How many people can say that their mother-in-law hosted their 1975 bridesmaid luncheon when she didn’t actually become that bride's mother-in-law until 1995? Say what!!!
Okay, I can one up those bizarre odds. How many mother-in-laws could say that they met their future daughter-in-law in 1970, however said daughter-in-law didn’t marry her son until 1995? How huge are the odds of meeting one’s mother-in-law 25 years prior to marrying her son? I’m not sure of the odds, as my math skills leave much to be desired, but I do know that those odds became facts that described my relationship with Evelyn Harris Boswell.
I met “Mrs. Boswell” when I was a Junior in high school. Her youngest daughter Ann, aka Bos, and I met in a Home Economic class. “Foods,” as our cooking class was then called, was our elective in 1970…an easy “A.” Bos and I were table mates, and laughing through most of our cooking escapades, we quickly became friends. Mrs. Boswell, was a lovely, welcoming mom, and someone I looked up to and respected right from the start.
When Ann, a year behind me in school, decided to go to Texas Tech, and I well remember Mr. and Mrs. Boswell handing Bos over to me her freshman year. For some reason, they both felt completely at ease leaving their youngest child in my “capable” hands. Holy Moley, that's a scary thought! Our college years drew me closer to the Boswell family, but, of course, this relationship of ours grew way beyond our wildest imaginations.
It was Mrs. Boswell who graciously offered to host my bridesmaid Breakfast at Brennan’s in 1975, when I was not marrying Steve. I have a wedding photograph of Mr and Mrs Boswell surrounded by my bridesmaids. Whenever I see this photo I marvel at the humor of God’s amazing orchestration.
How many people can say with such gratitude and love that their mother-in-law opened her arms and embraced two teenage children, a woman who would become their grandmother effortlessly and with such warmth? A great grandmother, Evelyn, enjoyed nothing more than hearing the antics of Harper and Harris, always curious about their milestones and accomplishments.
As the small gathering of family stood by Evelyn’s grave, I thought of all these attributes that made me love Evelyn. We said good-bye this week to a remarkable woman. I said good-bye to a woman who I had known most of my life. Little did I know all those years ago that Evelyn would someday be my mother-in-law. Little did I know that Evelyn would influence my life in so many ways, loving me as the wife of her son, loving my children and grandchildren as her own. Evelyn shared delicious recipes with me, she taught me to quilt, she demonstrated how to grow old, frail, and weak with quiet grace. I thought, as I stood by her open grave, how difficult it was for Evelyn to lose her only son, her eldest child, my husband…yet, she spared me the heartache she certainly felt. Her concern was for me, for our children, it was never about Evelyn, or her sorrow.
Evelyn had just turned 94 years old. She was a woman ahead of her time. Crowned Miss Sweetwater, Baylor homecoming queen, Evelyn was a beauty, but more important, Evelyn was a brilliant woman. She read massive biographies and non-fiction novels as if she were flipping through a magazine. She read the New York Times, The New Yorker and always, The Baylor Line, cover-to-cover. An avid sports fan, she loved her Bears, the Spurs, Wimbledon, the list went on and on. Evelyn mastered her computer like a 15 year old, and continued to be an active online surfer almost to the end of her life. My talented mother-in-law played bridge like a master, she was an award winning quilter, and wonderful cook. Evelyn was quite a woman!
It seems it Evelyn knew it was time to leave this earth. I think she was more than ready to find herself back in the company of her parents, her husband, her son, and her Lord and Savior.
I am privileged to have called Evelyn my mother-in-law. She taught me so very much and I pray that I am better because I knew her.
So farewell for now, dear Evelyn we give thanks for a life well lived.
For what it’s worth,
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
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