Recently, the Manzke family got together for a wedding shower for Cynthia and Russell at Rachel and Dave's home in Madison. My sister, Karen, niece, Sherri, and my BFF (Best Friends Forever), Joyce (Russell's godmother) came up from Illinois.
The day was gloomy, but inside the house we were having a ball. Arianna, Eli, and Serenity, our three youngest grandchildren, had a houseful of relatives to entertain with their antics - too bad Ethan and Seth were at soccer games and couldn't join the fun.
Lots of visiting took place, along with laughter, and plenty of hugs - a person might be able to see and talk to long-distance relatives on the Internet, but physical hugging only can take place in person. It felt great to wrap my arms around everyone, especially Karen, Sherri, and Joyce.
Lunch was salad and pizzas from the Glass Nickel Pizza Co., Russell and Cynthia's favorite. There were three pizzas: Couch Potato, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Cardiac Arrest. Of course, Bob grabbed for the Cardiac Arrest with all its meats for his lunch. Ugh!
After food, our bride and groom opened gifts, and then it was time for party games.
Rachel only planned one - playing games wasn't why we were together.
Couples were paired up for the Newlywed Game: Rachel and Dave, Me and Bob, Andy and Rebecca, Russell and Cynthia, and to add to the fun we teamed Karen and Joyce together, a couple of friends. Rob was our MC.
Bob and I were ready to blow our competition away. We're definitely not newlyweds (married in 1973) so we should really know each other. Right?
First question: Complete the following sentence: "A perfect wife is one who ___."
I thought. This was a tough one. Finally, I wrote down my answer, farms, like me working on our farm side-by-side with my husband. Bob said, cares. We didn't match, but I thought his answer was sweet - I hope he was referring to me.
Some other answers around the room were: obeys, cooks, and cleans. I don't think anyone matched that round.
Next question: Ladies, what one article of clothing does your husband wear that you just can't stand?
Oh, no, too many possible answers for me. All Bob's work clothes are pretty ratty: his jacket, his jeans, and his shirts, especially the ones that the buttons keep falling off and I have to sew back on. But there was another I hated more, his old dingy-white T-shirts. Bob's answer was old jacket-close but no cigar.
Question three: Husbands, between you and your wife, who would you generally say is the money spender and who is the money saver?
I thought this was easy, considering how much money Bob needs to spend on farm stuff, but our answers didn't match. I guess buying bags of groceries makes me the big spender - Bob and I will discuss this one later, at home.
Question four: for the wives. What is the strangest gift your spouse has ever bought you?
Oh no! Bob doesn't give me gifts. He doesn't have a clue what to get me. The only thing I could think of was when the kids were little and he took them shopping so they could buy me a Christmas gift. With their Daddy's help, the kids gave me a dustpan. I put that down. Bob said, "A belt."
"What belt? I don't remember a belt," I said.
"A silver belt when we were first married," he said. "Remember?"
I had to dig deep into my memory, but then it came to me. It was a length of silver coins chained together. I still can't imagine why he bought that thing - this is sure a fun game. No right answers yet.
Question five: Men, if you could have constant access to one store, what store would it be? Finally, we got an answer right. Of course, it had to be Fleet Farm.
Question six: What is your wife's favorite restaurant? I said Olive Garden. Bob said Dairy Queen. I gave him a questioning look. "Well, we do go there."
Okay, by now you can tell we didn't win the Newlywed Game. Karen and Joyce almost did. They've known each other for ages. The actual winners were Russ and Cynthia, which is as it should be. Next up for the loving young couple: a June wedding.
Oh, I must address another subject today. Since my last column about Bob's broken D15 tractor was published, Bob has gotten calls and emails. Men mechanics from all over have tried to help my husband fix his tractor. All responses were heartwarming. One man called Bob twice because it was on his mind and another idea occurred to him during the night.
As of this writing, Bob hasn't had enough time to try every suggestion yet, but he's working on it. He smiles when he hears from another mechanic who is thinking about his D15. Bob didn't believe writing about it here would help, but I had faith in my readers. You all are super! Thank you. Today you get a gold star.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;