I tried to find a live version of this song, but there wasn't one where the words were as clear as this.
You might wonder why on earth I would begin a posting on a Rosamunde Pilcher short story with the song, I'm A Woman sung by the great Maria Muldaur. Well, it's because I was reading along in the story, and came upon the line:
James tried his hand at hanging out a sock or two, but it was dull and fiddly work, so he abandoned it and went back to work at his makeshift desk.and the words to this song came to mind.
I can wash out 44 pairs of socks, and have 'em hanging out on the line.I started laughing and thought I've got to find the song and put it up on the blog.
The story begins as James is returning from a business trip with the beginnings of a cold. His boss tells him to go home and do his work from there.
He realised, with some surprise, that he could not remember when he had ever taken a day off during the week. Revelling in idleness, he felt youthful, like a schoolboy with an unexpected holiday.He does work on his report, but more often he spends his time noticing things. He has never known what home life was like during the day.
Sometimes it occurred to James that Louisa's life, when compared to his own, must be very dull. "What have you been doing today?" he would ask when he got home, but "Nothing much" was all she ever told him.On this day off, James learns the millions of things that women at home do every day. He marvels that the Saturday housekeeper isn't there, and Louisa tells him the several days a week she doesn't come. He doesn't even know why the children aren't home until she reminds him they'd gone to stay with someone.
"You knew they were going."The room where he wants to work is cold, and his wife tells him she doesn't light the fire until five o'clock. He happily smells cooking, and is surprised when a huge meal isn't for his lunch. She's making it for a dinner some days ahead and will freeze it. The phone rings off the hook all day long. She paints, she helps the man who cuts up a downed tree, she irons.
He had known. He had simply forgotten.
James isn't made out to be an unkind man. Until this day at home, he really and truly did not understand what Louisa did in the hours when he was away. When he is on his way home from work the next day, he stops and gets her flowers. She is delighted and asks, "But why?"
Because you are my life. The mother of my children, the heart of my house. You are the fruit loaf in the tin, the clean shirts in the drawer, the logs in the basket, the roses in the garden. You are the flowers in the church, and the smell of paint in the bathroom, ... And I love you.This is the sort of story that makes one breathe a sigh of pleasure at the end. What a lovely writer Rosamunde Pilcher is. Her people are so often like James, not unkindly, just unknowing, and what a joy when he finally does understand.
Home for the Day
22 pages long
first published in Good Housekeeping magazine, as "Louisa" - February 1979
included in The Blue Bedroom & Other Stories, 1985