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Daughter Number 5 and Family
Our Becky, "the Whistler", youngest of our five girls was supposed to wait until we returned from my Veteran's Reunion aboard the Queen Mary at Long Beach, California. But time and tide and the birth of her youngest daughter wait for no man, and we dropped by the hospital on the way home to visit our granddaughter, Shawna. Lucille, as has been her custom upon the birth of our numerous grandchildren to have the new mother and the baby spend some time with us until able to look after her new baby, so of course she expected our son-in-law Rusty, Becky's husband, to bring her to our home when she was able to leave the hospital.

Reminiscing, Lucille said she felt so sorry for Becky. She had LaShay, age 4, and Jay Russell, age 1, under foot and now the baby to look after.  But then she got to thinking, when Lucille was Becky's age, she already had Nancy age 9, Karen age 7, Christy age 5, and Susan age 2 1/2 and then here comes our Becky. Remembering at that time we had outdoor plumbing, no disposable diapers, a washtub for a bathtub, a "solar" dryer in the backyard consisting of a backyard fence to supplement a clothesline, wood cook stove, my elderly parents including my invalid mother to help look after, and a leaky roof (we were in the process of remodeling). These are just a few of the inconveniences Lucille can call to mind (plus an unsympathetic husband, she was kind enough to add!)

But just a few words in my own defense, I like that character Saul in the Old Testament, was real busy with my "stuff and things" like trying to make a living in my inept way of raising cows and peanuts on borrowed money, hampered by a combination of low prices, dry weather, wet weather, and poor management.

But, Lucille, remembering her difficulties at a comparative period in her own life and thinking of Becky, whose husband, Rusty, had provided her with a spacious comfortable home with a roof that did not leak, a washer/dryer, indoor plumbing (such luxury!), disposable diapers, air-conditioned home, even such luxuries as running water and bathtubs instead of a wash tub.  All these and others like electric cook stoves instead of wood, microwave ovens--anyhow, Lucille did not feel near as sympathetic for Becky's situation, but nevertheless, she was happy for Rusty to bring our Becky and her three to stay with us until she and Rusty were able to take over.

But I stayed busy, too, looking after my "stuff and things" and staying out from under foot.

But this started out with son-in-laws as the subject, and I should at the very least give Becky's husband credit...as I have already in providing her and the three children a comfortable home, encouraging and cooperating with such things as LaShay's athletic programs, Jay Russell's baseball (a pitcher!), and Shawna's music, besides being active in the postal service, real estate, and various other activities. I only mention a few of the very talented accomplishments of these delightful grandchildren, most of which we have not been able to attend as we are still busy with our "stuff and things" here at home, but at the very least we should give due credit to Rusty, who in addition to being a good provider for Becky and her children, also has the responsibility of his parents, both in poor health.

Having said this, I should also say on at least one occasion I violated a cardinal rule in my relationship with son-in-laws---never give advise or criticize. On this occasion, I had given them a good-sized Israeli cantaloupe, and I happened to notice Rusty in the
kitchen peeling it.

I said, "Hey Rusty, that's no way to prepare a cantaloupe!"

His response, "If you know a better way, have at it." 

Now I don't do dishes or do cantaloupes, so I left it with him. (But I thought, "How dumb! The very idea, peeling a cantaloupe!"

However, I heard in the news only recently, some home demonstration agent (not Dena Monteith) said the most sanitary
way to prepare a cantaloupe was to peel it. Perhaps I owe Rusty an apology, but that would go against another cardinal rule, never apologize to a son-in-law regardless of how much in error one may be.

But in case you should decide to follow the lady's advise and peel your cantaloupe, let me suggest the following precautions:

  • use a sharp knife---but not too sharp, preferably one with a curved blade

  • have a wet cloth handy and a band aid. You have heard the old adage "you can't get blood from a turnip." Well, let me tell you, it is equally hard to get blood stains off a peeled cantaloupe, and besides it is not sanitary

So in the future I shall prepare cantaloupes in the old-fashioned way until a cantaloupe peeling machine becomes available, or better yet, I will just let Lucille do it.

Printed in the Comanche Chief newspaper, June 24, 1999