and enjoying Texas is just one more reason I like you so much. Yes, brats come in all sizes, and I’m afraid if all were fried, I would no longer be here.
Yes, as Hamlet did mention, ‘use every man after his desert and who should ‘scape frying?’–I mean, ‘whipping?’ 😉
I think it must just be the Badgers who are the kind ones then, because alas, we do not celebrate the mighty brat here.
I absolutely LOVE the title of this piece – my favorite of the year!!!!
Thanks. Of course it’s only the 2nd of January, so I may have some competition. : )
Well, I can’t have you thinking that you are unloved and unwanted. You are neither — I just finished posting a piece where I nominated you for some awards. Can you even stand it — you will have to read it to see what it is! http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2012/01/02/the-envelope-please-part-ii/
The neighborhood is improving, I hope!
I type in awe of your husband-training skills.
BY the way, I love WI too. When I was a little kid my family would vacation in Eagle River. Cranberry Lake, to be exact.
I have never been up to Eagle River, but we did vacation once in Rhinelander. We stayed in a cabin, had a rowboat, and caught loads of pan fish. It is beautiful up north.
Yep! We did the same thing, meaning the cabin, fish and rowboat. I’d love to go back there now, 40+ years later, to see what it’s like.
I lacked the proper saint-training skills as my Ex was anything but. He decribed himself as a German blockhead which I didn’t understand until it was too late.
Bratwurst is highly appreciated here in Michigan, too. Thanks for a good laugh to start the day!!
Maybe they need to be halfway along the path to sainthood before you meet them. Glad the post made you laugh.