Jun. 7, 2021

DON'T ATTEMPT TO "BUILD YOURSELF UP"--- BY TEARING ME DOWN!

From My Book: For me--- Life has always been an ongoing-learning experience.  So--- regardless of my age or “status” in life--- I never take my happiness for granted.  Years ago, I was not surprised to find my most active-critics lurked among family members and so-called friends.    And-- to use an old childhood expression—I will die knowing—there’s still someone “out there” who--- "hates my guts".

"At the time Jack and I married, I was considered a public figure. Realizing my presence sparked envy in some, I tried to down-play my “public life.” I took bridge lessons, became a dependable volunteer, and tried to appear more like a housewife. Trying very hard to please Jack and his family, I left my longtime church to join the church started by Jack’s grandfather. One Sunday, shortly after adopting my new church home, my father-in-law pulled me aside and asked about the fur jacket I was wearing. I proudly told him my father bought it for me during my reign as Miss Arkansas. Without hesitating, he suggested I not wear it to church in the future, saying “It makes the wrong statement; it implies you are rich. Most of our members will assume Jack bought it for you. They’ll also wonder why the other daughter-in-laws aren’t wearing furs. I prefer you “dress-down” for our little church and also for our Sunday lunches at the country club. We are an old family in Pine Bluff and don’t want people to be intimidated by our financial success.” I was shocked and hurt by my father-in-law’s “dressing-down”.

My father was the exact opposite.   My father was a loving, kind, and generous gentleman--- to a fault. When the car he was driving registered thirty thousand miles, he would automatically take my car as his trade-in and give me his “old” car. Naturally—my selfish husband, Jack, liked that idea. Married twelve years, Jack never bought us a family car.

One Sunday after church I walked across the street to get in my “new” car, a sporty-looking Oldsmobile Cutlass. I had just opened the car door when I heard someone shout my name. Turning, I saw my father-in-law running toward me. He questioned me about the car, wanting to know who owned it. I began explaining how my father had given me his old car and…. my father-in-law interrupted, his voice charged with anger, “You’ve got to stop looking and acting like a beauty queen and start blending in with others. We are a conservative family and we don’t like to draw attention to ourselves. I wish you hadn’t accepted this car; everyone will think Jack bought it for you. It also makes his brothers look bad because their wives aren’t driving new cars.”

It is interesting to note: Soon after Jack and I divorced, he remarried AND my ex-mother and father-in-law gave all three of their daughters-in-laws’ identical Christmas presents. Each daughter-in-law received a full-length, black diamond mink coat. Apparently, my father-in-law was so excited about “showing off” to his newest daughter-in-law….he no longer worried about  exposing  his financial success to church members and the public.

Pretentious People are almost-always Fake Christians too.

 Sally Miller