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MRS. MURFREESBORO: Placing blame becomes silly habit

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My husband, Tommy, and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. Several of our conversations have started with him asking, “Do you remember where you put my (fill in the blank)?”

He could be referring to any object: a bill just received, a tape measure he had been using, a book he had been reading – anything.

The inherent subliminal inference is this: If things are not where he thinks they should be, it must be my fault when they’re not in their place. It’s long become a recurrent theme at our home.

I mentioned this phenomenon to some girlfriends yesterday and asked if any of them had similar experiences. The answers were overwhelmingly, “Yes.”

“My husband gets upset because I move his (sweaty) baseball cap from the island where I’m cooking supper,” one friend said.

I can see where he’d see relocation as her fault (sort-of).

Another said she was preparing dinner for her son-in-law and grandchild at his home while her daughter was out of town, and the son-in-law asked, “Where’d you put the butter?”

She had not touched nor seen the butter and said in jest, “I guess I put it in the oven.”

It was in the refrigerator where it had been for the past week.

Tommy and I have been married so long that I’ve learned to anticipate these accusations without taking them personally any more. And though I’m innocent as often as not, I admit to having been guilty in the past.

I write frequently it is not in my nature to be neat, though I fight Mother Nature’s course every day. Tommy is, however, inherently neat and generally has a place for everything with everything in its place. If there is order in this family, he generates it. If there are messes anywhere around, they can admittedly be attributed to me.

More than 40 years ago, we drove from our home in Kansas City, Mo., to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. We were staying with my sister and her husband who lived there and when we got to town at 3 a.m. Tommy said, “I’m going to call for directions.” I remembered exactly how to get there and begged him not to awaken them at 3 a.m. He called anyway.

I apologized to my sister the next morning and told her that my instructions were spot on but he refused to listen to me. She asked bluntly, “Have you been wrong before?”

Busted. Put in such a perspective, how could I have expected him to believe me the one time I was right?

For the past month or so, we shared some good-natured jokes about his tendency to assume that I am the culprit and a crowning moment occurred two weeks ago.

We were on a trip with me in the driver’s seat and it was dreary and rainy outside. He decided to clean off the back-up camera, which I love, and just as he did it, the rear door hatch popped up in his face.

His initial thought was what button has she punched to cause that?

But, he quickly realized he had touched the rear release himself. He told me his initial instinct was to assume error on my part.

I think it’s great he was man enough to admit that and we have shared lots of good-natured laughs about it.

So, while I don’t see an end in sight to being accused of “tucking something away,” I’m learning to accept the fact blaming me has become a habit and take no personal affront.

Our items are found eventually, regardless of where I’ve supposedly hidden them.

And aren’t happy endings what it’s all about?

‘Til next week.

Tagged under  Family, Jeanne Bragg, Marriage, Mrs Murfreesboro, Voices

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