Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

27 March 2005

The Beauty of Great In-Laws

I was fortunate to marry into a family of excellent and admirable people. They have the same quirks that we all do, but they are marked by both energy and generosity. My father-in-law, Tom, works for the Portland Press Herald. Through the years we have had a fair exchange of interests. He introduced me to single malt scotch whisky, homebrewing, baseball, football and most of all fly fishing, a hobby which I cannot imagine how I ever lived without. In return, I introduced him to sushi, fine tea, Freemasonry, geocaching, and soccer (World Cup variety). His most recent gift to me has been to coerce me into hiking up a mountain trail each year. One year he and my brother-in-law, Zach, hiked up the side of Old Speck. For a time it was an embarrassing demonstration of just how out of shape I am in the Spring. This year I am running indoors to get my body ready for both summer soccer and the unavoidable Spring hike. A few years ago, he wrote an article for the paper about one of our hikes: White Mountain Surprise. It really was a good time. At one point we emerged from the hot, muggy trail onto a rock vista of the valley below. Tom spotted wild blueberry bushes, so we stopped for a snack and some water. The fond memories of that hike will never leave me.

My brother-in-law is a man of the ultra-hip and fun variety. Apparently, I am not the only person who thinks so. A blogger writes about Zach's hip hospitality during a trip to Maine. Every year we all meet up in Boston where he hosts a trip to a Red Sox game. We turn it into a weekend with visits to Redbones and Boston Beer Works. Now that he owns his own home, Tom, who has a grudge against idleness, ensures that we spend at least one day working on the house. During our last trip we moved a piano, refinished the main staircase and installed a new kitchen light. In return Zach broke in his new grill with his own recipe for whisky soaked teak tips. We listened to the Red Sox on the radio while sitting in his backyard. For the record, Brooklyn Pilsner is malty for a pilsner! It was another trip never to be forgotten.

I spend less time with my mother-in-law. I know from my daughters that she shares her gifts with them: cooking, gardening, teaching. They both love to spend time with her and she with them. Her work with my older daughter ensures that we have live plants, since my wife and I are both equipped with two black thumbs.


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