Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have promised all year that I would take Dr. Cranky to one of the Ford Estates that is open to the public, because (although he had been often) I had never toured the house and he wanted me to see it.   When he was young, and working, and in charge of this and that, he attended dinners and events in the main house (which is no longer used for dinners and events), where he socialized shoulder-to-shoulder with people I have only seen on television.  He was familiar with the architecture, the art, and the period furnishings.   Showing it to me was important to him and I promised, months ago, that I would take him there this year before the snow flies.    One thing and another kept me from it, but I really wanted to keep my promise because his health is always precarious and this week the weather is usually temperate, so yesterday was the big day.    He was really looking forward to it, and he told me all about the things I would see, including a movie about Edsel Ford and what a remarkable man he was.

Things started out well enough, we had lunch in a lovely room, formerly part of the estate greenhouse.   And then we went to see the movie.   But it was not the movie that Dr. Cranky expected.  They had recently eliminated the documentary and replaced it with a 5-minute preview of the estate.    It is an understatement to say that Dr. Cranky was not happy.   And unfortunately, when he is not happy, the world around him had better plan to not be happy.    Things got loud.   There was (one-sided) shouting.   I finally escaped to the gift shop and chatted with the nervous ladies there.

Finally we moved on to the (private) tour (how surprising that no other guests went with us!), and fortunately, the docent who accompanied us was extremely knowledgeable, had a wry wit, and was very deferential.   Dr. Cranky asked a number of educated questions and, as a result, the docent showed us photos and gave us information that she said she does not usually include on the tour (photos showing the contrast between the conditions of the servants quarters with the family's, for instance).    So from that point,  all was well (more or less.   At one point we met up with a lower level employee who remarked how glad she was that they had replaced the boring documentary, and things flared up again briefly.   But mostly all was well.)  

After we finished the very interesting tour and walked a bit on the beautifully landscaped grounds, I got Dr. Cranky safely to my car and ran back inside to powder my nose and apologize to the long-suffering and very gracious manager who had handled his complaints.   As I was leaving she touched my arm and said warmly, 'you are a saint, don't let anyone ever tell you different.'   It made me laugh.

Later that evening, my phone rang, and I later retrieved a message from Dr. Cranky saying how grateful he was that I had taken him there, that he had had a wonderful time and hoped I had enjoyed it as much as he did.    I could have taken the call, but my sister made me hit 'ignore' when she saw who was calling.   Then she bought me a gin and tonic.     As I pointed out to her, clearly saintliness does not run in my family.   My sister says she's fine with that.


Tootie said...

for a little while there, I thought you were in FL. All that talk of the Ford Estate. :)

I have to agree, you are a SAINT!

Snowbird said...

Ditto on what Tootie said on being a saint. You have so much more patience than I would ever have.

gpc said...

You are both sweet, but no saint here! A REAL saint would figure out a way to stay in the room and stop him. I've learned that things only get worse if I try to intervene, and the best I can do is remove his audience, which tends to shorten the performance. I feel so bad, though, for abandoning his victims and I always try to go back and apologize. I also try to limit the places I take him, new places are always a little tricky, I'm afraid.