A tribute to the Pearl of the Orient

This past week, my wife, Norma, the Pearl of the Orient, and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Staying married to the same person that long is a bit unusual in this day and age, and particularly in our case.
We met on a Friday evening, were engaged by the following Tuesday, and married a few weeks later. I’m not sure if this proves we were destined for each other, just plain lucky, or if the Pearl just can’t be bothered house-breaking another husband.
I do know the Pearl has a highly developed and unusual sense of humour. She’d have to in order to put up with me. But some of her tales of her earlier days prove the point.
As a small child on the plantation where she was raised in the Philippines, she loved to be with the “peasants” away from the protected, “cultured” supervision of her mother and a bevy of nannies. One evening at the dinner table, with the local priest as honoured guest, she related her latest adventure with the gardener.
The gardener had showed her a sow grunting contentedly as she nursed a squalling litter of piglets, and Norma relayed to the priest the information gleaned from this earthy soul.
“Padre, do you know what the little pigs were saying to their mother?” she asked excitedly.
“No my child,” stated the priest, humouring the child.
“They are asking the mommy pig who their father is, and do you know what the mommy pig is telling them?” she continued breathlessly.
“No my child,” answered the priest again.
“She’s saying, I don’t know. My [censored! censored! censored!–Ask Norma],” related the Pearl excitedly.
There is no recollection of what the priest’s reaction was but the Pearl’s mother went into hysterics. Norma was banished from the adults’ dinner table for some years, and her father is reported to have suffered a near hernia trying to keep a straight face.
This little story seems to have set the tone for the Pearl’s expanding future. Next came the bag of snakes labouriously collected and lovingly presented to snake-a-phobic mother–in retaliation for being left at home on the occasion of a shopping trip to town.
Subsequently, the Pearl sat in the top of a tall tree for several hours to avoid severe corporal punishment.
Then there was the incident at the convent school (can you imagine the Pearl at a convent?) The elderly Sister had to complete reading a prayer before breakfast began–much too slowly for the Pearl’s taste. What to do? Perhaps a little magic trick.
The Pearl had read if you jerked quickly enough on a table cloth, it could be removed from under the dishes without moving them at all. She reasoned such disappearance of the table cloth might startle the Sister into speeding up her reading.
Using a little coercion and bribery (yes, the Pearl is not above such underhanded tactics), she enlisted the co-operation of a table mate in performing the feat.
Unfortunately, the operation developed a bit of a hitch. The dishes all clattered to the floor except for the big bowl of rice that flew up in a graceful backward arc and landed squarely on the praying Sister’s head.
Pandemonium rained and when the smoke–or should I say the rice–cleared, the Pearl was expelled from the convent school with the explanation from the Mother Superior, “I’d rather take care of a hundred wild water buffaloes.”
So you see, there really is no secret to my 30-year marriage to the Pearl of the Orient. I’m just hanging around waiting to see what will happen next.

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