September 20, 2014: On a Skunk and a Prayer


Larry's in town. And we're having a good time. He started with a flight into Denver last Friday and has been tagging along our busy schedules ever since. Last night was a fundraiser in Omaha and then late-night sushi. Today is Husker football and Cabela's. Tomorrow is our last day of the Larry tour, so I believe a grill out is in order.

For those who haven't met Larry, he's Garrett's dad. He and I have had a special bond from day one. We first met five years ago in Garrett's Denver kitchen. I had flown in to visit while Larry was doing the same. Garrett chose to surprise his dad with my later entry.

At that point in Garrett and my early relationship, Larry knew of me, but knew little about me. He later said what he knew was "my son had stars in his eyes when he met you". In Garrett's defense, my mom later independently countered with "she fell fast. I never saw her fall for someone like that".

So as Garrett and I were falling fast with stars in our eyes, Larry walked into my life.

Fresh off an airplane, I was alone in the kitchen. Dressed in a favorite teal polka-dotted dress and black boots, my hair was still curled and make-up intake. Larry walked in the door expecting Garrett, but instead saw me.

Taken aback, he expressed his famous first words as we met for the first time.

"Good Lord, do you have a mother?"

Meet Larry Brucker. My future father-in-law. I liked him instantly.

Through the course of that first weekend together, we laughed and shared life. He told me his heartfelt story of raising Garrett by himself and then later stories of re-marriage and raising a teenage Garrett. He and I had commonalities in having fathers who were barbers and growing up in a small town.

My first gift from Larry arrived in a hand-posted package at my work. This was about six months after our first kitchen encounter. It was a skunk skin. He had shot it and skinned it himself. After years in storage, he thought it needed a new home with me. This followed my telling him that the skunk was my power animal.

The skunk skin remains on my bedroom dresser. After receipt of this thoughtful gift, I liked Larry even more. We now coin each other "partners in crime". Garrett shakes his head as he is often the third man out during our many outings together. But he's okay with that. Overall, we are Team Brucker. All for one and one for all.

This morning the three of us are sitting at the kitchen table with steaming coffee mugs and Pandora playing softly in the background. Garrett and I are typing away on our computers while Larry is messing with his new phone. Collectively we are watching squirrels run in the backyard while Cookie snores on Garrett's lap and Grant snoozes in the basement.

The quiet of morning before a busy day is welcomed by all of us. We laugh over silly things. We talk out loud as we mindlessly mind our gadgets. And we just enjoy our coffee and light conversation. A darn good morning. Larry Brucker, you can stay at our house any time.

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