Monday, August 6, 2012


We just returned from Grama Ekstrom’s birthday party in ND. A great milestone. More on that in the next blog. But I can’t not post about 20 of the funniest minutes of my life----and Sam’s. The words may lack…..I think you had to be there.
We were visiting Grama Mabel in her nursing home room when some distant family friends of Mabel (late 60’s, I will call them Carol and Bob) came to visit. They hadn’t seen Dick in many years. We all stood up. Nodding to Sam, Dick said, “This is my son Sam,” and I reached out my hand and said, “And I am his wife Mary.”
The conversation continued between the 4 of them, mostly about “old times.” About 5 minutes later I hear Carol say to Mabel, “It’s good to see Dick again and meet his son and daughter-in-law.” (Dick was chatting with Bob and heard none of that). They continued to talk.
Her words did not really register in my brain for about 15 seconds, but when they did, I glanced to Sam, wondering if he heard the same thing I did. I MUST have heard it wrong, I thought. Sam’s eyes were wide and his lips were pursed, holding in laughter. He had heard it. I don’t really know why we didn’t correct her at that point, but I didn’t want to embarrass her with her mistake in judgment, and I knew none of us would probably ever see them again, so it came and went.
But as I kept glancing at Sam out of the periphery of my vision, seeing him holding in laughter and knowing my own body was nearly shaking with hysteria, I knew the two of us were going to lose it. Our silent hilarity was now palpable and so about 5 minutes later I said, “I’m going to show Sam around the nursing home.” We left, walked 20 yards into an empty lounge and let loose. We laughed until we could hardly catch our breath. Sam said, “Either that was a huge insult to Dad or a huge compliment to you.” “Or,” I added, “she thinks you are 45 years old.”
We composed ourselves and went back…..unknowing there was more amusement to come.
Bob and Carol asked Sam about himself and Sam made it clear that he was a college junior, and a bit about his summer job. Nowhere in that description of his life was mention of a wife. I am thinking, OK, now she knows she made a big mistake. She knows this is just a young adult. Surely now she realizes her mistake. Besides, do I look like the kind of woman that would marry a man more than 30 years my junior? DO I??
Carol took out her cell phone to show all of us a picture of her great grandchild. When she walked over to Sam and me to show us the picture, she looked at us and said, “So, do you two have kids?”
That did it. Our jaws dropped and we lost it. (My husband was still chatting with Bob and caught none of this). I quickly said (trying to save face for her, thinking she would assume I never heard the first remark about daughter-in-law), “Dick and I just have one child, just Sam here.”
The look in her eyes was pure confusion. “You’re not together?”
“Sam is our son,” I said, again trying to act like I never realized her earlier mistake.
“Well, you know, I thought you were Sam’s wife. Some men marry older women. Our son married a woman 3 years older than him.” I thought I was going to wet my pants.
It was such a zany, bizarre funny moment. WHAT? She thought we might be about 3 years apart in age? Is this woman for real? In retrospect, my introduction of “and I am his wife” must have cemented in her mind that I belonged with Sam. I never dreamt I should have qualified that with, “and I am DICK’S wife.”
Before they left, she turned to Sam and said, “Well, are YOU married?” (He had just told them he was a college junior, living at Dordt. Does this sound like the description of a married man?). Once again, stifled laughter from the two of us. “NO,” my son says with emphasis, “I am single.”

We are so clearly mother and could ANYONE assume we were married? (Serving at Grama Ekstrom's birthday party with my niece and nephew Allison and Daniel Swanson, who ARE married!!)

Re-telling the whole story to Dick in the car, it got even funnier as the reality of her thought process sunk in.
What a kid I have. He was a class act. To his credit, having just been mistaken for his mother’s husband, then asked if he had any children by his mother, then assumed to be only a few years in age apart from that mother, he had the maturity to find only pure hilarity in it all. Whether or not he had an, “Oh, GROSS!” ready to shout at Carol, he didn’t express it.
There are some moments in life that are indelible. This is one that will keep Sam and me laughing for years to come.
As for my explanation of the entire exchange, I am just choosing to assume that I still look 21.


Anonymous said...

I needed a laugh like this! I was cracking up out loud just reading this! These types of moments are what making working at a care center FUN, too! Luvu, girl, so glad you and Sam got to share a "funny" together! Can't wait to get you back to Verm with your father-in-law......oh, I mean husband! :D Ju!

Anonymous said...

Tooo cute ! Gotta love those seniors
Your look great Mare!
Still rockin those overalls and lookin good! Sweet memories of you wearing them in college !

Cole said...

THAT...IS...AWESOME!!!! I was cracking up!!

I agree, I think you should just take it as pure compliment to how fantastic you look!!!

Gretchen said...

Isn't it true that the more forbidden you are to laugh, the funnier those moments become?! My dad and I had a similar moment involving a fart in church by the man in the pew in front of us. I'll never forget it. We had to get up and leave to avoid exploding into laughter during the eucharist.

I loved that story. You look DANG good! :)

Love you!