Eagle Forum, the national political organization headed by Phyllis Schlafly, once selected me Massachusetts Homemaker of the Year. My husband nominated me by filling out an application form. I was touched. Hubby, I assumed, wanted to highlight my attempts to homemake, homestead, and homeschool. Sort of. Wid was proud of my domestic endeavors, but he made me a contestant, in part, because he wanted to participate in the prize: an all-expenses paid weekend at a posh Washington, D.C., hotel for each state's winner. What a guy.
When I actually became the honoree, and Eagle Forum dispatched press releases to the local media of my impending coronation, a reporter from the Springfield-Union News phoned. "I'd like to come to your home with a photographer," he said. The gleam in his voice gave it away: he thought he was going to meet a Martha Stewart wannabe.
I could visualize this reporter's fantasy. He'd encounter me sporting diamond studs and spackling. After I cleaned up, I'd offer him lunch: saucisson chaud with steamed kale, artistically arranged on pressed glass plates. During a dessert of kiwi flamboyancy, served in my perfectly fertilized rosebush garden, the neighborhood's beautiful people would join us for lattes.
"Sure, come on over," I said.
When the newsie arrived, I was hospitable. "Do you drink instant coffee?"