A few years before she passed, my paternal grandmother spoke to my father regarding me, saying, “Annmarie has had a very difficult life.” I know this because my father complained to me that she had troubled him with it, speaking just one accusing line to me, “Your grandmother says that you have had a very difficult life.” I was nonplused. My life was obviously difficult, what did he mean? Was this the beginning of a pointless argument? About what? But he was drinking so I did not ask questions, and my father said nothing more. It was as if he had met his mother’s instruction to speak to me on the matter, he had spoken those words, he felt that his task was complete, and now he would have another drink.
A tough row to hoe was something my mother would say to me to shrug off my requests for help in life. She would literally turn away from me and say, “Well, that’s a tough row to hoe.” Her meaning was that is hard for you, don’t talk to me about it. When I asked her what my paternal grandmother had meant, my mother had nothing much to say. Clearly my life was a daunting task, full of “dirt”, lots of rocks, long-rooted problems, and precious little help. I have sorted it out to the best of my ability.
Caption: A Tough Row To Hoe
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018