Saturday, July 6, 2013

here's to the in-laws

Every second year, my wife's mom's family (that would be the in-laws [question, if my wife's family are my in-laws, does that make my family outlaws?  Hmmm.  The answer would probably be yes, thank god!]) have a family reunion.  Today is the day.  Out to the lake we go to see people we haven't seen, some for two years.  But after 40 years of marriage, I at least recognize most of them.  They're the usual Midwest family, so there will be enough food for most of South Dakota.  And it WILL be good!  The frightening thing is, we are quickly becoming the "older" generation.  Attrition is inevitable, I guess!  Anyhoo.  The day reminds me of Cath's parents.  I wish you all could have met Esther.  She was an amazing woman.  The first few times we met, she wasn't sure what her daughter had done.  She had one son-in-law who adored her, and she, him, so at times our relationship was cordial but cool.  As we got to know each other, that changed completely.  I could not have asked for a more caring, supportive mother-in-law.  Few men are lucky enough to have two mothers who care for them!  Now, you have to understand, there are stories to tell.  You see, Esther was not what you would call liberal in her language or demeanor.  I believe the best descriptor would be "proper".  She and Wid had been up to Brained for some kind of get-together, and upon her return, we're sitting in their kitchen and out of the blue, Esther says, "I heard a story," and proceeds to ask, "Do you know why the Dairy Queen got pregnant?"  Of course, none of responded.  I believe were were caught off guard.  After a beat, she says, "Because the Burger King forgot to wrap his whopper!"  Needless to say, I had to leave the room before I exploded.  To this day, I'm quite sure she didn't understand the joke, but it certainly made an impression on the rest of us!  Then there was Wid.  Wid was the all-American boy next door.  Athletic, well-mannered, proper, did I mention athletic?!  While Esther may have wondered what her daughter was thinking, Wid I'm sure wondered what should he think of a man who would rather cook than play ball, act rather than hunt, in other words, pretty much the opposite of him.  But he NEVER suggested or showed disappointment.  Instead, over the years we developed the kind of relationship you only have with mutual respect.  He would have done anything for us, and the same was true for us.  My parents were overtly loving and caring.  Wid and Esther had a quiet way of letting you know you were important to them.  All four parents are gone.  All had an amazing impact on our lives.  But today, as I stuff my face, converse with the relatives, and enjoy the out of doors, I will remember Esther and Wid, and give thanks for yet another proof that life is good!  And you are loved!

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