I Was Already Naming the Lambs — Meatloaf, Ali Baba and Elias.

Dear Family,

Again, it has snowed — even though the azaleas have buds and the daffodils have burst through the ground. I am so over the cold, and another storm is on its way.  Why, oh why, must Mother Nature tease us so?

Speaking of mothers, Sidney and I were so pleased to learn that Mom W. wants to leave us the family homestead.  Already we are making plans for the Edith Grace Wenger Home for UnWed Dogs.  We so hope the furniture is included since we envision this as a home where girls in trouble can lie around in comfort and nestle in Mom’s homemade quilts.  Already we’re busy, busy, busy planning a puppy daycare, menus free of chicken and grain, a hair salon, etiquette school and a formal dining room with the table’s legs sawed off.

Of course, our enthusiasm doesn’t mean we want to rush anyone to the great beyond.  Mom looks and acts young for 159.  We celebrated her birthday at Pargo’s, and just as she was about to blow out the candles, fire trucks showed up.  I think the attention embarrassed her.

By the way, because the cake was decorated with a family portrait, we were only allowed to eat the edges, and there was not enough of those for seconds. She took the rest home and put it in the freezer where she can look at her children whenever she wants.

Your Favorite In-Law, T.

Dear Family,

The Friday before Mother’s Day, Mom W. told me that she and Pop were planning to hire a few sheep to mow the field at the side of their house.  I thought that was a splendid idea for reasons both practical and fun.  Within moments I was dreaming up names — Meatloaf, Ali Baba, Elias.

Perhaps you remember a couple of years ago when the folks rented a room to a woman who brought goats with her?  (Talk about a lax pet clause. . .)  Anyway, Mom and I spent some wonderful afternoons pulling weeds and feeding them through the fence of the pen, all the while laughing.  Then the renter moved, and the goats did, too, a while later. So, upon hearing about the sheep, a lovely vision of us playing with them came to mind — until she told me that they might put up an electric fence.

“What?” I protested.  “We won’t be able to feed the sheep.  We’ll get shocked!”

And here is what my mother-in-law said to me:  “It wouldn’t hurt you a bit to be shocked.”

The implication!  That I could do with a bit of electro-shock therapy!  I tell you, that broke my heart, and all of this came upon the heels of my 50th birthday which we celebrated with a Sunday dinner at her house.  But I didn’t know the party was for me until after the meal when I excused myself.  Upon coming out of the bathroom I saw the reflection of fire on the wall and immediately put two and two together,  Mom W. had set the kitchen ablaze!

But I was wrong.  It was the dining room.  Flames leaped from the fifty candles on my birthday cake.  Later my brother-in-law confessed that there were only 48 because he was too cheap to buy another box, but Mom W. said he was wrong.  She’d come up with two more and stuck them into that yummy whipped cream.

So, you can see how I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about my mother-in-law until she said that I could use a good shock.  Oh, well, I’m going to turn the other cheek because I don’t want to risk losing the Edith Grace Wenger Home for UnWed Dogs.

Your Favorite In-Law, T.

These are actual letters, edited down, that appeared in the family newsletters nine years ago.  I’m sharing them today in memory of my late mother-in-law, a sassy and kind woman whom I miss like crazy.  Monday would have been her birthday.  She was not partial to dogs, especially in her house, and it was only because I told her that we named our border collie Gracie after her that she not only invited her in but also fed her treats.  In the photo, Mom W. (far right) is with her sisters. 

5 thoughts on “I Was Already Naming the Lambs — Meatloaf, Ali Baba and Elias.

  1. Richard Wenger

    Hi Terry, a marvelous story! It was Sarah’s birthday yesterday also. They share the same day. We went to Fredericksburg and browsed the small shops and then came back to Richmond for dinner.had a good visit here but leave in the morning. On the 28th I go to Palm Springs for 3 weeks. Cheers, Richard

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. bonnie904

    What a wonderful story to end a hectic day. I especially liked the part about the “shock therapy” maybe I should look for that fence myself….I truly look forward to these stories. thank you for sharing…


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