It's nothing much; just something light, airy, a little secret and a little silly - and perhaps a voice from a long departed mom left behind in the brainstem of a rebel female thinker.
While the feminist me who grew up in the mid-morning of the women's movement rejoices in the successes to which she and her sisters cling tenaciously, a deeply traditional side whispers with dampness in her eyes, "don't forget me."
I never did.
In the jungle of liberty that knows no ceiling, no floor, and no walls, I find myself occasionally enchanted by a curiously wistful memory of that which we liberated women writhed and shook so furiously to divest ourselves: a simple cage, a life whose worry is limited by its own confinement, to close my eyes and know that the world rests upon someone else's shoulders.
There still exist small remnants of the country where women are often addressed in formal settings by our husband's first names - a dissolution of one's public personal identity that, indeed, this feminist could not long tolerate.
Yet my inner Betty Crocker cannot resist being distantly allured by the world left behind by the departing penumbra of a world that I lived in but, as a child, not quite of. The men of the house earned the bread while we, a.k.a. "the ladies," got together and worked on a quilt for a while while the hostess enjoyed the honor of serving afternoon tea, and got back home in time to bake a hamburger and corn casserole to palliate our husbands' hard day's work.
Donning my apron, I'd dive in.
Then I'd throw a baby shower for the latest of the expectants, remembering always that the soup is to be passed from the left to the right. With intermittent melancholy, I'd remember how I, Mrs. John Smith (good heavens), concealing yet not denying the wanderlust of a race Hemi in my heart, declined my turn under the shower head.
I truly could visit that world for a week, to vacation in its prepared simplicity. But I could not stay; it's the freedom to choose and to taste that piques my curiosity in the first place. Without that freedom I would suffer, ponder, lament, and incubate discontent; I would peer beyond the bars and initiate the women's movement all over again.
It's a beautifully simple world, and I share the beauty in it that women who freely choose that life see for themselves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the cliche goes, and it ever edifies me to strive to behold.
But before long I could come back home - to my home - but not without packing my doffed apron, my Joy of Cooking handbook, and a boxful of the scent of the chicken liver lyonnaise dinner that I had fried for my husband of a different reality.
I'd remember; I'd smile; and yet I'd be grateful to be back home, and to be me, once again.