By Richard Karnes

Guest Columnist

I go to McDonald's most mornings for coffee and socialization. I am a table hopper, so I hear very different conversations. Some I know something about and others I don't, but I'm a good listener. The conversation one day was about a purse one of the women had.

The relationship a woman has with her purse is one I don't quite understand, and from the looks of the men around me, they didn't either. Even the Queen of England is usually seen clutching a purse, which according to the news, she uses to communicate with her bodyguards. It all means something — depending on which arm she is carrying her purse on or if she sits it down.

Purses can come in all sizes, shapes, colors and types of fabric. It doesn't matter if a woman has five or 10 purses, depending on the style or color of one they may see in a store, hey may need just one more. A purse is changed quite often depending the season, the outfit that is being worn, etc. I asked my wife why she changes her purse so much — who cares? I was told she cares and other women notice purses.

The relationship is really ingrained in women. I remember one incident when I was the manager of the Reed City Hospital Long Term Care (Now RNC — Rehabilitation Nursing Center), that really dramatized for me the relationship between a woman and her purse. One of our female residents was really agitated and the fact she was also confused made the situation of trying to manage her agitation more difficult.

One of the CNAs said she wanted to try to something. She went to the storeroom and found a purse from the items that had been donated to the residents. She put several items in it: a comb, pad of paper with pen, tissues, etc., and gave it to her; the transformation was amazing.

Within a very short time, she was a different woman. Her mood was one of being content, she was holding onto her purse, and every so often would put something else in it. I guess that relationship existed even in her confusion; it may have been her one touch with reality.

Gentlemen! I was told by my wife, and every woman I talked to before writing this, that there was only one rule for us men regarding their purses. Leave their purse and purses alone. I want to tell you, speaking from experience: Don't ever throw one away without asking, no matter what it looks like.

There is, however, a time when we may find ourselves in possession of their purse. We may be asked while shopping with them, "Will you hold my purse for a minute?" That can be a minute or 10 minutes, depending when you realize you're still walking around holding their purse. Quite often, you see a guy give a smile and a nod; he's been there, done that and has the T-shirt.

A shopping cart comes in real handy for those times, whether you need one or not.