August 21, 2012
I am currently writing a book about the wisdoms of older women being passed down to younger women, and the experience has grown from a humorous examination of the phenomenon to a full-blown history lesson. Writing this book ranks among the top ten coolest things I believe I’ve ever done, because I’ve been educated, enriched and entertained by the real-life accounts of real women.
One of the adages I’ve heard repeated over and over, no matter where the women I’m interviewing are from, is that cryptic mantra with which many of us are familiar: “Bad things come in threes.” Sometimes I hear from women that, “Funerals come in threes,” but I’d count a funeral in that category of “bad things,” so we’ll stick with the original saying.
Several years ago, my husband’s family grieved the loss of three close family members: my father-in-law and two brothers-in-law. It was terrible and seemed almost freakishly close in the timing (all within about a year, each unrelated to the other). I heard from so many people during that awful time that “bad things come in threes.” The phrase actually brought a foreboding fear after the first two deaths and believe it or not, comfort after the third.
When illnesses come along in a family, three seems to be the magic number, doesn’t it? Financial bad news – threes. When I was married to my ex-husband, his parents came to visit us three times in one year, each visit lasting about 2 months each. Three times in one year? So there’s another verification.
For the purposes of doing research for my book, I’ve interviewed four generations of women. Every generation of women has passed this tidbit about the threes along to their younger counterparts. When a principle survives for that many years, there’s some truth to it.
Not to get too personal, but I have had one surgery this year and am slated for a second in a few weeks. Here’s to hoping that wives’ tales are just that – wives tales. There aren’t that many months left in 2012, and I can’t bear the thought of a third procedure interfering with the holidays or, more specifically, with holiday preparations. I love Thanksgiving, Christmas and all that comes with them. I can’t, I simply can’t, be incapacitated during the last quarter of this year.
Just to be safe, though, maybe I should schedule a minor cosmetic procedure just after the second surgery. Never hurts to cover all the bases.
Are there any tidbits of wisdom passed down through the generations in your family? We’d love to hear them!
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at book signings and speaking publicly at various events. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is expected on book shelves in Fall 2012.