Reflections: The Best Job in the World by Mary Cook

by Edith Cody-Rice 

The beloved Ottawa Valley storyteller Mary Cook is appearing at Mill Street Books this Saturday at 2 p.m. with her 12th book, Reflections: The Best Job in the World. It is a collection of her essays on a wide variety of topics from her long broadcasting and writing career. Folksy, down to earth and witty, she speaks to the reader about life in all its variety with a home spun wisdom that makes one laugh out loud, all alone in the living room. You feel as though you are having a conversation with a close friend over a glass of wine. Her reflections cover gifts, home, opposites attract, modern life, valley people, phrases she could live without and a host of other topics which she dispatches efficiently and in a few pages.

Take her reflections on sick husbands.  titled “When Men Are Ill”. She introduces the subject by zeroing in on the men who regress to their childhoods (this is for minor illnesses, mind). She says The first group want to be pampered. They revert back to childhood, and if most of them weren’t so darn big, they would like you to rock them in a rocking chair.

Of the second group to which her husband Wally belongs, she says, He wants to be alone in the bedroom with the curtains closed and the lights out. …At any rate, he eats nothing. He wants no contact with any other human being and has been known to grovel like a dog if I forget to unplug the telephone in the bedroom. Haven’t we all been there, with one or the other reaction.

She relates a solution a friend found which is pretty simple. If she hasn’t heard a peep out of the bedroom for a three days, she takes a piece of raw meat out of the fridge, sneaks down the hall to the bedroom, opens the door a smidgen and tosses it in. She says she is always amazed that she never lays eyes on the meat again. She has no idea what he does with it. 

Doesn’t it all have the ring of truth, and great gentle country humour? Each essay is only a few pages long, so you can dip into it for 10 minutes or an hour and get something rather uplifting from it. I loved this book.