and Jo Ann were an ordinary couple. They lived in an ordinary house on an
ordinary street. Like other ordinary couples, they struggled to make ends meet
and to do the right things for their children.
were ordinary in yet another way – they had their squabbles. Much of their
conversation concerned what was wrong in their marriage and who was to blame.
one day, when a most extraordinary event took place.
know, Jo Ann, I’ve got a magic chest of drawers. Every time I open them,
they’re full of socks and underwear,” Larry said. “I want to thank you for
filling them all these years.”
Ann stared at her husband over the top of her glasses. “What do you want,
I just want you to know I appreciate those magic drawers.”
wasn’t the first time Larry had done something odd, so Jo Ann pushed the
incident out of her mind until a few days later.
Ann, thank you for recording so many correct check numbers in the ledger this month.
You put down the right number 15 out of 16 times. That’s a record.”
what she had heard, Jo Ann looked up from her mending: “Larry, you’re always
complaining about my recording the wrong check numbers. Why stop now?”
reason. I just wanted you to know I appreciate the effort you’re making.”
Ann shook her head and went back to her mending. “What’s gotten into him?” she
mumbled to herself.
the next day when Jo Ann wrote a check at the grocery store, she glanced at her
check numbers to confirm that she had put down the right check number. “Why do
I suddenly care about those dumb check numbers? She asked herself.
tried to disregard the incident, but Larry’s strange behavior intensified.
Ann, that was a great dinner,” he said one evening. “I appreciate all your
effort. Why, in the past 15 years I’ll bet you’ve fixed over 14,00 meals for me
and the kids.”
“Gee, Jo Ann, the house looks spiffy. You’ve really worked hard to get it
looking so good.” And even “Thanks, Jo Ann, for just being you. I really enjoy
Ann was growing worried. “Where’s the
sarcasm, the criticism? she wondered.
fears that something peculiar was happening to her husband were confirmed by 16
year-old Shelly, who complained, “Dad’s gone bonkers, Mom. He just told me I
looked nice. With all this makeup and these sloppy clothes, he still said it.
That’s not Dad, Mom. What’s wrong with him?”
was wrong, Larry didn’t get over it. Day in and day out he continued focusing
on the positive. Over the weeks, Jo Ann grew more used to her mate’s unusual
behavior, and occasionally even gave him a grudging “Thank you.” She prided
herself on taking it all in stride, until one day something so peculiar
happened, she became completely discombobulated:
want you to take a break,” Larry said. “I am going to do the dishes. So please
take your hands off that frying pan and leave the kitchen.”
long pause.) “Thank you, Larry. Thank you very much!”
Ann’s step was now a little lighter, her self-confidence higher, and once in a
while she hummed. She didn’t seem to have as many blue moods much anymore. “I
rather like Larry’s new behavior,” she thought.
would be the end of the story except one day another most extraordinary event
took place. This time it was Jo Ann who spoke.
she said, “I want to thank you for going to work and providing for us all these
years. I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I appreciate it.”
has never revealed the reason for his drastic change of behavior no matter how
hard Jo Ann has pushed for an answer, and so it will likely remain one of
life’s mysteries. But it’s one I’m thankful to live with.
see, I am Jo Ann.
Desert News (February 10, 1985)
Cheers to this ordinary, everyday love!
The one that takes extraordinary work, compassion, vulnerability and appreciation.