Mom and Dave knew each other over the years simply by living in the same small town. They didn't really "know" each other but they were familiar and said hello in passing. Fast forward many years and both were single-- Mom in her late 50s, Dave in his late 60s.
On their third date, they decided to get married! When Mom called to tell me she was marrying Dave, I blurted out "Who the hell is Dave?". Not a terribly joyful response, I know, but come on-- Three weeks? Was she crazy?
Our whole family was pretty freaked out. I have four siblings and let me tell you-- We burned up the phone lines the night we all got the wedding news. I lived in San Francisco at the time and booked a flight to Ohio the following weekend to check this guy out!
You see, my Mom was a great catch-- Beautiful, successful, independent, a fabulous cook, the works. I thought for sure she'd hit her head and was suffering from temporary insanity. That was the only logical explanation! And Dave-- well, he must have swept her off her feet in her compromised state and was really looking for a live-in maid-- not a great love.
Not on my watch!
When I arrived at the airport, there stood my beaming mother and a sweet looking guy I assumed was Dave. I hugged Mom warmly to send the message I was "protective" of her. Then, while I was giving him the once-over, Dave gave me a big hug like we were long lost friends. Oh, so that's the way it's going to be, huh? We'll see about that.
When we got to the parking lot, Dave put my luggage down and opened our car doors, then, dealt with the bags. The whole 40 minute drive home, Dave was friendly and chatty and well, I thought-- You gotta love a guy for trying-- but I wasn't buying it.
Mom didn't move when the car stopped in the driveway and told me to "stay put". Dave hopped out and came around to the passenger side, opened our doors and helped us both out. Then he carried my very heavy bags up the stairs and placed them in the guest room. Try as he may, it will take more than a few manners to soften me up.
The next day was Saturday and Mom ran the town's Farmer's Market. She was up at 4:30AM and I heard a car pull in the drive way shortly thereafter. It was Dave picking her up! He would help with set-up and keep Mom company at the Market. I'll admit, 4:30AM is not my favorite time of day so I really thought-- you gotta love a guy for trying.
Around noon I walked down to the Market. While Mom was busy, I cornered Dave and started firing questions at him-- Who, what, when, where and W H Y my Mother? He was lovely and sweet and gracious and funny and, damn-- really, really nice as he answered my questions. And everyone at the Market knew he was my Mom's boyfriend! Apparently my sibs and I were the last to know.
Later that night, Dave was cooking a big, meet-the-family-dinner to "officially celebrate" their engagement. My family is a very loud crowd. In fact, I suspect you might have heard a sonic boom when we're all in the same place at the same time. Tonight was no exception, except for when we said Grace.
Mom has us hold hands around the dinner table to say Grace before each meal. The difference this time was that Dave led the prayer. This was Mom's "territory" and I couldn't believe she was cutting her fave part of the meal loose after less than a month! Yikes, she must have really hit her head something fierce.
As soon as my brother took one bite of Dave's pot roast he was sold and suddenly the guy's new best friend. My youngest sister caved when she realized the biscuits were from scratch.
My other two sisters and I were holding our ground and playing 20 Questions with good old Dave. But he won my oldest sister over when she realized he also had 5 kids of his own, and my middle sister folded with his dog lover comment-- the suckers. But not me! I was there to defend our Mother's honor and get to the bottom of this guy's motives.
Mom played the whole thing very cool. I caught her winking a few times at Dave for moral support but she didn't bail him out of any tough questions. Honestly, Dave was going toe-to-toe with me and again, all I could say was-- you gotta love a guy for trying, but enough was enough! There simply had to be a "catch".
After clearing the dishes, Dave settled us all back at the table so he could "present" Mom with a special dessert. Ha! There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell Dave would come up with a perfect dessert for our Mom. He simply had not been around long enough to know Mom's favorite (and unusual) "dessert" foods-- The things she loves the most but you'd never know unless you spent a LOT of time with her. Mom will finally come out of her crazy, love-stuck spell!
And then he did it!
Dave walked out of the kitchen with Jello! Not just any Jello either. Dave found a recipe that used 1) Jello 2) Cool Whip 3) Cream Cheese and 4) Pretzels. ALL of Mom's favorite treats! Seriously, if she had her way, Mom would live on these four foods alone and Dave had a recipe that used them all at once-- And it was G O O D !
That night, with our very loud family gathered around Mom's dining table, eating Jello Salad, I knew I really loved Dave for not only trying, but for succeeding at making our Mom happy.
That dinner was more than 20 years ago.
What brings your family together?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna