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"It's a Good Thing"
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
8 June 2003

When Martha says, "It’s a good thing," my wife grins from ear to ear. Actually to me it’s quite irritating. Not Martha’s dirty fingernails. My wife’s being enamored by this woman.

"It’s a good thing." Well, I beg to differ.

You see, all this fuss about Martha has made quite the upset here in my kitchen. It may lead to marriage counseling. I don’t know actually how I’m going to come out on this whole giblet but my wife is having a tantrum.

It’s not because of Martha. It’s because of me. That’s why I am looking out the living room window as I type, scanning the dimensions of our doghouse. Get the drift?

Anyhow, Priscilla is absolutely convinced the best way for her to put down a harried day is to turn on Martha’s whatevers. It doesn’t matter if she’s souping up a ladle or displaying a tray of ruffled sweetie-pies or just being a down home gal in the garden with those dirty fingernails.

When Martha says, "It’s a good thing," Priscilla grins from ear to ear. Actually to me it’s quite irritating. Not Martha’s dirty fingernails. My wife’s being enamored by this woman.

I take a position on morals and ethics and lying and cheating and all that good versus bad stuff. I say that if Ms. S is a big fat liar, she should pay. Spanking machine and all. It doesn’t matter to me that she doesn’t comb her hair. If she’s fibbed, even a teensy-weensy bit, then to the gallows.

Well, not that harsh. I’m actually against the death penalty as well as being a pacifist on war and peace issues. So I couldn’t finally be too drastic when handing down a final for Ms. S. Nevertheless, when it comes to people pulling the shades over what’s right, I have a hissy fit.

I know that there are others "out there" more criminal. I know that the world is in a major upset over what to do with North Korea and its nuclear largesse. But I also know that there are some matters at home base that need tending, and it just might be that Martha is one of them.

I will admit that from time to time I have been caught catching a glance at the box when Martha brings to the kitchen counter a chocolate something or other. I am a chocoholic and therefore start smacking the lips with some of Martha’s come-forths.

I have also stopped long enough to admire some of her extremely creative nudges in the garden. And those who work alongside her — professionals who are so commoner-like that I’d take to them as next door neighbors — is a good thing.

I would even confess that I probably won’t stop buying those towels she’s been touting. After all, what does it matter who’s pushing a really lush towel if it’s lush, soft and cozy to the bum after a really hot shower? Martha or Bozo, a downy towel is a towel to treasure.

And with that I believe my wife has it over me when it comes to the logic department. Priscilla swears that she truly is concerned about Martha’s adherence to truth and that sort of upright thing; but she also sides in with Martha’s towel endorsements. And those sweet tooth creations. And those gardening tips. And Ms. S’s curtain selections. And her gift wrapping specials for Christmas.

But that Christmas thing does bother me. And so I have to stop at this point to underline that fact. I recall some time ago — oh, maybe several years ago — that Martha said that she, imagine this egocentric giveaway — would become Christmas!

She alluded to Perry Como taking over Christmas for years and years. She’s right on that point. I would give Christmas over to Perry any day, knowing full well that he would never take it. He wouldn’t even think of it. He would consider it sacrilegious for he was a devout Catholic who knows Christmas belongs to the Christ Child — and Him alone.

So when Martha said that she would become so famous that she herself would take over Christmas, I drew the line on that one. To me, that was indeed sacrilegious — yes yes yes.

Nevertheless, maybe Martha has repented of that remark and maybe she did not even take it all that seriously when it slipped from her lips. How many of us have said a thing or two that we later regretted? I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on Christmas.

But the other stuff, I’m still picking through.

In the meantime, there is this hot argument ablaze in my own home with my wife standing on one aide of Martha and me standing on the other side of Martha. It has turned into a virtual tug of war. She’s got hold of one end of the towel and I’ve got hold of the other.

Unless we come to some sort of roadmap to peace this could actually develop into a rip quite horrible.

Further, even with all of Martha’s personal troubles at the moment, I don’t think even she would want that. Do you? I mean I don’t think Martha would want any marriage to be anything other than "Now that’s a good thing."

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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