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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Fred and Marie Friswold

Going Tropical

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From the series of previous posts reviewing my history with Cyndie and her family, I hoped to provide a more complete background for what led to this year’s adventure to the Dominican Republic over Christmas.

After years of growing families, the Friswold Christmas spectacle of the classic gift exchange had expanded almost to the point we couldn’t fit all the gifts in one room. This was despite an effort long ago to rein things in by drawing individual names for the adults giving gifts.

I witnessed Cyndie and her brothers making an effort to encourage moderation, but it’s hard to restrain the love of giving. It was difficult to detect much evidence of change.

They were also putting energy and imagination toward devising ways to reduce the (mostly self-imposed) burden on Marie of hosting to the nines for hours on end, three or four days in a row. That effort was also producing mixed results.

Then, along came the year 2017, which just happened to include several significant milestones for Fred and Marie. They both celebrated 80th birthdays, certainly a benchmark for which they deserve the reasonable courtesy of reduced stress and aggravation in their days.

Equally noteworthy is this year’s marking of their 60th wedding anniversary. With these special events dealt to their hands, the two cunning card players set about making the big play.

Obviously, they had been counting cards all along, because they knew what was going to be dealt in advance. We found out a full year ago that Fred and Marie wanted to bring the whole clan to the Dominican Republic for Christmas this year.

No names will be drawn, no food needs to be planned or prepared, no setting up of tables and chairs, no world-class flower arrangements will need to be flown from Boston by Carlos, no dishes will need to be done for hours on end.

We will have the gift of a full week of each other’s company in the warmth of sun, sand, palm trees, and ocean breezes.

The whole clan, together again like a decade ago on Hilton Head Island.

I have no concept of what they could possibly dream up that could top this ten years from now, in celebration of their 70th anniversary.

What a family.

To Fred and Marie:

You have done the world a great service, raising these four amazing individuals with so much love.

You’ve given me an amazing opportunity to be included as family. You have blessed all your grandchildren with bountiful and limitless love.

Here’s hoping your dreams for this tropical Christmas were fulfilled, and that you enjoy many more days as stress-free as this week hopefully was for you both.

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In-Law Jackpot

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It was at Christmastime about 34 years ago that I embarked on the first steps of a journey that has proved to be more remarkable than I dreamed would be possible for me. I won the in-law lottery. I hit the jackpot. I will never comprehend what it was like for Cyndie’s parents to deal with the fact that I had asked for permission to marry their daughter —their first-born child, for heaven’s sake— but for me it was just a mind-numbing step in my magical journey of life.

Sometimes when I think back on it, I feel astounded that they said yes. I owe Fred and Marie Friswold more appreciation than I have been able to convey. How can I adequately express what it has meant to me to be accepted into their family? The immensity of my gratitude is beyond what I have ever thought to speak.

FredMarieDSC02641From that very day when I asked for their blessing to take Cyndie’s hand in marriage —when Marie’s first response came out as shock that I was asking her while she was in the middle of untangling Christmas lights— I have fallen short of telling them what they have deserved to hear.

Once again, I resort to writing. It is my preferred means. I figured maybe I would get a Christmas card for them and write a heart-felt note. Thinking about what I should write, I realized it would probably need to be a letter. That quickly led to this: a blog post. Even though they are humble enough to likely favor I had stuck with the card idea, I would like to profess my appreciation for them to the world.

It’s not like the years have been without turmoil. I am embarrassed for the number of times I failed to mask my preference to be back among the Hays way of doing things when in the midst of all things Friswold. It has always turned out to be a small price to pay. For the most part, I have been blessed with the opportunity to bask in the greatness that Fred and Marie create. Their generosity and patience is immeasurable. They have taken me to places I never thought possible, and provide never-ending support to me, Cyndie’s and my marriage, and to our children. Their acceptance and support of me is a precious gift I treasure more than any other.

Christmas is a particularly special time when their saintliness shines. They care for others with boundless benevolence. I always receive from them more than what I feel I deserve, but that is not how they measure their giving.

Fred and Marie have succeeded in the art of family where so many others have failed. It is a wonder to behold and an amazing thing to experience first hand, as their son-in-law. I owe them credit for more than I can grasp about who I am and what I have experienced.

Either written or spoken, what they mean to me really is greater than words. If you are reading this, I hope you have a sense of how blessed I feel and an inkling of the grandiosity of jackpot with which I have been blessed. I hope Fred and Marie will sense that I am more grateful to them than I ever have been, or ever will be able to say.

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Written by johnwhays

December 20, 2014 at 11:27 am