We knew each other for fourteen years, yet never made it to a first name basis.
Perhaps it was that visits between us were rare or perhaps it was that when fine dining, city living and classical music meet frugal eating, farm life and tone deaf, at least one party is left smiling and nodding no matter who leads the conversation.
But I always knew who it was when the phone rang,
“Hello! This is your Jolly Father-In-Law!”
Once it had been established that “Curly” was at work, our occasional evening conversations would meander. We’d take turns nodding and smiling over the airwaves and I could picture him in his high backed chair, drink ever present at his side, as I heard about fantastic places to eat in cities I’m unlikely to visit. I would pick up the house as we talked, in my turn sharing a few ridiculous stories of life in the country. There would often be a few moments of bonding over a shared Finnish heritage and then with a final question over when John would be home, that would inevitably be forgotten, he’d be off.
No, we never used first names but that doesn’t mean I’d forget my Jolly Father-In-Law.
George Henry Stevens
October 24th, 1935 -March 25th, 2014