Out of town pal S came for a visit this weekend. And because she didn't travel hundreds of miles just to sit in my living room watching the Food Network, we worked up our courage and braved the bad weather to see some of the local sights; though a row boat might have been a better mode of transportation than my car. With umbrellas over heads we toured the grounds and home of one of our nation's early presidents.
S and I came across scale sized mannequins of the president and his wife in the estate's museum. Based on the foot difference in height between the two and the wife's curvy hips; we nicknamed the couple the General and the Dumpling. The General was no hero to history. In fact I was getting pretty embarrassed that he and I were such close neighbors as the informational film reveled just how many people he had made life more difficult for. But oh well, I suppose that sitting in my lofty seat almost 200 years later the right path is always easy to spot. Hindsight being 20/20 and all.
After the museum, we toured the house. The docent there told our happy little wet group that the General and the Dumpling had no children of their own, only an adopted son. Being the infertile little nerd that I am, I raised my hand and asked why the couple had no children (trust me when I say the General and the Dumpling did not live in the enlightened age of birth control and fashionably small families). The docent shrugged her shoulders and continued on with her spiel about the age of the curtains, floors, and doors. But she lost me after that shoulder shrug.
Some people claim to have gaydar, I have a finely tuned infertility radar. I just knew that the Dumpling must have had days, months, and years of tears and wishing for a baby. I can imagine her placing her hand on her stomach and looking in the mirror asking herself if she was any fatter than she was a month ago. Hoping the answer was yes and hoping that it was a baby that grew under her (many) skirts. (Come on, this was way before the days of OPK's and HPT's.) I was pretty bummed for the rest of the tour thinking about my connection with this long dead woman.
I wish that I could sum up this post with a cheery comment about looking on the bright side and everything turned out well in the end. But I can't. History shows that the Dumpling and the General's adopted son gave his parents hell growing up, went on to commit quite a few sins of his own, and gambled away the family estate only a few years after the General's death. Yet, I can't help but think about the Dumpling and mourn for the legacy that she probably wished she had been able to leave behind.