Widgets Magazine

Jun 22, 2011

My Father-in-Law

Fathers’ Day week wouldn’t be the same without a tribute to my amazing father-in-law. He was born in 1917 and his dad died in the flu epidemic of 1918. His mom was pregnant with baby #4 and even though she was a girl, she named her Clyde after her deceased husband.

My FIL grew up during the Depression and joined the army to try to keep his brother from being drafted, but it didn’t work…his brother had to serve anyway. I have at least a dozen good army stories for you, but I’ll save them for another time. He married his first wife during one of his few trips on leave. He survived the war, and spent some time on the beaches of Normandy.

This is my MIL and FIL with their six kids.
His first marriage produced a couple of kids, but eventually he and his wife divorced and he married my mother-in-law. She was in her early 20s and he was in his early 40s and it all created quite a scandal in their tiny hometown. They became the parents of six children, and my sweetie was second and the oldest son. My father-in-law was a plumber by trade and a wonderfully kind and generous man. He was not a church-going man, but he spent many long hours helping the poor and the widows with their problems without charging them a cent. He often wore green or blue Dickies and his shirt had what he called a “magic pocket.” In that pocket he always had cash that he would hand to my MIL when she was going to the store, or when we were first married he would force a twenty on my sweetie to help us with gas money to get home after a visit.

Bossy and the Gym Rat loved Grandpa and his huge garden! In the fall we would visit often to help with the harvest and he always insisted that we bring home fresh veggies and later in the season, jars of beans, applesauce, and tomatoes.

One of my fondest memories of him happened when I was 8 months pregnant with the Drama Queen. It was July1989, and we were driving the hour and a half to visit. My sweetie couldn’t leave until after work, so it was evening and nearly dark. The roads were mountainous, but since it was summer, we were not concerned about deer and elk like we were when we traveled these roads in the winter. We were zipping along at the speed limit, anxious to reach our destination. Bossy and the Gym Rat were asleep in their car seats in the back seat and my sweetie was driving. I had on a tent-sized dress and flip-flops. It was hot, but the air conditioner made it a bit more bearable. We were chatting about this and that when suddenly a huge deer flashed through our headlights and before my sweetie even had time to react, it smashed into the windshield and bounced off onto the side of the road. Both kids started screaming as my sweetie struggled for control of the vehicle. It was impossible to see through the windshield and tiny shards of glass were everywhere. He carefully maneuvered the car onto the shoulder of the road and climbed out to inspect the damage. I tried to calm the chaos in the back seat and make sure the kids were not hurt by the flying glass.

Within minutes, a truck pulled over to help. The driver was kind enough to give us a ride into town and we showed up at my in-laws’ door in terrible shape. My sweet father-in-law took one look at us and led my hugely pregnant body to a chair in the kitchen. Then he filled a dishpan with warm soapy water and knelt on the floor in front of me and proceeded to wash the tiny pieces of broken glass from my bare feet. In several places, drops of blood beaded up as he gently sponged away the hurt. After he was finished, he moved me to the couch and then headed out to take care of our crippled vehicle. I have never forgotten his love and concern for me.

He passed away in October of that same year from a massive heart attack that took him quickly and quietly in his favorite recliner that we had given him. We have tried to keep his memory alive even though none of our children remember him. I promise I will tell you a few more stories from his life someday soon. A man like him should never be forgotten.

Grandpa and Bossy


Lovingmomofthree said...

He sounds like an amazing man and a huge fountain of history.

Katie said...

He sounds like a wonderful person, thank you for sharing a little about him.

mom2kiddos said...

What a wonderful tribute to your FIL. He sounds like a great man. I'm so touched by how he showed concern for you. Thanks for sharing.

Lacy@uphillandsmiling said...

This is a beautiful tribute. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful FIL in your life :)

Samantha said...

He sounds like an amazing man. What a lovely tribute to him.


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