The In-Laws

The In-Laws

A Story by T. L. O'Neal
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Title is self-explanatory. True too.

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The In-Laws

Written by T. L. O’Neal

 

      My wife was from the southeast part of Ohio, so I guess you could say so was the rest of her family. Now that place is as backwards as any place I’ve ever seen. Why people think that only rednecks live in the south has certainly never been up that way.

 

     Her brother is one of the finest fellers you would ever want to meet and he’s a gentle soul too, plus he’s slow to anger and nothing ever seems to get him down either. I always did get along good with him pretty well, but he was… overly redneck if you know what I mean. Now they aren’t poor, him and his wife make about 80 grand a year between the two of them. So let me give you a few examples and you decide for yourself if you think they’re really rednecks or not.

 

     When I first met my future wife’s brother and his wife, they used to keep her kids while she was at work and I went over with her to pick them up once. To say the house was dirty was an understatement. Anyways, there was this banana lying in the floor as you walked in. Still in the skin and fresh, you could tell it had been dropped there in the last day or two. You had to step over this thing or at least walk around it to get into the living room. So I would ask my future wife from time to time to see if the banana was still there when she went to get the kids… and amazingly it was.

 

    After that I would go with her about once a week just to see it. I had to go take a gander at this now wasting away piece of produce; it was almost a like a compulsion to me. I was amazed to see this thing; it was still in the same spot… just lying there as pretty as you please. As time went on I watched that banana waste away to nothing. And it was never stepped on either; it just kept wasting away till it was a black mushy spot in the carpet. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it; that spot was amazing to look at. It was almost hypnotizing in a way, because you just couldn’t keep yourself from staring at it. How it survived that long without someone picking it up, or stepping on it, or kicking it across the room is beyond me. That banana defied all the odds and won. As time went on, I kept going back to see this miracle of nature till it was nothing but a spot of color on the carpet. Damn I miss that banana; it sure was a lot of fun.

 

     Speaking of produce, there was this other time that he got this pool table and put it right in the middle of the living room floor. This in itself wasn’t amazing at all, but somewhere down the line someone put this big ole’ cantaloupe on top of one of the corner pockets. I guess they brought it in from the store or someone gave it to them, but whatever it was, that was about as far as it got. When I heard about it I had to start going over there to check it out too; I was tickled because I had another project to watch. I can’t help it really; I was always the curious sort as you probably guessed by now. You know the old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” I always came back with, “But satisfaction brought him back.” As time went on that large, plump, firm cantaloupe slowly shriveled and shrunk. Week after week I went in great anticipation to witness the progress of this amazing melon. Slowly it shrank and liquefied till it fell right down into that corner pocket. And there was nothing left of it but a small dried spot in the bottom of the pocket after that. I never did play pool on that table but it would be a safe bet that it would be hard to get a ball to pass very smoothly down that pocket.

 

     To say that his wife wasn’t much on cleaning wouldn’t be an exaggeration at all; hell she never did any. This is made even more of a mystery being that she worked in the food service industry. That doesn’t really boost anyone’s appetite I’m sure. I know when her family had a get together for a holiday or such, I never went and I sure as hell wouldn’t eat anything from there either. I always told the kids when they went not to eat anything unless it was in a sealed container.

 

   Anyways, like I was saying, her husband was always very patient with her and their kids when it came to the house being clean or lack thereof. The kids would eat on the floor in front of the TV, if the plate spilled it just stayed there unless a dog or some other critter decided to come along and eat it. Every now and then in a blue moon he would to decide to clean the mess himself, that was usually after he had enough of it all. He would get a garden rake; I’m not kidding here, and rake the carpet and then rake all the trash into a big pile. That’s how bad it was, and then shovel it up. After that he’d take the garden hose and wash the carpet with it… while it was still in the house. Now this might of helped in the looks of it a bit, but it just made the smell of the carpet that much worse.  And in the wintertime, with the heat on… you don’t even want me to go there.

 

    He was also into hunting and fishing a lot; it was his passion to say the least. To tell you the truth I think he did so much of it just so he wouldn’t have to go home to that damn nasty house. He would bring his kills home with him and then they would clean the squirrels over the dining room table, and butcher the deer in the living room. Which probably didn’t help with the smell of that carpet none either.

 

     They were going to get cable TV one time, so the cable guy came out to put it in but he refused to crawl around on that carpet. They had at the time 8-9 puppies running loose and shitting everywhere; this probably didn’t hurt him in making his decision on not crawling on that floor. They did feel insulted because the man refused to do the job but I don’t blame him that much, I surely wouldn’t have done it either. I don’t remember if he got fired or quit his job over it but the manager had to come out himself to do it.  He cussed the whole time under his breath and it’s a safe bet that he had to throw those pants away once he was done with the job.

