When is enough really enough?
When I was a kid, we would visit my paternal grandmother in her hometown of Monroe, Georgia. I loved the town for many reasons. Her house was on a hill which gave us the chance to play all sorts of games not possible on the flat land of my own hometown.
There was an ice cream shop downtown just a short walk from her house, which was a luxury not available in Cottonwood, Alabama where I grew up. Through the eyes of a child, it was a huge city though it was just 8,000 people at the time.
Whenever we would visit, the first thing we would want to do was ride by the house down the street with the family of 18 kids. I cannot remember their names, or even if it was a blended family or the kids were all from the same parents. I just recall the thought of 18 children around the breakfast table was something my brother, sister and I could not imagine in our wildest dreams.
We would talk about different scenarios that applied to our own lives. For instance, how many bathrooms did it take to have them all get ready for school at the same time? Would it take three dozen eggs to have scrambled for the morning meal? How many washing machines did they have? Did they travel in a bus?
I haven’t thought about this family in years until I saw an item on the news recently about a man that had 25 wives. Winston Blackmore, of Bountiful, British Columbia, Canada admitted in court to having all of the wives at the same time. As I read the article, it was like I was a young kid again thinking this was beyond my wildest imagination.
Keep in mind, this is not a case of a man divorcing and remarrying. This is not a case of a man having families that were not aware of each other. This is a man married to 25 women at the same time and all these wives live together in a tiny town. Wow.
Blackmore belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Let me be completely clear that the mainstream Mormon Church renounced polygamy in the late 1800s and disputes any connection with this fundamentalist sect.
However, regardless of Mr. Blackmore’s beliefs, I found myself wondering about the logistics of such an arrangement. How do you remember the names of all 25 wives, much less each anniversary? Imagine the bill at the local Hallmark card store with all the cards for birthdays and anniversaries.
The article does not mention how many young Blackmores there are running around underfoot, but a picture in the news article shows children young enough to be in strollers. That by itself is another amazing feat given the Blackmore is 60 years old.
I am proud and blessed to have had one wife for 39 years. I am sure that ML would agree with me that a long marriage is a lot of work. I am also sure she could not imagine being married to two spouses at one time. Imagine what it must be like times 25!
When you are eating ribs or ice cream or potato chips, it is often hard to know when enough is enough. However, I would have to say without any reservation that when it comes to the number of spouses you should have at any given time, the magic number for me is one . . . thankfully, just one.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org