So, DH and I have begun a new tradition. We have a dinner party for his family, all the siblings and their partners during the Christmas season. I find the first Monday of the month the best. That makes me get my house decorated early, and there are fewer conflicts that early in the month.
I serve easy to fix, eat and clean up meals. I could go all out and do the "hostess with the mostest" thing but I choose to sit back and relax and enjoy the company. So I keep that night very simple. That is because I don't have "expectations" from my dear in-laws. We all just want to be together.
Things have changed over the past year, since our first dinner party. My DH lost a brother. There is a hole in our hearts since then. He was a quiet man, quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. And everyone depended on him. He was a mentor for my DH most of his life. When we were first married Errol and Myrna would have us over for dinner. Errol always took DH fishing, deer hunting, duck hunting, goose hunting, elk hunting, and even Christmas Tree hunting.
This year Myrna came, alone. We all love her. She is one of us. Did I tell you how much we love her? We do. She is always happy, and jokes. She tells the best stories, and pulls the funniest faces. She is one of those people who always makes you feel better, just from being with her.
One year we went to the lava's to get our Christmas tree with Errol and Myrna. We got a Cedar tree. It was beautiful and fragrant. We took it home and decorated it. It was even more fragrant when we got the lights on the tree. The heat from the lights made the scent stronger. We only had one or two kids back then. It was a very very very long time ago.
We went to bed.....and my eyes were burning......I couldn't breathe........the tree smelled so good, so very good. Then my eyes started to water, and I really couldn't breathe.........
My DH and I got out of bed and carried the fully decorated tree outside and sat it in the front yard.
I was allergic!
Anyway, back to the dinner party.....and the wonderful people we fed....
We laughed, we sighed, we reminisced, we ate, and laughed, and ate, and told stories of long ago.
This is Dennis. He is the brother younger than DH. He is quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. So is his wife, Freen.
They have built a cabin, all by themselves, in Island Park. They have paid for it as they built it! It is one I covet. The inside is all wood and they have done a remarkable job on their cabin!
This is Bowen. He is the brother that is just older than my DH. He is quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. So is his wife, Merlynn.
Bowen has been a bishop, TWICE. I don't know why the camera didn't pick up his wings or his halo, because he has them. He is very special to all of his siblings. He had polio as a 2 year old. He had to stay in an iron lung (they don't have them anymore). He has always taken very good care of his body, kept his weight down, exercised, and eats properly. He doesn't take for granted a healthy body.
He was still pretty sick when my DH was born. My mother in law had her hands full.....because they lived on a farm, and had a bunch of kids. They ended up having 10 children....DH is number 6 of 10.
Bowen is married to Merlynn......the one who is always happy and laughs, and is a joy to be around.
Bowen and Merlynn got married 2 weeks before we did! Can you imagine how hard that was on my in laws. What were we thinking????? Merlynn had broken her ankle just before they were married. She was in a cast at their wedding..... Sad huh!!!
They have 5 wonderful kids. Their son Shilo came to stay with us for a week when we lived in Arizona. I will always have fond memories of him coming to see us.
All through the dinner party I watched my DH. He was in 7th Heaven. He loves his siblings. They all love each other. There is never a cross word said between each other. They don't judge, quarrel, compete, or anything like unto it. They show respect, love, and concern at all times for each other.
DH doesn't have his beard anymore. I like seeing it here.....because......now .... it is gone!
DH loves his siblings enough that he carved wooden spoons for each one of them for Christmas. You have to be really high on his list to get a wooden spoon from him. He saves them for his favorite people in the whole world.
Kaye is the oldest sister of the 10 children. There is a brother, Terry, who was the first born, but he wasn't able to come to our party this year. Kaye is always so quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. She and David lived in our neighborhood when we were married, and she would come over and help me with my new baby. I remember when she came and tended me and my baby when I was suffering with a breast infection. She was my angel! Boy, did I need her help!
I wish I had a better picture of Kaye, on this fun night. She is so happy all the time. I have never heard her say an unkind word about someone. What an example she is to me.
My photographer was trying to be hidden and taking pictures when the subject didn't know they were in the cameras eye. So some pictures are dark, or blurry, but they are priceless anyway, because of the person they show me/you.
Kaye lost her husband, David in 1999. He had a fishing accident. They had just retired. He was 65 years young! It wasn't supposed to be like that. But, not many years later we lost the father of these 10 wonderful children, and we were glad then, that David was "up there" waiting for the rest of us. He had gone ahead to prepare a place for each of us. Since that time, 2 more members of the extended family have passed this life, as well as their brother.
DH has a sister, Rochelle. She is older than Bowen. Are you confused yet, as who is who, and where they all fit...me too. It has taken a few years to get it straight. Rochelle is married to Garth. Rochelle is quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. She is also one of the best cooks on this planet! She has written a cookbook. It is just for the family and not everyone got a copy of it. She should have it published! She would give The Pioneer Woman a run for her money.
I wish this photo wasn't so blurry. Then you could see that she doesn't have any wrinkles. I try to love her anyway. She is a wonderful seamstress! She makes quilts, and clothes and everything in between. She even made each one of us a gift for Christmas and delivered them to us the night of our party.
Rochelle is a nurse. She was smart and went to school in her youth. It came in very handy for her as she raised her children. Rochelle and Garth have 5 children. Unfortunately, 2 of them were born with Cystic Fibrosis. Rochelle used her nursing knowledge and skills and cared for her sick children and gave a good life to them. They both lived much longer than the doctors ever said they would.
Perrin, the son, came to see us in Arizona. He took our daughter Kattie to a football game at ASU. Perrin had connections to the players, and one in particular. That great big football player took care of Perrin and Kattie and they had a wonderful time. That is a special memory for all of us who saw Perrin then. He was quiet, tender, shy, and one of my favorite people in the world. He is missed.
So is his sister, Becky. She was a "spit fire". She had so much energy and determination. Every time we came back to Idaho, Becky made sure we saw her. We generally went to lunch at her favorite, and our favorite Mexican restaurant. She was sometimes on oxygen, and sometimes she didn't feel very good, but she wouldn't miss out date. Every time we eat there now, we feel her with us.
Becky did cross stitch. We have one of her framed pieces. It is priceless to us.
The dinner party was a relaxed and wonderful evening for us. We don't get to spend very much time together, as we all have grown children and our own busy lives, but we sure enjoyed being together.
We may not look like we were having fun all the time, but we were.
We ate Hors oeuvre's and then two kinds of soup, salad, rolls, and wonderful desserts. The menu was good, but it isn't always about the food. It isn't always about the paper bowls that I used for dessert, because I was out of clean glass bowls. It is about the love we partook of. It wasn't about the rolls, that weren't the prettiest I have ever made. It was about the unconditional love in this family. It was about the "missing" those who weren't able to make it this year. We missed three younger sisters who live too far away to come. We missed an older brother who couldn't make it. We missed a brother in law who was away with his work, and couldn't make it back in time. It was about the family. The memories. The way they are so different, but so much a like. The way each one has carried burdens, and do today, and how we all support one another through the hard times. How we all cherish our time together. It is all about being a family. They are quiet, tender, shy, and some of my favorite people in the world.
I have to say, "Thank you to this wonderful family. They love me. They accept me. They have influenced my life in so many good and wonderful ways. I will love them forever. Thank you for letting me share in your lives. Thank you for sharing your brother with me. I love him with all my heart. He is my Darling Husband everyday, because of the family he came from. Thank You!"
A family forever. That is what it is all about.