 

    My wife’s kids when they were younger just loved going over there, I never could understand that at all. I suspect it was because they could do as they pleased and make a mess without getting into any trouble. I was pretty strict when it came to trying to keep their rooms clean and all, and they weren’t allowed to eat or drink anything except in the kitchen. When they would come home from over there, we would make them take their clothes off at the door. One by one and jump in the shower. I’ve seen times when the wife would hose them down before they even set foot in the house. As for the clothes, no amount of Spray-N-Wash would take those stains out of their pants. These stains were from what they got off that carpet too. Luckily as they got older they didn’t want to go over there that much anymore.

 

     There was one time he was going to redo the master bathroom floor and he asked if I would like to help. I used to do remodeling and knew a thing or too about such. But I declined saying I was too busy but did tell him what he needed to do to make a good job of it. I didn’t want to touch that carpet, for one thing it was nasty and rotten, and secondly it had mushrooms growing out of it. What kind they were I couldn’t tell you. I’m not an expert on mushrooms by any means, especially ones that grow in bathroom carpet. Well, he didn’t listen to a thing I said on remodeling the floor. Instead of putting down green board he mixed up concrete; wet concrete mind you, and poured it onto the plywood floor and spread it out. He then put down wood tile on top of it. Why would anybody in their right mind want to do that in a bathroom is beyond me. Plus he didn’t pull up the toilet or cut any of the tile, just fit the squares as best as he could. It was a less than a stellar job for sure.

 

    One summer they bought a pool at Wal-Mart and put it in the front yard and used the back of the truck as a diving board into the pool. Of course in a setup like this it didn’t take long before someone broke their arm but it didn’t slow none of them down in this redneck slice of heaven in the trailer park. And it wasn’t any time with all the neighborhood kids in it too that the water was as nasty as a septic tank. That didn’t seem to slow them down in the enjoyment of the makeshift facilities either. There were all types in that pool all at once, kids and adults alike, it was about as full as it could possible be. It looked like a freak show at Sea World.

 

   They were big fans of wrestling too. They would drag all the mattresses off the beds and spread them out on the living room floor… after it was raked of course. And they would have a regular “Smack Down” event with family and neighbors, body slams and the whole bit. Which wrestling “Stars” they emulated I couldn’t say; I never did go to any of these big events either as a participant or as a spectator. But as in most unsanctioned events of this nature, someone got hurt. Another broke arm is what happened and that slowed them down a bit on the wrestling for a while.

 

     They also had a great big trampoline in the front yard. With that and the pool and wrestling inside the house and all the critters; it was just a redneck paradise there in that trailer park. All the neighborhood kids would flock there even when they were gone. He would get a little upset about all these kids he didn’t know going in and out and getting on this and that. Hell, these kids would go in their house with nobody at home too. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t put up with that s**t. I just don’t know why he didn’t put all that mess in the backyard where it was fenced in. I guess it’s not that much of a status symbol if it can’t be seen.

 

     My wife was over there one morning; they wanted her to put their kids on the school bus for them since they both went to work real early. So while she was there she saw the strangest thing she told me. It was an albino cockroach of all things and it was just riding around on one of the ceiling fan blades. It was just going around and around, having a big old time. Now this fascinated her to no end being that she never seen one before, it had to be a one in a million oddity. When she saw her brother and mentioned it to him, he said that it wasn’t nothing, there was at least 5-6 of those albino roaches around.

 

   My wife’s son went over there for the weekend one time and they went swimming or something or other, and he brought his wet clothes back home in a plastic bag. He left them inside the back door for they could be washed and he started to see the bag moving around, this freaked him out a bit. So he ran to his mother about it and when she opened it to see what it was, about 150 roaches came running out. This really bothered her and me… I was really pissed off. Seems that they got in that bag while he was over at his uncle’s house. So of course we called an exterminator right then, we were going to take care of this situation and nip it in the bud.

 

   So my wife got the number of a exterminator and he came over and took care of the problem. When he found out who she was and related to, he told us about the time he tried to rid that house of their roaches. At the time, her brother was trying to raise cockatiels or some type of bird like that, and he made this large wooden bird cage as long as a large couch and as high as your head. Of course it was in the living room and on the carpet too. Anyway, he said he lifted that cage up a bit and put a line of poisoned food down, and there was a miniature stampede of cockroaches that came and was eating it like pigs to a trough. Right before his eyes too, thousands of them. He said it was by far the worse infestation he had ever seen in his life and it would take six months at least of putting out poison to get rid of them all. But they didn’t want to put the money into it and just decided to keep the roaches. 

 

  You think with all that money that they would live to a higher standard of living. But the fact of the matter is that they live hand to mouth most of the time because they blow most of it at Wal-Mart and on eating take-out about every night. Buying things at Rent-a-Center doesn’t help either. They’re always coming to repo the truck and furniture too.

