Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: Robert's Parents
By Elizabeth Marland
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The first time I saw my husband it was because I was curious.
That morning at staff meeting the camp director warned us his family was coming. Some of the staff who had worked when his family had been there before said, “Oh, no!”
Several of us said, “What, what? What did they do?”
They did not really give us a definite answer. So I was curious.
I was working in the tabernacle when they arrived. I watched as a tall, slightly heavy woman stood at the registration table. Occasionally a skinny boy or a broad shoulder young man would come up beside her. She smiled and laughed with the registration workers and the camp nurse got up and gave her a hug.
At lunch I joined the other staff in setting the tables and choosing the ones we would wait on. The fathers were let in to select the table their family would sit at all week. A tall, heavy man with black hair and a small, frail, older man selected my tables. Then the doors were opened and chaos poured through the doors. An older woman and a younger couple with several young children joined the older, frail man. The tall, slightly heavy woman and five boys joined the dark haired man. The three younger boys were skinny and wiry and the two older boys were tall, broad shouldered, barrel chested young men. The dark haired father introduced me to every one. His wife was Nancy, then there was Robert, James, Ricki, Jerod, and Brian. He was Rich. Nancy warned me that they ate a lot.
She was not exaggerating. It took a lot of work to feed that group. Everything I brought to the table was gone in moments. I was constantly scouting other tables saying, “Do you want anymore of that?” or “Are you done with that?”
Nancy, Robert and James took an immediate interest in me. Nancy asked me about myself. James tried to impress me with the books he had read and Robert listened. When James found out that I had already read those books and was older than he was,he lost interest. Robert asked me to play ping-pong with him. Nancy and Rich asked me to be an honorary family member as they took on the entire camp in a volleyball tournament. At the end of the week Nancy and Robert asked for my address and phone number.
Two weeks later my family drove up to their house and we had a picnic together. My parents and Robert’s parents got along as if they had always known each other. It rained all the way to their town and stopped just as we drove into the town limits. Rich told dad that he prayed it would not rain while we were there. It began raining as we left town that evening.
Within a month Robert was in Texas working at a boys’ home for delinquents and I was in Indiana working in a training center with delinquents and special needs children.
Two years later we were both home and seeing each other weekly. That was when I found out who Robert’s parents really were. They had four boys but they had two extra boys staying with them. Rich and Nancy taught Sunday School at their church.
As soon as she got home from work every day Nancy would begin to get calls and visits from two or three woman whose needs most people got burned out from. Nancy was always firm but gentle and showed the love of God to these women.
Nancy and Rich worked together to witness to their neighbors about the Lord. She had Five Day Clubs at her house every summer for the children of the neighborhood. They often counseled the young men and woman that naturally gravitated to a house with four active young men in it. Watching them as closely as I did caused me to have great respect for them. On the rainy October evening, when Robert asked me to marry him, I was proud to say yes. I have always felt blessed above most of my friends because of the in-laws I obtained the day I was married to their son.
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