Friday, December 6, 2013

My Amazing Mother-in-Law, M-A-R-L-E-N-E by Tommy Waite

“M” is for MEETING … meeting the Terry family for the first time… and thus being scrutinized as a prospective candidate as a son-in-law… was an experience.   As all you guys reading this know, we all hope to be well received and to feel at ease with future in-laws.  Being a warm and gracious family, the Terry family completely exceeded my expectations and welcomed me into their inner family circle.  Marlene, however, was away visiting her oldest daughter in Washington and would be returning on a flight later that evening.  I offered to go with Verl to pick up his sweetheart at the airport and hoped to earn some “brownie points” with Marlene.   As her flight arrived, I became quit anxious about the upcoming meeting.  It was “first impression” time and you don’t get a second chance.  Well, I knew I really liked being with the Terry family and I loved being with their gorgeous daughter!  Then the time arrived.  Marlene and I met.  She was warm and gave me a hug.  We exchanged pleasantries and I was welcomed into her family!

“A” is for AMAZING … usually a person can develop a few amazing talents in their lifetime but Marlene cultivated so many talents in so many areas.  She knew how to sew.  The sewing of doll clothes, costumes and clothes could rival Martha Stewart.  My children have benefitted many times from her sewing talent.  If she couldn’t find a pattern to make a frock from, Marlene would make a pattern by drawing it out on a paper bag from the grocery store.  Another talent was a cake decorator.  The wedding cake for Gina and me was skillfully made by Marlene and would rival the confections from the show “Cake Boss!”  Another talent was creative writing.  The ease with which she penned her life’s observations and her touching memories will be treasured for generations to come.

“R” is for RADIANT…radiance can be seen and felt.  As I saw Marlene’s face the first time, as she was coming down the arrival hall at Idaho Falls airport, I was struck with the fact at how beautiful and radiant she looked.  How anyone that managed a home with eight children, a timely newspaper schedule and hours of service in her church, could look that radiant was awesome.   Shortly after meeting her, I came to realize that her dedication to her husband, family and friends created a glow of goodness that could not be hidden!  My Mother-in-law had a great smile.  She was a very good lady.  When she smiled, her whole face and eyes lit up.  I loved being in her company.

“L” is for LOVELY…Loveliness in home and garden.  Marlene had a talent for making everything more lovely than when she found it.  Her home was magnificently decorated in coordinated colors and themes.  As said before in an earlier post, walking into her home was to experience “Better Homes and Gardens” in real life.   Her love for “country decorating style” made all visitors feel cozy and welcomed.  When my Mother-in-law moved into her home in Meridian, she took it upon herself to try to resurrect the plants in the backyard that had been overlooked by the previous owners.  Within four years of hard work and with the aid of her “green thumb”, Marlene had resurrected her plants and even several plants she didn’t know were planted.  Plants started sprouting up all over the garden berms.

“E” is for EGG NOODLES…Marlene was self-effacing when it came to her cooking.  But I loved her cooking. As a newly married couple, Gina and I loved going up to see the Terry family on Scenic Drive for Sunday dinners, which routinely consisted of a great chicken noodle soup.  Another of Marlene’s quintessential dishes was a very moist and delicious chicken and brown rice dish…a recipe that we’ve been scouring our cupboards for since the news of her passing.  As much as Marlene could make a lovely entrée, her “Pièce de résistance” was her cream pies…French silk, chocolate and banana cream…just to name a few, which could win any pie contest at any fair… anywhere!


“N” is for NEAT…neatness and organization are two words you could easily use to describe Marlene.  She was tidy, clean and knew where everything was in her home…a trait which many admired and wished to emulate.  We have even coined a new phrase to describe the cleanliness.  When we are cleaning our home we have to make it “Marlene clean.”  Her life was deliberately filled with the good things of life and yet she still had time to accomplish the things that needed attention, which attest to her ability to manage her time and home.  Her home was a refuge which was fun to visit.  With her home so beautiful, we always wanted to stay as long as possible. 


“E” if for EXPERT TEACHER…expertise usually is acquired through years of training, study and internship.  Marlene was “a teacher’s teacher” and it seemed to come so naturally to her.  She would take a subject…either secular or religious…then read, study, make notes and then when the time came to deliver her lesson, she would put all her notes aside and teach from her heart and rely on inspiration.  Wow…what powerful lessons they were.  I had the pleasure of listening to several of her lessons when we visited Boise. 


In conclusion, I admired Marlene’s ability to love so completely her family and friends.  She lived for her God, her family and her friends.  She loved the next adventure and Marlene has moved unto a “next” adventure in the next life.  A Dieu Marlene…a most wonderful Mother-in-law a Son-in-law could have.  You’ve created a marvelous legacy!


Much love,

~Tommy Boy