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The Letter I Almost Wrote to In-Laws

October 16, 1987|DONNA MINICK | Minick is a reference librarian at the Santa Ana Public Library, and lives in Fountain Valley

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your visit with us, and I was delighted you could make it so long. Nine days was just the right amount of time for us to get reacquainted with all of you.

I was surprised that I haven't heard anything from you since your return, but I imagine you've been busy distributing all the souvenirs you bought for everyone back in Indiana. I know Cousin Caroline will be delighted with the pelican made out of seashells, the one that proclaims: "Your belly can hold more than my belly can." And that yo-yo that lights up when you wind it up and down will really amuse them at home.

I'm sure glad you didn't think you had to buy us a hostess gift to thank us for our trouble. Actually, you were no trouble at all. Driving from Orange County to L.A. International Airport in commute traffic in a car I've only driven once before was a different way to beat the summer doldrums.

And I apologize again for not getting into the closest parking garage. Ronnie certainly let me know how annoyed he was, and I don't blame him. Although I haven't seen Ronnie in 20 years, he deserved to be treated better than that.

I knew we were going to be in for a good time when all of you began pulling other people's luggage off the baggage claim carrousel because you couldn't remember what your borrowed luggage looked like. That man who grabbed his luggage back from you simply had no sense of humor.

A sense of humor is not what you people are lacking. That was witty of you, Ronnie, the way you kept saying, "I'm not saying a word," when the rest of the gang asked you what you thought of my driving. And you stuck to your vow--I never even heard the words, "Thank you."

I must apologize also for having stocked the wrong food items for your visit. It was a surprise to learn that Geraldine is a diabetic and could eat nothing with sugar in it. You were really a good sport, though, Geraldine, about eating all the desserts I served. And that was nice of you to treat everyone to ice cream sundaes when you went to the beach. My daughter tells me you even sacrificed and ate a banana split yourself.

Charlotte, I'm sorry you're on such a strict diet and can eat nothing with fat or salt in it. I wouldn't have served ham at the first meal had I known. And little Martie couldn't eat anything I cooked because it tasted "yuckie." What a cute little tyke--I could write a book about her antics alone. Luckily, Ronnie made up for the rest of you since he could eat anything--and did, constantly.

By the way, we really did not arrange the one-hour traffic jam on the freeway to San Diego. And despite your illusions about life in Southern California, that was not a typical day on the freeway. We did, however, enjoy your comments on Southern California behavior and life styles. Seeing ourselves through the unsullied eyes of someone from the Midwest is always interesting. But the girl on the Huntington Beach Pier with blue hair in a Mohawk cut is not really a typical California girl. My daughters and the neighbors' children don't wear their hair that way; people like that must live on the next street over.

Your observation that people are really rude here was just the tiniest bit unfair since you were basing it on behavior you had observed at Universal Studio, Knotts Berry Farm, and Disneyland. Locals don't frequent these places in the summer, so you were observing the behavior of your fellow tourists.

Tracy still mentions how jolly you were at 6 o'clock in the morning, Charlotte. Since she was sleeping on the sofa because she gave up her bed for you, she was pretty amused the way you came bounding down the stairs in the morning and started tickling her, declaring to everyone that Tracy was awake because you could see her eyes were open.

As an aunt, you certainly won high marks with her. She was really sorry she accidentally threw away the seashells you had gathered at the beach. Maybe you can find more on your next trip to see us.

Speaking of gathering things, stripping our lemon tree to take lemons home as souvenirs was quite an original idea. I can't remember when we ever have had a guest do that. For the first time since we have lived here, I am buying lemons at the store. I had no idea how expensive they are.

Gene wants to thank you again for paying for that one tank of gas while he was driving you to all the scenic wonders in Southern California. He says he put almost 1,000 miles on his new car.

Well, enough of this chitchat. I have to go pick up the chair from the furniture repair place. That was the one Ronnie kept planting his two hundred pounds in while saying, "I'm sitting in that broken chair again." You surely can't put anything over on Ronnie.

Say "hello" to everyone. And when you plan your vacation next year, be sure to consider the Eastern states. No, just kidding. We would love to see you again. If you do plan to visit us again, let us know well in advance.

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