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Tales of a Hay Hauler: The trophy wife

Brad Nelson Published on 29 June 2012

In less time than it would have taken to find an actual dictionary somewhere in the house, I found on-line the Merriam-Webster definition of “trophy.”

Definition of ‘trophy’
1. Something gained or given in victory or conquest especially when preserved or mounted as a memorial

2. A memorial of an ancient Greek or Roman victory raised on the field of battle or on the nearest land for a naval victory – or a representation of such a memorial (as on a medal); also an architectural ornament representing a group of military weapons

3. A game animal or fish suitable for mounting as a trophy – usually used attributively

4. One that is prized for qualities that enhance prestige or social status – usually used attributively <a trophy wife> <a trophy house>

Before I proceed further, I need to make three disclaimers:

1. I have at least two friends who have experienced situations in life that have left them convinced that marriage is one of the best ways to ruin a good friendship.

Both are in long-term relationships with ladies – which most who know them assume are their wives. I have the greatest respect for both of these fellows. I wish them well.

I want them to know that I know a number of married men who do not have a comparable relationship with the women they are married to.

2. I find the term “trophy,” as used to describe a wife, inappropriate as it is generally used in today’s world.

3. To be loved, respected and honored, you must be able to love, respect and honor.

Now let me disagree with the dictionary. Imagine if you will a Monopoly game with four players. This is not a game for fun, since waiting in the next room is a young lady who will be “given” as a bride to the winner – the “conquest” of the game, if you will.

What will the state of her emotions be as the winner displays her as he would a horse or a new car? How long would it take the winner of the game to be able to trust her? Would she spend all her life seeking to escape from he who “won her fair and square?”

Women are living beings with feelings and emotions. As ludicrous as the above example is, it parallels the way women are married off in many places of the world. As a sad comment on our own society, the idea of a wife being property still exists among us today.

Some women themselves add to the problem. I forget the source or the setting, but the mother of the groom, from a family of money and supposed status, made this comment about the young bride. “She’ll do for a first wife.”

Think, people. Who would you rather have assisting your son in choosing a retirement or nursing home for you?

Someone who is the mother of your grandchildren who has been married to your son for 40 to 50 years and a cherished member of your family – or a much younger second or third wife who may have been the cause of the original marriage going south?

You probably won’t get to pick the bride, but you certainly will have 17 to 30 years to teach a child to choose appropriately.

“All is not as it seems,” said the pastor as the husband lay on his deathbed. His wife sat beside him, distraught and weeping. “Ollie fears that he may die – his wife that he may live.”

And on the other side of the coin – an elderly Scotsman stood at a fresh grave, attended by his close family. At length he spoke, “Wonderful woman, magnificent woman, the most loving creature in all creation. A couple of times I almost told her so!”

I recently attended the annual Cub Scout “Blue and Gold” banquet. Mother Nature changed the site from a private pond with swings and water slides to inside a building.

As hale and hearty as this group was, the odds were for wind and heavy rain. The banquet was a family affair and Elli and I were there to see a grandson get an award before the food was served. Picnic food, hotdogs and trimmings with salads and desserts were served inside.

I observed a number of young mothers there involved with the dinner and the Cub Scout program. They were there without any visible makeup and their hair was “just neat and out of the way.”

Note that I see most of these ladies on Sunday all made up prim and proper. Most had children there both above and below Cub Scout age. (The husbands were mostly there trying to stay out of everyone’s way and to be helpful as needed.)

These women, I thought, were the real trophy wives. They were caught up in family, dressed comfortably for the occasion and, in the eyes of the only people in their lives that mattered, wonderful and gorgeous. None of them needed makeup.

There may be one place that the term “trophy” and “wife” can be used together. That would be after a lifetime of standing by the husband she chose to be with – she probably deserves some recognition that an appropriate trophy may convey.

At least tell her how much you appreciate her and all she does while she can understand what you say. Flowers every now and again don’t hurt, either.

A nephew of mine has most of his hair back. Three weeks after his wedding he was diagnosed with cancer. As therapy for herself, the young bride created a blog and there recorded her feelings as she stayed beside Adam through the agony of chemotherapy.

There she expressed eloquently the dreams of a young bride interrupted by a battle for life itself and the fear of becoming a very young widow.

Standing by her new husband as he lost his hair, his appetite, his energy – almost the will to carry on. Through it all, the question “Why is this happening to me?” was never raised.

No self-pity. It was just a stalwart onward effort to win the battle and get on with life. The prognosis is now very good. (Click here to find the blog ).

A trophy wife is not one who can stop traffic with her appearance; a trophy wife is one who will not stop standing by you when you are down. See that you deserve it.

I recently got copies of some old pictures from my sister. They were of family back when my children were very young.

Among them were only a couple of shots that I felt came close to accurately portraying my wife. Looking these over, I wondered if the following is shared by anyone else:

Pictures of the wife from the eyes of the husband – “The camera/photographer/artist must be a moron.

Anyone can see she is much more beautiful than the picture shows.” – and – “There are neither words nor emotions known to man to begin to describe the absolute beauty I see when I look into her eyes – into the very depths of her soul.”  FG