Listen to the Wife


The Wife said not to do it. Did I listen to her? Nope. Ignoring The Wife’s advice isn’t the best way to start off the New Year, and neither is causing someone else’s misfortune.

But it really wasn’t my fault. It was our 2-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Sweet Caroline’s. Trust me, finger paints will come out of big sister’s hair and off walls, floors and even ceilings much quicker than out of clothing.

So I did a load of laundry on New Year’s Day and now, according to Southern folklore, someone will have to pay. Someone in our family is gonna have horrible bad luck because of what I did.

Perhaps an explanation is in order. It all has to do with the rules on what you are or are not supposed to do on New Year’s Day. Yep, according to The Wife, the first day of the year has rules that must be followed. Confused? Welcome to my little corner of the world.

Over the last week, the folks at the corner coffee shop, the check-out lady at our local grocery store, and many other folks have all weighed in with their suggestions on how to insure a safe and prosperous New Year:

Eat collard greens and black-eyed peas sometime during the day. (I’m sure breakfast would not be one of those times.) Watch at least one football game. Don’t open the mail, answer the phone, take out the trash, or wash your hands. Don’t shower for a week. (That guy was sitting by himself.)

Still, none of the above activities brought with them the dire consequences of causing misfortune to a close family member like mine could.

Our local librarian had one of the best answers, “I always spend New Year’s Day being thankful for what we have. With all that’s happened in our family, I’m just happy I’m still here to answer your question.” I know how she feels.

So, taking her advice, I too looked back over the past year to see what I’m most thankful about. The answer was simple: The Wife. It’s been another year, and yet she still loves me. Why? I really don’t know. It will remain one of life’s great mysteries — one for which I’m eternally grateful.

She is the love of my life, the humor in my stories, and my muse. Any room she walks into is warmed with her smile. Together there is no adversity we cannot face and overcome. When things are at their worst, she is at her best. That has been particularly true during the last 12 months.

The advice and insight she has given has always been spot on, and whenever I don’t listen, more often than not, I make the wrong decision. So I was determined to listen on New Year’s Day after asking her this simple question: what could I do this year to make her life better?

The answer surprised me. She said, “You could try to be a little more positive.”

Sometimes or, if I’m totally being honest, often when submerged in the quagmire that comes with difficult times, I do bemoan and become negative, quickly forgetting all positives that surround me: a loving wife, two adorable granddaughters and their mom living just upstairs, and a warm house filled with love. I’m also fortunate to have friends and to be somewhat healthy-ish. I have no reason to complain.

So when The Wife asked if I could try and be a little more positive in the coming year, my answer was sincere, “I’ll try, my love.”

Then we shared our first kiss and I added, “I just feel really sorry for whoever’s going to suffer because I did the unthinkable: laundry on New Year’s Day. I’m positive that’s going to turn out to be a bad idea.” And with that, I was being as positive as I could be.

Here’s hoping you have a positively Happy 2017!

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]