This past weekend we celebrated my father-in-law's 83rd birthday. Because he is hard of hearing and is rather persnickety in his taste in food, he doesn't enjoy eating out all that much. That's too bad for me because I love going out to eat! This means that most family celebrations are held here at my house with the food cooked by yours truly. Not that I'm complaining. Thankfully I enjoy cooking and have some form of "help" most of the time, but, let's just say relaxing it's not. I digress. My mother-in-law invited us over for dinner to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. This is not a common occurrence. My mother-in-law gets really stressed out when she has people over so an invitation to dinner rarely happens. She had recently set her kitchen on fire when she tried to put out a grease fire with water which I've since learned is not the proper extinguisher. That might have something to do with her anxiety.
We arrived at their house to find the table beautifully set complete with white table cloths and tiny silver forks that none of us really know what to do with. My mother-in-law immediately shooed us all out of the kitchen while my father-in-law served us hors doeuvres and something to drink. There is nothing that gives my father-in-law more joy than giving. This usually takes the form of some kind of food. Once he finds out you like a certain candy bar, etc. you will be receiving truckloads of it the next time you visit! Poor Kristen was served German sausages for years because she mentioned once that she like hot dogs.
Dinner of meat, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and salad was finally ready. This is his meal of choice that I swear he could eat every single day. Maybe it's a German thing. The food was delicious and the kids cleaned their plate which is a high compliment! They used the tiny forks to eat their salads. After dinner we had a delicious Publix cake, Haagen Dazs Ice Cream and champagne even! As I was helping Mom do the dishes, I overheard him tell her,"Micky, you did good, how do you feel?" "Good, she said". Although short and to the point like most of his comments, It was the sweetest exchange I've ever heard. They had both worked as a team, were so proud of pulling it off without incident and were sweetly expressing their gratitude to each other. That dinner was the perfect illustration of a loving marriage to me that has lasted over 54 years. I have learned much from watching their marriage. How many pots of mashed potatoes has she lovingly prepared for him? How many movies has he watched with her which is her favorite pastime? He refers to her as the "wife of his yout" (some My Cousin Vinny movie reference that they both love) and keeps a childhood picture of her on his desk and talks about how beautiful she still is. She explains movie plots to him if they can't get closed caption and waits until after he has had a short nap after dinner to start it.
We thanked them for a lovely evening and told them they can invite us over anytime! They got a new fire extinguisher that is mounted on the wall near the sink, just in case.