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The Madonna and the RV

February 15, 2016

It was an unsettling debate. Rest assured I’m not about to launch into a diatribe on the fiasco that was Saturday night’s CBS Republican debate. I’m here to dip my toe into waters far more contentious than an exchange over who should be our next president. Recently, Mrs. Chatterbox and I had an energetic discussion over who is more inclined to hold grudges—men or women.


This started during a recent visit with my mother at her assisted living facility. She launched into a discussion about how my late father took great care with his possessions while not giving proper consideration to her things. I mentioned that I always observed Dad taking care of everyone’s belongings, often fixing things she managed to break. Of course we had to go back to an often-told incident from thirty years ago, an episode I call The Madonna and the RV. I’m paraphrasing, but the exchange began with Mom saying:


“Your father was taking the RV out to the lake on a fishing trip with his brothers. As always they ended up roughhousing and my precious Madonna statue got broken. That statue belonged to your grandmother and meant a lot to me.”


Not that it matters, but the Madonna statue was actually a planter, the type available at any florist shop for a few bucks. Grandma gave it back to Mom when the flowers died.


Mom continued. “Not only did it get broken, but I wasn’t told about it until I noticed it missing months later.”


Knowing Mom’s tendency to hold grudges, I don’t understand why Dad didn’t just replace it, but he didn’t. Instead, he kept quiet while Mom transformed her lost $3.95 statue/planter into the Holy Grail.


At some point I said, “Mom, if you knew that Dad and a bunch of guys were taking the RV to the lake and they had a tendency to roughhouse, why didn’t you accept the responsibility of removing it before they drove off.”


“Why should I be the one to take care of it? I’d washed my hands of that old RV years earlier.”


“So you say that statue was important, yet you abandoned it when you lost interest in the RV.”


“I never lost interest in that statue.”


“But you were the one who didn’t take care of it. You should have put it in a safe place, since you were the one who cared about it.”


Mother’s chevron eyebrows squeezed together. “That’s what your father should have done, out of respect for me.”


I tried to ascend to a loftier position. “If the real Madonna were here, wouldn’t she tell you that after all these years it’s time to forgive Dad?”


She snorted. “I forgave him for breaking my statue years ago.”


Yet she tells me this story every few months. I laughed and said, “It’s great you don’t hold grudges.”


This exchange got me thinking about which sex is more inclined to hold grudges.


After an aggressive analysis of people close to me (several glasses of wine were involved) I came to a conclusion. I believe I know who is more inclined to hold grudges, but unfortunately I wasn’t wise enough to keep my opinion to myself.


For the next few days I’ll be residing in the doghouse by the backyard fence. It’s cold and unheated, but should you, dear readers, be willing to offer an opinion, in the words Motel 6’s Tom Bodett “I’ll keep a light on for you….”





