(Trigger warning: this will be a somewhat rambling post)
Yesterday I spent the day driving deep through the heart of enemy territory (“progressive” California) to pick up my wife’s sister and brother-in-law at San Francisco International Airport. They arrived from China, about 15 years since we started the application process so they could come here.
What does this have to do with being a Backyardsman?
I’d never met my brother-in-law before. My wife was nervous and worried. My kids were upset that they didn’t get to go with us (our car is too small for 6 people and luggage). I knew I couldn’t make the day worse by being my usual impatient driver. It was hard, but I made a conscious effort to not notice all the people driving like idiots. It was hard, but I focused on what we were driving through – and what we were driving through gave me a lot of things to think about.
The first part of the drive was along the river, and I noticed the river is just about perfect for fishing. Just a few weeks ago it was too high, but now it’s just right. After we crossed the Sierra crest I got a few good looks at the Yuba, another river I’d like to fish. Then we dropped down into Sacramento and I remembered why I don’t want to live in a big city ever again. I also thought about how if I had too, I could get away with just a pretty short drive…
Meeting my brother-in-law for the first time…
Didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve met my wife’s sister before, but not her sister’s husband. Also, my wife’s parent’s lived with us twice, a year the first time and 6 months the second time. Her mom and sister are OK, but I didn’t like living with her dad. Too arrogant, thinks he knows everything (kind of like me), but worst of all got up really early and came down to the kitchen to drink coffee. Right at the same time I was drinking coffee and enjoying my (formerly) private time.
I don’t get that vibe this time. I don’t know for sure but I’m pretty sure I’ll get along with my brother-in-law a lot better than I got along with my wife’s dad…
Brother from another mother?
After I got married I didn’t go to church because my wife didn’t like going. When her son came here in 2000, one of the first things he asked me was to take him to church. He came from China where church isn’t exactly popular. So I asked him why… he told me that his uncle told him he should ask his new Dad (me) to take him to church when he got here. It still kind of blows my mind, but I started taking my new son to church. Soon after he was baptized and then went through classes to be a communicant member of our church.
Even though I’d failed in my job as being the spiritual leader for my family, my new son still ended up in my spiritual family – thanks to something his uncle had told him while he was still in China.
Brother from another mother
Last night, we all went to my mom’s house for dinner. In China, it’s not common to pray before a meal so my in-laws started eating as soon as dinner was served. My younger kid asked aren’t we going to pray first? My wife translated, the in-laws looked confused. Not like WTF confused, more like “what should we do” confused. We set down our forks, they watched and saw us fold our hands so they folded theirs’ too. I said a simple prayer. As soon as I finished, my brother-in-law announced that he wanted to go to church. As soon as he said it, his wife said she wants to go too.
We got home too late to check out the back yard, but this morning my newly discovered brother noticed the rabbits. His first question was “is it OK to catch them and eat them or is it illegal”? A hunter – a man after my own heart. Maybe my brother from another mother. I sure hope so…