A Ritz Cracker Kind of Guy - Cherokee Women's Health

A Ritz Cracker Kind of Guy

by Michael Litrel, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

My doctor partners and I take turns being on call for the holidays.  Two years ago, my turn fell on Thanksgiving, and as I looked across the table at my loved ones and listened to their loud and animated conversation, I remember noticing they all seemed to be in various states of inebriation. I began to wish the hospital would call me.

Nothing is more annoying than being the only sober one at the dinner table.

Especially when you paid for all the wine.

I realized there were three ways to handle my unhappiness.

One, I could make sure I wasn’t on call the following year so I could join in the frivolity.

Two, I could cultivate new friends and family who were less inclined to intoxicate themselves at holiday meals.

Or three, I could view this moment of unhappiness as a spiritual lesson and walk more strongly the path of Love.

The decision was easy. I decided not to be on call again.

Holidays are stressful, but particularly so for women. Women are more aware of the subtleties of celebration. They put effort into aesthetic touches that would never dawn on a man. The intention, I believe, is to manifest beauty.

But sometimes the result is marital conflict.

Every Thanksgiving, Ann makes six dozen homemade crackers called “Cheddar Crisps” that come in three flavors: cracked blacked pepper, caraway seed, and something called nigella seed.  Ann carefully sequesters her crackers in a tin box to be doled out at the right moment.

Every guest is given three crackers just after saying grace, one of each flavor – and a bowl of butternut squash soup.  It’s such a big deal to Ann that you handle each cracker like Grandma’s antique tea cup.  Unfortunately, I am more a Ritz cracker kind of guy, accustomed to shoveling large quantities into my mouth until I am full. So for me this homemade cracker stuff is holiday stress.

How do I express genuine appreciation for the work my wife has put into this pre-Thanksgiving snack, without conveying my true thoughts?

Stop wasting so much time already – they’re just crackers!

Instead, I channel Effete Cracker Connoisseur, solemnly critiquing the subtleties of each flavor and commenting about how the steam from the soup opens up the palate so one can fully appreciate the differences. But truthfully, I just wanted Ann to stop making them.

Last year I got my wish. I was not on call, and no homemade crackers were to be found!

But I noticed a few things.

Free to imbibe a glass of wine, I found I did not want any, but instead chose sparkling water.

And the sodden idiots inclined to boorish conversation I remembered from the year before were actually beautiful people I am so very blessed to have in my life.

But what surprised me most was that I actually missed Ann’s homemade crackers.

It’s not always easy for a man to appreciate the attention to detail an effortful woman brings into her family’s life. Sometimes what she does seems frivolous – and God knows, sometimes it’s expensive. But there is a reason for a woman’s efforts, and this I understand – as a father, as a husband of twenty-eight years, and also as a physician who has listened to women carefully over the years.

A woman gives life to her children, brings beauty to her home, and creates ties in her community.  A woman makes life more beautiful for us men –

Whether we want her to or not.

© Copyright 2024 Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists
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