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Ha! In our house it's more likely that Mike will hold the grudge. He's the one who can REMEMBER what happened. I'll remember that I'm made at him, but not why, & eventually I'll just stop being mad. Sometimes, though, he makes the mistake of reminding me of why I was mad at him. Then he has to wait another day or two for me to forget again.
By: The Bug on February 15, 2016
By: John on February 15, 2016
Just accept the reality that sometimes one is wrong regardless of the facts! My deepest sympathies to you and Mrs C for your mother's irascible personality.
By: Kathe W. on February 15, 2016
Your mom obviously subscribes to the "My mind is made up; don't confuse me with facts" theory!!
By: fishducky on February 15, 2016
I'm not big on discussing who does what less or more, men or women. Those pigeon holes make me uncomfortable. HOWEVER, that being said, I would NOT put our mothers in the same room. All those negative ions could bring down the power grid. (I've mostly given up on even engaging my mother in these conversations.. Thankfully, nobody broke her Madonna.)
By: Mitchell Is Moving on February 15, 2016
"She snorted. âI forgave him for breaking my statue years ago.â I have a sister like that, and, like your mother, perhaps, she makes of point of saying that she forgives but never forgets.
By: Snowbrush on February 15, 2016
I do think it depends on the person. I have seen my hubby be steamed over something for weeks where I have forgotten over it. It takes too much energy. I think each holds grudges but in different ways also. A woman can keep bringing it up even if it is 50 yrs ago whereas a man won;t bring it up but they just never speak to that person again. They can really sulk where women bitch
By: Birgit on February 15, 2016
Had to laugh when your Mom admitted to not even missing that treasure for several months. Being a lazy person, I don't carry a grudge. However I think women get a bad rap cause we have better memories. My story and sticking to it.
By: Arkansas Patti on February 15, 2016
As a student of human nature, having spent 28 years in the classroom, I can unequivocally state that women are more inclined to hold grudges. Example: A coach asked one of the boys why he was buddies with the guy who stole his girlfriend. "You had a fight in the locker room last week and got suspended. Now you're friends?" And the kid said, "When guys get mad, they fight it out. Best man wins. It's over." Girls will cultivate that grudge like a delicate hothouse flower until their deathbed.
By: Val on February 15, 2016
i totally own it that we women hold grudges more firmly.
By: TexWisGirl on February 15, 2016
I agree with TexWisGirl, and Arkansas Patti and Val have the explanations.
By: cranky on February 15, 2016
As with most things in life, i don't think it's men or women, i think it's individual by individual. That way, i don't end up in the doghouse with anyone!
By: messymimi on February 15, 2016
Sadly grudge holding has no gender. Not sure what happened with that last comment. I'm not in the uk at the moment so I'm using my iPad that has a life of It's own.
By: LL Cool Joe on February 15, 2016
Never offer an opinion after a few glasses of wine. Come to think of it, never offer an opinion before a few glasses of wine either. Just enjoy the wine. And the silence.
By: Catalyst on February 15, 2016
Well, if you're in the dog house, we know who makes and holds grudges. Now i can't make a decision whethter this shows men or women hold grudges more. However, I'm a permanent fence sitter.
By: red on February 15, 2016
I freely admit I hold grudges but only for IMPORTANT STUFF!!!
By: jenny_o on February 15, 2016
Women, for sure. They can remember things that happened years ago in extreme detail, and pull up any of those details on demand as Exhibit A. Unless it involves sports, most men can't remember anything past 24 hours. Game, set, match.
By: Scott Park on February 15, 2016
I prefer Kibbles and Bits over all the other dog food. I've become a connoisseur through the years ;)
By: Rick Watson on February 15, 2016
I enjoy stories of your Mom, Stephen, and I send her my very best! :)
By: Michael Manning on February 15, 2016
Ouch! Dangerous territory there. Silence is golden.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 16, 2016
I think this would be a great issue for the Republicans to weigh on.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 16, 2016
I think women are more likely to hold grudges too. We are prone to be "martyrs' and keep anger inside, opting for family harmony, but it stays there, as uncomfortable as the proverbial pea under the princess's mattress. It grows. One of the things I regret in life is not just being a bitch--er--honest and getting the anger out instead of letting it fester.
By: Lexa Cain on February 16, 2016
I suppose women do hold grudges more but I think it's a by product of how women are socialized s opposed to something inherent. we're not allowed to fight it out or express our anger or resentment so we stuff it. when we act less than 'lady-like' we get all kinds of calling down.
By: Ellen Abbott on February 16, 2016
Yeah, my thinks you would be a perfect fit for a cabinet position in a Trump administration. Maybe not not holding the fine china, but they have the cheap stuff for dignitaries from countries on the not-so-favored list (I think).
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on February 16, 2016
I thought it was a rhetorical question at first. Women most definitely hold grudges longer. Men are too lazy and aloof to hold grudges at all. It's funny that the cheap planter became precious after it was broken. Your mom provides amusing stories.
By: Robyn Engel on February 16, 2016
That's funny. But I gotta say that J.R. Ewing in the old Dallas soap opera made a good villain and boy could he ever hold a grudge. I suspect that anyone that feels "wronged" in some way is capable of holding a grudge and "sex" is just coincidental.
By: Michael Offutt on February 17, 2016
I may be of "that gender" but I learned a long time ago to let go of grudges. It takes less energy to forgive than to be miserable!
By: Bouncin Barb on February 18, 2016

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