|Hans in my parents kitchen Christmas 1986|
As my cousins got older and occasional boyfriend or girlfriend would enter the mix only to become a family member if love bloomed. My cousin Jeanmarie who is my eldest female cousin on Dad's side was the first to bring a boyfriend that I can remember.
His name was Hans and they later married. Hans had emigrated to this country from Germany and was very polite, quiet and unassuming which is important to understand. Our family was LOUD and there were a LOT of us. For dinner Mom and Dad would set up these long banquet length tables in the living room and we'd all sit and eat a family style meal which was home-made by my parents.
As everyone was being seated my cousin Jeanmarie lagged behind in the kitchen to use the powder room. Hans waited for her in a chair outside the door; I presume he was to shy to go in with the family without her. It should be said that our family doesn't do shy therefore they don't understand it.
Mom found Hans sitting alone on the chair, not knowing my cousin was in the bathroom and said to him. ( and I'm paraphrasing here) "You, what the heck are you sitting there for dinner's getting cold?" "Get your rear end in the living room and eat, go on. And when he didn't move she said. "Well what are you waiting for?" Then Jeanmarie came out of the bathroom and they went and ate.
Poor Hans never got over his encounter with my mother.
EVERY SINGLE time we get together for any occasion or a holiday he tells that story. He'll say, "Did I ever tell you the story about the time that Aunt Mary yelled at me when Jeanmarie took me to that first Christmas? They've been married forever over 40 years so that's how long I've been hearing Hans tell it.
Tomorrow we're heading down to Charlotte for Hans' 70th birthday party shhh it's a surprise! I know at the party he'll tell it again, with a glint in his eye as he say " Aunt Mary yelled at me......" and my Mom will do an eye roll and laugh as will everyone else. Maybe there might be one or two people who haven't heard the story who will get their first telling! For the rest of us it's number 238.
And Hans, he's is no longer that shy guy he was years ago, he's older, wiser, funnier, kinder, LOUDER, and I am happy even proud to be a part of his family and I'm happy and proud he's part of mine.
May you have a long life Hans, keep on telling that story. I'll be glad to hear it for the 238th time, Happy Birthday