Someone comments that she’d never really worked. Not a proper job. Not a nine-to-five, sit down at a desk, shuffle the papers, count the numbers, find the words sort of job. She just ‘helped’ her parents in their shop, then ‘helped’ her husband.
At Christmas my mother, her daughter, takes the carving knife. Skills become ingrained when you park a pram in the backroom of a butcher’s. They get passed down on generation to the next. Not always perfect, but present like the bark and callous of their hands when they take mine. Evidence of everything they’ve given.
She says she never really worked a proper job, not a nine-to-five, like I have. Passes me the cutter for scones that won’t be as good as her mother’s, because she hasn’t got the knack like she had. She was only ever ‘helping’ not working, not like her daughter does, not like I do. She was only ever there in the background.
Autumn is not Spring,
but beauty still grows in her
and there is worth there.
Not really work… has been said by women for years… still they have that knack which we men seems to never comprehend… and now it’s 9-to-5 and the knack combined.
Stay at home wives work more hours than the women with regular jobs Then too often, a woman who joins the work force, faces a second job at home.
The injustice of denigrading the work women do, both in the workplace and at home, remains a lasting travesty of our time. I love how you subtly expose that injustice through the simple telling of one woman’s knack.
This brought me to tears. What a beautiful tribute not just to your grandmother, but to all the women who never “worked.”
Hits home. With love. (K)
Your haibun brought a lump to my throat, Carol. How many women have felt that they weren’t really working? All those women who kept things going, lived from hand to mouth, made ends meet. The women who wore their skills on their skin. The haiku is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother and mother.
Your haibun moves me to tears, Carol. Thank you for recognizing her worth and skills shared by “just helping” others even when society doesn’t reward such vital work with hourly wages.
INTERESTING THOUGHTS ON A GREAT BLOG, CHINA
This speaks to the lack of acknowledgement of so many women over the years. Those that worked without being seen and gave daily. It reminds me of my quiet grandmother who did it all beautifully without ever drawing attention to herself.