I am not sure what the writer
of the Wizard of Oz meant when he used this phrase: horse of a different color.
What I mean: in-laws remain strange and different to me even after decades of interaction and good will.
Becoming family, we push and pull each other.
I want my traditions. You want your holidays celebrated with a pudding your mother made. I want a vacation at the beach. You want to go to the mountains.
Two families have united.
Now, there are children.
We are called upon to be civilized. To try our best to understand each other. We may spend half of our holidays with these people. We may sleep in their houses, share their toothpaste and eat many dinners together. We may sit through long, tiring graduations, attend wedding parties and eat lots of cubed cheese and we may share the death and dying of beloved members and sob on each others’ shoulders.
Still, this people are strange. They have hobbies I do not understand. They like Nascar and golf and spend every fall watching days and days of tennis as a holiday activity. The men watch lots of television and the women do not shop where I shop, she is vegetarian and I love pork chops and he likes blueberries on his ice cream. I usually focus on the differences, the odd behaviors and the things that do not mesh. I feel irked. I am anxious. I am confused.
And then, a disaster strikes. A baby I love is sick. My van needs to be serviced and I need a ride to the dealership. Who do I call? I call one of the horses in the “polka-dot stables” and ask please will you help me? If they are able, they always say yes. Some times, I do not even have to ask. A warm cup of coffee with lots of milk and cinnamon awaits me. I step outdoors at the airport and I have a car and driver waiting. I look around at the hospital and there is a face I know and he asks if I want a mint and I feel like I can make it for ten more minutes.
I am glad I can love different and strange to me horses.