Without even a hint of shame or regret, she spoiled it for me. Not just once, but continually. Without remorse. For more than forty years I was denied the pleasure of the snickers, chuckles, and outright guffaws that many of my friends enjoyed. There was no way I could tell a mother in law joke with the mother in law I inherited when Linda and I married. Today was her birthday. A day that we once celebrated we now observe in remembrance. Our daughter called her mother this morning with an offer to treat her to Texas hots at Johnny's Lunch in honor of Gram. For years, Linda would visit her mom every Wednesday, stopping to pick up a half dozen Texas hots and an order of fries on the way. They would each have two for lunch, with the remaining two saved for Ginner's lunch the following day.
Yeah, we called her Ginner. That's what Gramps called her, and it stuck. Ginner or Gram; either way, she was a woman of integrity, compassion, and generosity. I can't remember ever hearing her complain; she was always more concerned with other peoples' well-being than her own. Living with her in-laws in their homestead was not easy; she stayed in the background for most of her life. Gramps was pretty opinionated, and she never contradicted him, at least in public. It wasn't until after gramps died that we discovered that she was pretty strong-willed herself. I guess she would have had to be, to stay married to him all those years.
The only time I can recall where she countermanded Lloyd was when Linda went to college. That first semester, a homesick Linda kept calling home in hopes that her father would come and get her. It was providential that Gram was usually the one to answer the phone because she adamantly refused to let Linda talk to her father, knowing that if she did, he would have come to get her. Gram knew that college was Linda's best chance for a future, and had she not stood her ground, Linda and I wouldn't have met, and I would have missed out on a lifetime of blessing.
Tonight, I am grateful for this woman who did so much to shape the character and soul of my wife. Spoiled my mother-in-law jokes is a picayune price to pay for the life I've been given because of the way she raised her daughter. Happy birthday, Gram!