And remember how my father-in-law took FOR-EV-ER cleaning fish outside...while we were all inside
Well, the next morning, Jim got up early to go fishing with his Dad. When the rest of us came downstairs for breakfast, we found out why it had taken my father-in-law so long to clean the fish the night before: he was decorating.
Side note: They have a very small kitchen, with cabinets on one side, and the frig, sink, dishwasher and oven on the other. There is not much room at all. In fact, if someone is at the sink and someone else needs to get to the frig, you kind of have to turn sideways to get by.
I don't know why this is important, because it's NOT.
Anyway, this area is divided by a bar...and it's a TALL bar. My mother-in-law used to have bar-stools there, but the bar was so high that no one wanted to sit there. Plus, she used regular-sized bar-stools and that was no good because they just didn't fit at all. So she moved the bar-stools upstairs, and added shelves on top of the bar. Then she stacked all of her
Seriously, coffee cups and mugs of all kinds. Cream and sugar sets...tea pots...baskets. OH MY WORD AT THE BASKETS. And she has some little "signs" sprinkled around everywhere. One of her signs says, "Happy Easter."
And we can't forget the "bat alarms." The milk jugs that are on the verrrrrry top of all of this mess...nearly touching the ceiling.
Again. Don't know why I'm sharing this. Maybe so that my kids can describe it to their children one day. Words really cannot even come close.
Where was I again?
Oh yes...the decorating.
In front of the long kitchen table, is a big, bay window. My mother-in-law has 3 chairs sitting in front of that window. We call them the "truth chairs," because she wants to sit there all the live-long-day and talk about everything and every ONE and look out at the lake and watch the hummingbirds and in general keep up with what all is going on everywhere.
And sleep. She loves her a nap.
But those truth chairs? They have magical powers. My in-laws have a pretty "open" house. We have never been there when it's just our family...someone is ALWAYS dropping by. And they just walk right in. No one ever knocks. My in-laws welcome everyone in, so the truth chairs have gotten a lot of use. When people sit in them, it's like they lose all of their inhibitions and sense of decorum, and before you know it, they are telling all of their family secrets.
I try to avoid sitting in those chairs at all cost.
This particular morning, we looked out the window, and there around the deck...on the trees...in the potted plants...on the clothesline...on the hanging plant holders...on anything that could support weight...were fish skeletons. Head and all. My father-in-law had strategically placed them all around the deck area after he finished cleaning them the night before.
It was like Christmas in Zombie-land.
And he did it on purpose to freak us all out.
Y'all, seriously...who DOES this?
We asked him why he did it, because the smell...well, that was the added little bonus (that, and the FLIES)...and he said it was to "keep the evil spirits away."
Which, that didn't work because some of the cantankerous family members showed up anyway.
I'M JUST KIDDING.
I took a little walk around their property and saw several other interesting things. He had hung two broken bikes on the clothesline...lovely.
And there was also a broken tricycle tied up to a post...with a short piece of Christmas garland wound around it. Festive, right?
I thought about my Mom...and her house. Everything was always so...pretty. Everything matched. It all went together. There was never any rotting flesh or bones of any kind. Ever.
As I looked around my in-law's place...I can't even...
I mean...there are just no words for these people. I love them with all of my heart, but they are so...different.
And, listen, they know it...and they embrace it. It's kind of like Julia Sugarbaker said in that one episode of Designing Women:
"I'm saying this is the South. And we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off."
"The LORD is my refuge...the rock of my protection." Psalm 94:19