My dear sweet mother-in-law celebrated her 96th birthday with various members of her family at the Sundance Mountain Resort Tree Room; one of Laverne’s favorite places to eat. Ron and Carma, Duane and Julie, Jill and myself attended her. The food was OK at best; I would have expected better from a restaurant the Forbes Travel Guide rated “Four Stars.”
What can I say about Laverne as I think back on the 35 years I have known her. Well, she has been and is the best mother-in-law one could ever hope to have. She has never stuck her nose or involved herself in our marriage. LaVerne has never been critical of me except once; that was just recently. We were having a picnic on her patio, and I got after my daughter about how short her skirt was. Well, LaVerne jumped in on her defense and chewed me out royally… guess I kind of had that one coming.
The three most prominent memories I have of LaVerne was when I asked her for permission to marry her daughter and two other times which both evoked one of her favorite phrases “good lardy.”
Permission to Marry
The first, of my three most prominent memories, was when I asked her to marry Jill. The first night I went to LaVerne’s house to ask her for permission, we just chatted because I couldn’t get up the courage to ask her… She knew the reason I was there but was kind and patient with a lot of smiles thrown in during our conversation. The following evening I finally got up the courage to ask, and her response was “I think that would be alright!” I thanked her and took off!
The second situation happened just before our marriage. As it turned out, Jill and I were wrestling around on LaVerne’s front room floor; which included some necking and kissing. Apparently, LaVerne came home a little bit early from work, and we obviously didn’t hear her come in. Anyway, the moment she walked into her front room and observed the activities taking place, she let out of a shriek of “good lardy,” then turned around and left in such a rush. Needless to say, I didn’t show-up around her house for a couple of weeks.
The third incident happened a couple of years after we were married. I had just finished talking to Jill in the front room of her mother’s house and didn’t know anyone else was home. I got up to get a soda, and when I went into the hallway, I thought it was my wife bent over picking something up in the doorway at the end of the hall. So I had this bright idea to sneak up behind her and playfully smack her on rear-end. Once I had done the deed, there was a shriek and an “Oh my lardy!” LaVerne stood straight up and turned around and said, “Mark, what are you doing?” I immediately said with a red face, “I thought you were Jill” and then turned around and headed for the door. Needless to say, I didn’t show up for another couple of weeks.
There are many “fonder” memories of her; picnics, outings, trips, etc. and especially Christmas’s. I believe we have slept over at LaVerne’s home every Christmas Eve, except one, since we got married. Overall, she has been very supportive and encouraging of our marriage over the years. She has been an exemplary grandmother to all of her progeny, and they all love her as dearly as do I.
As far as Jill is concerned, there is no one above her mother. Jill has been unrelenting in supporting her and taking care of her in her current frailties; as if she is on a mission of sorts.
I have learned a great deal from LaVerne over the years… patience, tolerance, and kindness towards others. But, I think the biggest lesson she has taught me was the importance of loyalty to family. She is fierce in defending her grandkids and great-grandkids under any and all circumstances and criticisms, whether right or wrong.
I wish her the strength to endure to the end as she completes this final phase of her life and as she prepares to return to her Father in Heaven, Savior, husband and other loved ones that have previously passed to the other side. Happy Birthday, LaVerne!