Mother Mary is eating barbecued brisket with me. It’s a Saturday night. She is seated at the table, her walker sits parked beside her. Her makeup is fixed. Her hair is white with a tinge of blue. She wears pearls.
Pearls. For barbecued brisket.
I first referred to my mother-in-law as “Mother Mary” eons ago, when I was at her house watching a televised baseball game. The reason I called her this was because you don’t want to call your mother-in-law by her first name unless you want to end up in Hell.
I remember the San Francisco Giants were playing the Washington Nationals. My father-in-law and I were watching Barry Bonds at the plate. My father-in-law, Brother Jim, couldn’t stand Barry Bonds.
Brother Jim came from the era when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were household names. A time when all American boys, no matter which state they were from, loved the lanky Yanks.
I should stop here and explain. To me, my father-in-law only ever went by one nickname: “Brother Jim.”
I gave him this title because this is what we fellow Baptists called each other. We reserve the title “brother” for members of the clergy, deacons, elders, or police officers who pull us over.
The joke of course was that Brother Jim Martin was definitely not a clergyman. He used words that could make sailors blush, and he was always deeply concerned about football-game point spreads in a way that made you wonder if more was at stake than simply team pride.
Anyway, Brother Jim looked at Barry Bonds on the screen and said, “I can’t stand this joker!”
And I agreed. Barry Bonds was part of a generation of over-muscled baseball players that almost ruined professional baseball for me.
Not long ago, you’d turn on the television to watch an average game and it looked like a bunch of greased up professional wrestlers were playing wiffle…