When I was young, I realized that I had two pairs of aunts and uncles that were related to each other both by blood and by marriage. Aunt #1 was married to Uncle #1 and Aunt #2 was married to Uncle #2. But Aunt #1 was the sister of Uncle #2. And Uncle #1 was the brother of Aunt #2. Nothing incestuous; it’s just that a brother and a sister married a sister and a brother.
I thought that was rather odd, so I asked my mother about it. (She was the sister to Aunt #1 and Uncle #2.) She said there was nothing strange about it at all. A one time, it was very common for brothers and sisters to marry among the same families. In the small country church that my mom grew up in, there were only two large families, the “Smiths” and the “Joneses”. Since each clan had several children, it wasn’t unusual for several of the Smith boys to pick out Jones girls to marry. Heck, there weren’t any other families to choose from.
They called it “slim pickins”. And the lack of slim pickins is one of the things driving up the divorce rate today.
When the pickins are slim, people tend to be content with what they have. And when things aren’t exactly the way they think they should be, they work together to make it right.
When a Jones boy looked across the one-room school house at the Smith girl, he knew that was pretty much as good as it was going to get. And ya know, she didn’t look half bad. He could picture little Miss Smith snuggled up to him at the bonfire after the hay ride on Saturday night. And she looked pretty good.
Soon Mr. Jones and Miss Smith were married. That’s when Mr. Jones realized that maybe he had painted a rather optimistic picture of the new Mrs. Jones. But it didn’t matter if she put on a few more pounds or left the cap off the toothpaste. She had a big plate of fried chicken ready for him when he came in from the fields. And she kept him warm at night while she soothed his aching muscles. And that kept him pretty happy.
Besides, pickins were slim. What else was he to do?
Today, the pickins aren’t so slim. A few strokes of the keys or clicks of a mouse and Myspace, eHarmony, or www.i-wanna-hot-date-tonight.com is all one needs to find an alternative. The choices are abundant; the temptations are inviting; the consequences are few.
Maybe if we went back to our slim pickins and realized what a good deal could be found right in our own back yard, we’d be less tempted to stray and more content with what we have.