My husband wants to claim he is the most romantic husband in town because he brings me fresh flowers for our dining room table so often. He does, but he picks them from the flower gardens I have planted, tilled, watered and weeded all summer.
Now that it is late summer the flowers have suffered from the high heat and lack of rain water. They are not very pretty so he brought me what he claimed made the prettiest centerpiece of the year. There on our dining room table he put a pretty white bowl centered by an enormous potato. It will remain there until his kids and friends have enjoyed this beauty he found in his potato patch.
Computer problems had me tied to my office chair for several days. My sister was here visiting during that time but my husband took over everything in the kitchen so that we could work on restoring programs and data into a new computer. That means he even set the table -- with whatever centerpiece he chose -- and with the place mats and napkins of his choice. We noticed and smiled, but made no comments on the Christmas place mats and Easter napkins we used for every meal during my sister's September visit.
My grandson and his friends decided to get Mohawk haircuts in preparation for the new school year. They were all very pleased with their new looks. My grandson came home with this long tuft of hair down the center of his head, the rest of it shaved to the skin. The hair was waxed or lacquered so that it would stand straight up. His mom did not like it. His dad did not like it. He went to baseball practice and fit right in with the rest of the team and their similar haircuts but the coach did not like it. The boys soon all looked like they had been scalped. The Mohawks were shaved off. Coach decided what was and what was not beautiful that time.
My sister-in-law thought she was doing us a favor when she had a professional come to wallpaper her stairwell leading to the second floor of her home. We had previously done all her wallpapering. I could see it would have been a very tricky place to work, but my mother-in--law, who was very proud of her expertise in hanging paper and matching patterns, was feeling rejected. That is, until we saw the finished project. My sister-in-law proudly showed us the newly papered area, singing its praises. She thought it was gorgeous. All we saw was that one very long strip of patterned paper was hung upside down. Ma confided her reaction to me later: I'm glad I don't have to look at that mistake every time I walk down those stairs.
I offer all of this as proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every beholder has his or her own opinion. Those opinions can vary tremendously. I refer again to the potato centerpiece. It may not have been a thing I would proclaim as beautiful but I appreciated it as a conversation starter and a source of some good laughs. And that is when my initial reaction was altered.
Watching a friend break into laughter is truly a thing of beauty to all beholders.