 

     Well, that’s just a few snippets of some things that came to mind where some of my in-laws were concerned. I’m sure there’s a lot more things to say about them all when I have a little more time. It’s just that they’re so much different from what I grew up with and what I’ve known. All this is true… I kid you not. It’s hard for me to believe too, it just beats all I ever seen. It’s by no means any reflection on how I feel about them or what type of people they are in their hearts. I just found it all a bit interesting and odd at the same time; plus it makes for an interesting story to boot.

   

     

Note: I want to thank my ex-wife for the idea and helping to supply some of the information in this story.

 


© 2010 T. L. O'Neal



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Featured Review

Well you have done it again this is another story full of funny scenarios and as always it is told in that matter of fact way that is yours southern gentleman way that fills all your stories. I can count on you
to start my day off with a smile. Thanks, Great read.
Debby

Posted 10 Years Ago


23 of 23 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

wow......it takes all kinds to make a world....I think I would have to pass on all this excitement.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

And I thought the in-laws I had were a little strange. But you have given me a whole new perspective on what really bizarre In-laws can be. This story would be unbelievable if I didn't know the source from which it came. Once again you have managed to take a hard to even think about situation, and write about it in a gentle, humorous way! Thanks for all the laughter my BH ~ YBJ xo

Posted 8 Months Ago


Posted 9 Years Ago


Oh god this was funny as hell. The banna (Laughs) I would have been right there with you going, "When the hell is that bannana going to be eaten?" Personally, I would have taken the bannana; however, after hearing about the raking of the carpet and the hose...Yeah...I am thinking twice about that. The wrestling part was funny, too. When I read that, I remembered some of the guys I used to live with during my sophomore year of college and they would take their mattresses and slide down the stairs. (Laughs) Brilliant as usual, T! Simply Brilliant! ^_^

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

Funny & yucky all rolled in to one! Reminded me a bit of my ex's family, although I had an aunt who would hide the dirty dishes under the sink so that she wouldn't have to wash them. I look forward to reading more of your work. Suzanne

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

Wow the bits about the banana and the cantalope alone already had me shocked and laughing. Then you bring in the rank and the garden hose and I was gone. It's funny how people get used to living in certain ways and don't see how bad it really is. You should call that show "Clean House," and get them to go over there and help them out. Only problem is that they'd film them for TV. Then again they might be entertaining.

There are some sentence structure issues in a few places, so my suggestion would be to read this out loud. That seems to be the easiest way to find them I think.

Great job as always...I'll be back for the possum caper later :)

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

OMG That is just so WRONG on so many different levels. I mean... ew. That's right, I said it, ew.

Please, please restore my faith in the human race. Please, PLEASE tell me he took the rug off the floor before he hosed it down... ;)

Love the story, as always!

Posted 10 Years Ago


5 of 5 people found this review constructive.

wow,this was too funny. and not the kind of funny like that stuff is so unheard of either. it is funny because i grew up knowing so many people with this same type of living going down. i mean i could really just take a checklist and start checking LOL. and i hope that by saying this that people don't think that i'm stating that all people living in Texas are rednecks. because that is so far from being true. although most people do think that to be fact.

great write man.

Posted 10 Years Ago


6 of 6 people found this review constructive.

Yup, your right. You don't have to be south of the Mason-Dixon line to be a redneck, at least from the sound of your wife's family. I've heard stories from up by Troy, New York that weren't a whole lot different either. Your story was amusing as always. Glad I'm finally back to reading.

David

Posted 10 Years Ago


8 of 8 people found this review constructive.

OMG that's insane, living like that. I've seen houses like that tho. A single guy with three kids. I went to a birthday party at his house, and the dishes from it were still there when I went back two months later. Eventually, he just threw them away.

Posted 10 Years Ago


8 of 8 people found this review constructive.

Haha, TL. Its the way you tell 'em. Fab stuff.

My mother in law was extremely middle class - she loathed anyone who married one of her kids. On my first visit there I was asked to tell her what I didn't eat and I said 'kidneys, liver - any kind of offal'. She served steak and kidney pie that first time and every time thereon for the following four years. Then she asked us round and as I walked through the door I smelt pork chops... acceptance I thought. As I poured the gravy all over the delicious food, I saw that the gravy had been 'spiced up' with hundreds of chopped kidneys. haha. She has her son back now - she's welcome to him ;)

Posted 10 Years Ago


8 of 8 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 18, 2008
Last Updated on October 24, 2010

Author

T. L. O'Neal
T. L. O'Neal

In the sticks, NC



About
I started writing as a way to work out my feelings and found that I enjoyed it very much. I enjoy humor and feel that you can find it in most things, even though it may be hard to find at the moment. .. more..

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