Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mary Louise Cratty 1926-2013

My wife was not particularly fond of me after one month of courtship. Her intention was to dump me and move on, but her mother didn’t know that and pressured Summer into bringing me to meet them at a local dealership where she was looking at a vehicle with her husband and mother.

Despite the fact Summer's father is built like a brick shithouse and her mother has the ability to size people up in a nanosecond, I was comfortable meeting her parents. Her grandmother was another story.

Grandparents don't sugarcoat their true feelings and it doesn’t take much to offend them. I was told her grandmother immediately disliked her previous boyfriend and her disapproval never wavered. I was sure I would be confronted by a weathered old broad who tries to smoke on airplanes and intentionally runs any stop sign that went up in her hometown after 1972.

Instead, what I saw at the dealership was an adorable unassuming woman strolling around the lot with light bouncing off the colorful jewels on her jacket, wondering aloud what she might look like cruising around town in a yellow VW Beetle. I loved her instantly.

I didn’t get dumped after all. I am sure her family’s seal of approval, including her grandmother's, had something to do with that.

I was blessed to share more than four years worth of experiences with Summer's grandmother. I watched an intoxicated woman excitedly lifted her off the casino floor at Excalibur in Las Vegas. I sat in my in-laws kitchen and listened to her give a spot-on breakdown of a Boston Celtics game when I didn’t think she even knew it was basketball season. While my in-laws were on vacation, we popped over to help with a few chores and I was delighted to learn the annoying ducks in her garage were purchased by Jerry “at the hillbilly auction.”

Summer, Seth, and Mary Louise in VEGAS!

We sometimes take these moments for granted. We assume each passing year will give way to another fresh slate on which we’ll write new stories. When you go to a car dealership hoping to win the favor of an elderly woman whose granddaughter may dump you within the week, you don’t take anything for granted. You appreciate each moment and hope it’s not the last you get to be a part of.

I love being part of my wife’s family for more reasons than I can count. One of them was getting to know her grandmother. Now, like the rest of her amazing family, I will tell the stories and enjoy the memories.

And I’ll smile every time I see a yellow VW Beetle, hopefully on it’s way to pick up ducks at the hillbilly auction.

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