Sunday, June 10, 2012

Birth Daze

Today, our family is heading off to Jen's ancestral hometown, in Michigan's 'Thumb' (and don't you wish your state had a 'thumb'?).Truth to tell, before I married Jen, the Thumb was just about the only part of Michigan that I hadn't seen in the two-decades-plus of my life to that point.  The first time I went home with her, I sorta figured out why; I was. . . underwhelmed.  The Thumb is about the largest expanse of really, REALLY flat land to be found in this state.  As a result, the local economies are pretty much given over to farming - sugar beets and soybeans most prominently.  The mascot for Jen's high school is the Pioneers, in honor of the local sugar factory.  So, the next time you crack open that 5-lb bag of Pioneer sugar, you can think of us, OK?  And I can't pass by without mentioning her hometown's charming little Swinging Bridge, which is all of 2 blocks from where my dear wife grew up; just sayin'.  Over the years, our kids have had a lot of fun, uh, swinging on the Swinging Bridge (aka the Mother-In-Law bridge, for the sign over the 'townward end' urging its crossers to 'Be Good to Your Mother-In-Law'; are they talkin' to me?)

I always do as I'm told. . .

The proximate cause for our journey today is a gathering of family and friends in honor of Jen's mother's 80th birthday.  So please join me in wishing my mother-in-law a very happy and prosperous birthday.  In the mother-in-law sweepstakes, I hit it big - my MIL is one of the saintlier people I've known in my young life (she would have to be, in order to bring the likes of me into her family).  On the old theory that your mother-in-law is a glimpse into what your wife will be like in 25 years, I married even better than I knew at the time. . .

It seems that years ending in '2' are looming large in my life, these days.  Which is to say that I know lots of people celebrating 'decade' birthdays this year.  Besides my MIL, I've already told you about 1F, who recently turned 30, and 8M, who turned 10; but 5M will be turning 20 in another month, as well (and the notion that I'll have five children older than 20 just seems the least bit. . . I don't know. . .)  Several of my friends are celebrating their 60th this year (yeah, I'm one of those guys who likes to play with older kids).  I'm sure, if I think hard enough, I could come up with someone turning 40 or 50.  My birth-father turned 80 earlier this year, and if my dad were still alive, he'd be turning 90.  And later this year will be the 110th birthday of one of my grandmas (well, she died 26 years ago).

Anybody know any centenarians?


  1. I would not like the swinging bridge. You are a dear to have such kind thoughts on your MIL. She must be a sweetie. Happy Birthday to her!

    And yes, I will think of you whenever I buy my Pioneer sugar!!!!

  2. happy birthday to your MIL. i don't know any current centenarians but i had a distant aunt who lived to be 105.

  3. Happy happy ...

    you can use me for your 50-er for the year if you'd like ... ;-)

  4. Bijoux - Heh-heh. . . I've enjoyed using the Swinging Bridge to teach Physics lessons to my kids, over the years. Especially in terms of normal modes of vibration - how fast do you have to bounce it to get the first (one wave) mode, or the second (two waves); sometimes we've even gotten the third mode. And the torsional modes are even more fun. . .

    3M brought his current GF to the party yesterday, and he could only get her to take one step onto the actual bridge. . .

    I've heard so many stories and jokes about nasty mothers-in-law over the years, that I was a little bit stunned to be dealt such a sweetie. 'Cuz I know it isn't that I'm just such a charming son-in-law. . .

    Lime - I had a great-aunt who lived to 102; her husband also lived well into his 90s, and I think they might have celebrated a 70th anniversary. And one of our neighbors at our previous house was the matriarch of a four-generation household of women, who lived to 105.

    Xavier - Great! That fills in one of my check-boxes!

  5. I scored well in the M-I-L department and am batting .500 (poor choice of words) in the spouse column.
    Then again, I'm not gonna point any fingers.

  6. First, and most important, Happy Birthday, MIL!

    Second, and obviously of less importance, the vitriol heaped upon that bridge, in the linked article, is fairly brutal for such an interesting little bridge. Being as afraid of heights as I am, I'm no great fan of most bridges, but that one seems rather harmless and interesting. Does it really swing a whole bunch while you're on it?

    Lastly, My Grandma who died last year had attained 105 years of age. If I have her genes, I have another 50 years left in me. God help us all.

  7. Skip - If you and Grandma Skip weren't so happy with each other, I'd be tempted to say you should just go straight to finding a good MIL, and marry whatever daughter she's got. . . ;)

    Suldog - That's what I thought; I mean, it was like he was ripping on the Swinging Bridge in retaliation for Sanilac County tearing down a couple of his favorite bridges; sheesh. . . The article had a nice photo, tho. . .

    As to actual swinging, you can see my above comment to Bijoux re 'normal modes of vibration'. Oh, yes, it does swing, like a pendulum do. Actually, it more like bounces up and down than swings. The locals take great delight in frightening the bejabbers out of visitors who are a little nervous about how it bounces underfoot to begin with. And if the town is a little behind behind on maintenance, and there are a few boards missing, even more fun. Or maybe that's just Jen's family. . .

    As re yer grandma's genes, I'll just wonder if it might be merciful to the rest of us that you've smoked for so long. . . (I'm kidding!)

    (OK, that reminds me of a cartoon a saw once. Guy is sitting in a doctor's office waiting room. On the door, it says, 'Dr. Kevorkian, MD', and on the wall is a sign that says, "Go ahead and smoke; what the hell.")

  8. Funny thing is My Grandma smoked until she was well into her 70's. That was 50 years of puffing. She might have outlived a Galapogos Tortoise if she had never smoked.

  9. Suldog - After I read your comment, I ran across this. Which made me wanna laugh. Or cry. One or the other. . .