Sunday, November 29, 2009

What She’s Learned: Sheri Venema

Married to a younger man, Baltimore; interviewed a day before her 62nd birthday, with thanks to Esquire magazine for the inspiration.

I don’t think I could love a man who thought Sarah Palin would be good for the country.

Ozark was the best dog because she loved us more than unconditionally. I don’t know if that’s possible, but she trusted us so completely. You just can’t let down a dog. I felt like Ozark sort of opened my soul.

I’ve never seduced a younger man. Not like Mrs. Robinson did.

I do not understand why my husband is so crazy about the Muppets. Just today he made me watch the Muppets singing the Bohemian Rhapsody, and I couldn’t stand it.

He showed he was young by the way he dressed. Goofy shorts. A Grateful Dead T-shirt at the office. Very unprofessional. He cooked on a hot plate.

Don’t meet the parents for the first time in the midst of all of his other relatives. We’re at a Christmas party. One of his cousins videotaped us as we came in the door. Everyone else belonged to a club I wasn’t part of yet, plus I was the older woman. The pictures of me from that day, my shoulders are drawn up toward my ears.

I’m delighted to learn why it’s not easy being green, but that’s as far as I get the Muppets.

On the other hand, my husband had never heard the song “Summertime” when I met him.

A younger man can learn to be a very good cook if you’re willing to let him in the kitchen. He’ll probably never clean the refrigerator.

My best beach in the world is Otter Creek on Lake Michigan. It has Petoskey stones, it has birch trees, it has long expanses of empty beach you can have to yourself. My idea of a good beach is not a boardwalk with sno-cones.

I’ll never be buried in the same cemetery with my parents.

Why did I attract a younger guy? Because we knew each other in Bulgaria in the 12th century. What a stupid question.


  1. Love this. Thank you Sheri -- and Happy Birthday!

  2. I thought the Muppets video rocked, but had to show my girlfriend both the original Queen video and the Henson-clan's adaptation. Still not sure if she shared my enthusiasm, but she was a tremendously good sport about the whole thing.

  3. OK, OK. Maybe I was a little hard on the Muppets. Maybe what I really didn't get was Bohemian Rhapsody. On the other hand, I am crazy for Van Morrison, especially the "Astral Weeks" tour CD. Thanks for the birthday wish, Courtney. I had a great one.

  4. Really one of the best "what I learned" pieces ever. Happy (late) birthday (again), Divine Miss S.

  5. Thanks, Katrina. You're too kind, as always. I think of you as always watching (as poets will) and learning as life goes whirling by, so would love to read YOUR "what I've learned" list.

  6. This is beautiful. Thanks Sheri.

  7. Sheri,
    You are right. Oh Wokandah how I miss Otter Creek.
    Michigan pulls me in my heart daily.

    It is home.

    Happy Birthday, from an old Junior boy staffer to a younginheart Junior Girl staffer.

    John Hilliard