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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: The Only Ill is 'BIL'


The Only Ill is ‘BIL’

I half-heartedly joked with my husband, “Maybe I will wake up tomorrow with uncontrollable diarrhea.”

“That is unlikely, you are never sick” he tossed back.

I woke the next morning, my usual healthy self.


Holidays had always been exciting; an anticipated time to spend with family, play games and watch football. Unfortunately, eleven years ago that all changed, in a dreadful way.

My husband’s oldest brother had a son, which I firmly believe is the “Devil Incarnate”. From the moment of this child’s birth, my brother-in-law and his wife ceased to function. They immediately became incapable of travel, giving an unfounded excuse, “It is too difficult to travel with a child”. Sadly, to facilitate their dysfunction, holiday gatherings had to be host at their home.

I really was astonished at their mindset. Were they not educated people? Had they not seen the other family members travel with multiple children, mishap-free? Babies eat, sleep, and poop. Get your diaper bag, a couple outfits for the baby, and hit the road. How hard is that? Surely, you would think, an architect and a CPA could have figured out how to travel more than five minutes with an infant. No, this fete proved too great.

My mother-in-law was very tolerant, but quickly suggested that holidays be returned to her home, once the toilet training was accomplished.

The next three years passed very slowly.


“Do you think $5 is too much?” my brother-in-law asked, looking at my husband.
“Too much for what?” my husband asked, staring oddly at his brother.
“To tip the nurse for taking Mamaw to the bathroom?” was his reply.

My husband and brother-in-law’s grandmother lived in a nursing home. She was very fragile; she needed help to walk to the toilet. Mamaw called the nurse for help telling us, “It is her job, after all”, and Mamaw went to the toilet. The conversation had occurred between my husband and his older brother during Mamaw’s visit to the bathroom. I stood there in Mamaw’s room in total astonishment.

The absolute stupidity of my brother-in-law’s thinking caused me to wonder, how had he remained the Vice President of an architectural firm for more than eighteen years.


My brother-in-law had repeatedly stated, “What was I thinking having a child at 42? I am too old for this!”

Enter…the Twins!

Holidays returned to the oldest brother’s home, because as we all know, “It is too difficult to travel with children”. The disasters started all over again.

Their oldest son, nearing three, required the spotlight for his horrible misbehavior. He broke or destroyed everything in his path, even if it meant his younger brother’s leg. Table Manners were for everyone else; he would use his toes to eat those green beans, thank you very much!

Dear brother-in-law, did you forget what happens when you play “doctor” and “house”? If you were too old at 42, what makes you any younger at 46?


We gathered in a circle to say the blessing over our Thanksgiving Day meal.

Everyone held hands, bowed their heads, and waited for my mother-in-law to say the prayer.

“Before I pray, I wanted to let you all know, the oldest brother and his family will not be here today; he woke up with uncontrollable diarrhea.”

What a beautiful day.

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This article has been read 472 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom05/16/08
I;m at a loss for words. I hope to the heavens that this IS fiction......

Well done and I'm still shaking my head at what people will do.

Very well written and enjoyable.
Carole Robishaw 05/16/08
This is just too, too funny.

the sad part is, I know people like this.

Well done.
Dee Yoder 05/16/08
Wow, with a BIL like this one, I think I'd stay home when he shows up! Your wry report on the ways in which the BIL is...well..."off", is funny and mind boggling at the same time. I think we've all met people like this, unfortunately.
Marlene Austin05/17/08
I'm sure you only saw the "humor" in all of this once it was in retrospect. :) Thanks for writing it in a humorous light for us. Good job.
Joanne Sher 05/17/08
A fun read - enjoyed the voice of this especially. Delightful.